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 Last year, he authored his own estate tax bill which would have immediately repealed the estate tax for all family-owned businesses and farms.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.”