Call Your Senators Today to Oppose Repeal of Inheritance Tax on Multimillionaires.

The Republican Senate is on the verge of repealing the estate tax to benefit their multimillionaire donors. The following information, except the next paragraph, is taken almost entirely as written from e-mails from the Washington Tax Fairness Coalition and the Childrens Alliance, which sent out e-mail alerts.

Citizens for Tax Justice found that in Washington State only 1.1% of the total estates in 2004 or 493 were subject to the Federal estate tax. Only inheritance assets exceeding $1.5 million were taxed. The current amount not being taxed is $2 million so the number of estates should be even less than in 2004. In 2009 the limit will go up to $3.5 million. In many cases the assets being taxed are capital gains that previously were not taxed.

Call toll free now to tell the Senate NOT to Slash the Estate Tax!

We hope you will join with people across the country to call your Senators with a simple message:

Please vote no on any effort to repeal or drastically cut the estate tax. It does not make sense to cut funding for education and healthcare and other programs vital for the future of our nation so we can giveaway hundreds of billions of dollars (or even more!) to a handful of multimillionaires.”

Toll-free Number: 800-459-1887

Use the toll-free number above to reach the U.S. Capitol Switchboard and ask to be connected to your Senators’ offices. Call twice – once for each Senator. (The person at the switchboard can figure out who your Senators are if you’re not sure. Washington State’s two Senators are Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray). When you’re connected, please give your own version of the message above.

The toll-free number is provided courtesy of the American Friends Service Committee which has launched a budget campaign, AFSC welcomes groups to circulate and use the toll-free number in support of non-partisan budget goals and without linking the alert to a website soliciting donations or actions which may be used to support partisan lobbying or work.

Where things stand: In order to get the estate tax repeal (H.R. 8) on the Senate floor, there needs to be a “motion to proceed.” That vote is now expected as early as this Thursday, June 8. Opponents of repeal will object, and then it will take 60 votes to move forward and take up the estate tax. This is tricky, because some Senators may vote to start the debate, even if they say they oppose repeal. But in our view, there is a very long list of items the Senate should be taking up before this – like, say, raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment benefits for Katrina survivors (benefits just expired!), reversing recently enacted cuts in vital services, and getting to work protecting services from additional cuts in the new appropriations bills. So we think a motion to proceed to repeal/slash the estate tax is a dangerous step in the wrong direction. We have a good chance of stalling repeal now if Senate offices hear from us.

Very useful new state data: Citizens for Tax Justice has pulled together brand new data from the IRS showing how many estates paid the estate tax in 2004, broken down by state. For example, in Maine, only 124 estates were subject to the tax in 2004 – only 1 percent of the total deaths in the state the year before. Nationwide, only a little more than 30,000 multi-millionaire estates paid this tax on inheritance.

And remember – starting in 2009 estates worth less than $3.5 million are exempt (or less than $7 million for couples). That’s up from the current $2 million exemption – and that means even fewer will be paying the tax in the future than paid it in 2004.

We hope you will forward this request to make calls to your networks, and that you will call. Thanks!

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