Fuel Smarts

ATA Gives Thumbs Up To Senate Tax Vote

May 23, 2001

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Trucking's biggest lobby is pleased over the move by the U.S. Senate yesterday afternoon to sign off on President Bush’s tax cut plan because of a provision that eliminates most estate taxes.

The American Trucking Associations described passage of the package as “a tremendous victory for the many family-owned and operated trucking businesses in the U.S."
The $1.35 trillion, 11-year package must now be reconciled with the House-passed version, which more closely resembles the original Bush plan of $1.6 trillion.
The House plan includes The Death Tax Elimination Act of 2001, which repeals estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes by 2011. The Senate bill includes a similar but not identical provision. Congressional leadership hope to have a final bill delivered to President Bush for his signature before Congress goes on its week-long Memorial Day recess tomorrow.
ATA President Walter B. McCormick Jr. praised Congress' action on the estate tax. "For too long, the 'death tax' has been a threat to [family-owned trucking companies'] survival. With the Senate action, we take another step toward assuring that these made-in-America businesses, which make up the majority of the U.S. trucking industry, will be able to stay in business and continue to serve their communities and create jobs."
The Senate bill calls for lowering the top 39.6 percent tax rate to 36 percent and creates a new 10 percent bracket at the lower end of the current 15 percent income bracket retroactive to the start of the year. The House tax cut and Bush's original proposal called for a top rate of 33 percent, which moderates said was too big of a cut at the top end.
The Senate bill also raises the child tax credit and makes it partially refundable. It provides new tax breaks for education and allows bigger contributions to retirement savings account. It also eases the marriage tax penalty for working couples.
Many Democrats are highly critical of the tax cut, arguing it is too big and mostly benefits the wealthiest taxpayers. They also argue that the cost of the 11-year package would explode by 2011, just as the baby boom generation is preparing to retire and draw on their Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare health care benefits.

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