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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Who pays for estate tax cut?

Opposing the repeal of the estate tax, the Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs, Washington, D.C., signed onto a letter from the Coalition to Preserve the Estate Tax. More than 60 churches and charitable groups across the country and political spectrum also signed.

Repeal will concentrate wealth, reduce government revenues for low-income and vulnerable people and reduce charitable giving, said Kay A. Bengston, LOGA's domestic policy director.

The coalition estimates that the repeal will cut federal revenue $294 billion over the next 10 years, and $60 billion annually after that, making less available to meet the growing costs of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social programs. States may lose up to $9 billion a year after full repeal, if it is continued.

Independent Sector, a coalition of nonprofit foundations and corporations, estimates that the repeal will decrease annual charitable giving 10-33 percent, reducing bequests between $1.5-5 billion. The Treasury Department estimates the annual decline at $5-6 billion.

Some say the repeal will protect family farms and small businesses. But The New York Times reports that the American Farm Bureau couldn't produce an example of a farm being lost due to the tax.


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