To the editor:
I am responding to U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan's June 22 letter to the editor. Carnahan claims that her position on the death tax was "grossly mischaracterized" in a recent Southeast Missourian editorial. However, the fact remains that Carnahan opposed the only legislation that would have permanently repealed the death tax.
What Carnahan actually supports is only a slight tweaking of the qualified family-owned business exemption. Established in 1997, the law is supposed to shield assets for farms and closely held businesses from the death tax. However, this provision has been far from successful. Less than 3 percent of family businesses, the very people it intended to help, have qualified for relief under these provisions. Carnahan also supports a $4 million exemption for all family businesses, which sounds good. But long-term inflation and growth will yield, yet again, another useless attempt at reform.
No matter how Carnahan justifies her decision to turn her back on Missouri's small-business owners by voting against permanent death-tax repeal, the reality remains that the only way to permanently fix the death-tax problem is to permanently repeal the tax and replace it with a capital-gains tax.
Missouri State Director
National Federation of Independent Business
Jefferson City, Mo.