Press Releases

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith today voted to override President Clinton’s veto of H.R. 8, legislation to repeal the estate tax, of which he is a co-sponsor.

“The estate tax hurts countless family-owned farms and businesses,” Smith said. “Too many family farms and businesses are sold before they can be passed to the next generation or must be dismantled, mortgaged, or liquidated in order to pay the tax bill. That hurts employees, not just employers, and costs jobs.”

Smith, a co-sponsor of H.R. 8, has had a longstanding commitment to estate tax relief. Last year, he authored his own estate tax bill which would have immediately repealed the estate tax for all family-owned businesses and farms.

“Under current law, only the first $675,000 of a decedent’s estate is exempt from estate taxes. Beyond that, the value of the estate is taxed at rate ranging from 18 to 60 percent. This is extremely burdensome to family-owned businesses and farms, because while a business or farm may hold assets greater than $675,000, rare is the company or farm that has the kind of liquid cash necessary to pay the high tax bill,” Smith explained. 

On June 9, the House passed H.R. 8. Last month, President Clinton vetoed the the bill. The House was unsuccessful in its attempt to override the veto by a 274-157 margin (290 votes were necessary to override the veto).

“Unfortunately, we came up short,” said Smith. “However, I do believe that the closeness of the vote demonstrates to the President that there is a substantial number of Members of Congress – including Democrats – who believe that estate tax relief is needed, and I am still hopeful that we can make progress on this issue as we negotiate the budget this fall.”

 

Saying it will improve soldiers’ quality of life and continue modernizing the Army, Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith is leading efforts to bring the Army’s on-line learning initiative to Fort Lewis as a pilot project.

“eArmyU will ensure that our Army Personnel have access to educational opportunities,” said Smith. “What’s more, it provides a real service to the men and women serving in the Army and will bolster our recruitment and retention efforts.”

eArmyU is an innovative new program announced by Army Secretary Louis Caldera at Fort Lewis earlier this year that expands Army soldiers’ access to education through on-line distance learning. 

eArmyU will offer educational opportunities from a diverse consortium of colleges, universities and technical schools linked by computer technology. “Soldiers would be able to access on-line courseware anytime, anywhere,” explained Smith, “so that deployments overseas would not interfere with progress toward a degree.” Each soldier will be issued a tech package consisting of a laptop computer, printer, Internet access and technical support. eArmy U has a six-year price tag of $550 million with $50 million in FY01. 

On Monday, Smith spoke with Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera to urge Fort Lewis’s selection as a pilot site. “Secretary Caldera was very positive, and he assured me that our proposal would be closely looked at,” said Smith. “He also noted that community support, from county and city leaders to businesses to Fort Lewis personnel, would be an instrumental factor.”

Last week, Smith convened a meeting attended by leaders from throughout Pierce County. Supporters of bringing eArmyU to Fort Lewis include the Port of Tacoma, Lakewood Mayor Bill Harrison, the Washington State Software Alliance, the Frank Russell Company, and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce.
According to the Army, the two or three pilot sites will be selected based on a number of factors including:

An adequate number of qualified soldiers;
An adequate Internet and telecommunications infrastructure; and
Portability: soldiers that are on rotations oversees.
The Army has also indicated that site selection would occur on or about September 8.

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith and HUD Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, Cardell Cooper, announced today two major economic development grants for Washington State.

The City of Tukwila will receive over $4 million in economic development funding for Tukwila Village, a mixed use development between a private developer, the McConkey Development Corporation, and the City of Tukwila.

The project will create a town center featuring a neighborhood public services building, two three-story buildings with office and retail space, restaurants, 24 affordable condominiums, a 214 space parking deck and public plaza. The project is expected to create 181 new jobs.

“This is a good example of the direction economic development needs to go in our area,” said Smith. “The Puget Sound has been blessed with a great deal of economic prosperity, but that economic development has not been spread evenly throughout the region. This funding will help to spread some of that prosperity so that South King County isn’t stuck with airports and garbage dumps for its economic development.”

Specifically, Tukwila will receive a $455,000 Economic Development Initiative (EDI) Grant, as well as $3,630,000 in Section 108 loan guarantees. Section 108 loan guarantees provides communities with a source of financing for economic development, housing rehabilitation, public facilities and large scale physical development projects. The EDI funds will pay for interest during the first two years of the Section 108 loan repayment.

 

Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith will present a donation of $500 to the Des Moines Senior Center on Thursday, August 24th, at 12:00 p.m. at the Des Moines Senior Center.

The $500 is from Smith’s congressional pay raise. Although he voted against the pay raise, it became law. As he has done with past Congressional pay raises, Smith promised to donate it to local community and education programs. The $500 donation will allow the Des Moines Senior Center to purchase new tables for their daily program activities. 

“The Des Moines Senior Center is a vital part of our community, and offers a variety of excellent services to seniors,” Smith said. “I am very pleased to donate part of my pay raise to the Center and look forward to having lunch with constituents at the newly purchased tables.”

The Des Moines Senior Center’s mission is to provide a full monthly calendar of programs, services, drop-in activities, special events, classes, and a hot lunch five days a week.

Today, Ninth District Congressman Adam Smith announced that the House of Representatives passed H.R. 894, “Aimee’s Law”, legislation he has co-sponsored and worked to pass for nearly three years.

“This bill encourages states to keep the most violent and dangerous criminals off the streets,” said Smith, a former prosecutor for the City of Seattle. “I am pleased that the House has finally passed this important bill.”

Last year, the House passed the measure as an amendment to H.R. 1501, the Child Safety and Protection Act, but the Senate has not yet acted on that bill.

H.R. 894 would create a financial incentive for states to hold violent criminals instead of releasing them to commit more crimes. If a state releases an individual convicted of murder, rape, or a dangerous sexual offense involving a child under the age of 14 and that individual then commits one of those violent crimes again in another state, the first state is liable for the costs of apprehension, prosecution, and incarceration.

The bill is named in honor of Aimee Willard, a former student at George Mason University who was raped and murdered in Pennsylvania by Arthur Bomar in 1996. Bomar, who had been convicted of murder in Nevada, was released from prison despite a history of violence. Smith is an original co-sponsor of H.R. 894.

“The average time served for rape is currently only five and a half years,” Smith said. “The woman who is raped by a criminal after he gets out of prison suffers life-long consequences. This legislation will also place consequences on criminals and the states who prematurely release them.”

Two years ago, a Tacoma woman testified before a congressional committee in support of the legislation. Mary Vincent was brutally attacked in California by a violent criminal and suffered serious lifelong consequences. Ms. Vincent moved to Gig Harbor and then Tacoma. After she heard that her attacker had been released from San Quentin after serving only eight years, she barricaded herself in her house and became anorexic and bulimic. In February of 1997, her attacker killed a Florida woman. Ms. Vincent testified at her attacker’s sentencing, and he was sent to death row. Ms. Vincent is one of the many victims and victims’ rights advocates, including Marc Klaas whose daughter Polly was kidnapped and murdered in 1993, who has come out in support of this legislation.

It is also endorsed by a broad group of organizations, including the National Fraternal Order of Police , Mothers Against Gangs, The Women’s Coalition, the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, and Kids Safe.