Americans Oppose Estate or 'Death' Tax

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Estate tax, death tax or inheritance tax — call it what you will — Americans oppose any tax on what parents leave their children, whether it be farms, businesses and property. That's the conclusion of a recent poll, conducted by two organizations - one with a Democratic slant and one with a Republican slant - and sponsored by Women Impacting Public Policy. The study further shows that politicians who favor retaining the tax may be looking for other work come election time.

A survey of voters conducted by Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) showed universal dislike of the tax, even by those who stand to gain nothing should it be repealed.

WIPP, a national bipartisan group of 430,000 women business owners and women in business, hired two well-respected research firms to survey more than 2,500 Americans on their thoughts on the estate tax. The research organizations included The Luntz Research Companies, whose clients include several prominent Republicans and national media outlets; and, Global Strategy Group, Inc., which works with the Democratic National Committee and media outlets.

WIPP reported that the survey found that politicians who support the tax are "out of step with their constituents regardless of income or political stripe."

"We want to leave our business to our children — if we have a business after paying the tax!" said Terry Neese, president and co-founder of WIPP. "The death tax is a real barrier to that hope. What this survey tells us is that people across the nation share our concern."

The survey found that voters believe the tax represents double and even triple taxation and are particularly opposed to the fact that its high rate — 49 percent — is often greater than the highest federal income tax rate.

Neese said the response was universal across the nation. In fact, some states, including Washington and California, have had successful taxpayer initiatives to overthrow widely unpopular state versions of the estate tax.

"People of all kinds across the country dislike the inheritance tax, and that includes Democrats and low income families," said Frank Luntz, president of Luntz Companies, one of the research firms that conducted the poll. "For example, 65% of those who make less than $30,000 a year think the tax is unfair, no matter what it’s called. In more than a decade of polling, I have never seen such hostility toward any other tax."

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