Weekly Columns

Every Congress lawmakers introduce bills to cut taxes and make our tax code fairer and simpler. We all see how those proposals have fared as we are forced to continue navigating the complex tax code to file our federal taxes.  

I’m a firm believer that we’re overtaxed. Arkansas families send too much of their hard-earned money to the federal government where it’s being spent recklessly. A complicated and confusing tax code only adds to the frustration and furthers to stifle economic activity. 

Congress needs to focus on economic growth and job creation. We should be doing everything we can to encourage manufacturing and investment within the United States. Reforming the tax code is a good place to start. 

As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee I am an advocate and champion of Arkansas’s food producers and working to develop and implement policies that increase production and provide them with the tools and resources they need to meet the growing nutritional demands of the world’s population. Unfortunately, our current tax code threatens our farmers, ranchers and agri-businesses. 

The death tax forces an unnecessary burden on America’s family farms and businesses following the death of a loved one. This makes planning and passing on farms and businesses to the next generation even more difficult. Our goal should be to grow family farms and businesses, but this tax works against that objective. Often times the cost is too much to absorb and families end up spending their hard-earned money on attorney fees, selling their land or business and its assets, or laying off workers just to pay Uncle Sam. 

This is unacceptable. Part of the American Dream is to build an inheritance that will benefit our future generations. These farms and small businesses represent years of hard work, investment and risk taking. These ventures should not be a burden at the end of life, but should be rewarded through a lasting legacy. 

While our farmers and small businesses were spared from this tax two years ago, the tax cut expires at the end of the year unless Congress takes action. Farmers and small businesses deserve to pass along their investments to future generations without having to worry about a tax. That is why I cosponsored the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act, legislation introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD) that would abolish the death tax once and for all. 

Repealing this unnecessary tax will allow our agriculture producers and small businesses to invest and expand their operations rather than force them to spend that money hiring attorneys and accountants. 

According to a recent study by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, repealing the death tax would create 1.5 million additional small business jobs and would decrease the national unemployment rate by nearly one percent.

This legislation is a commonsense approach to eliminating an unnecessary tax while allowing families to continue the vision of their parents, grandparents and great grandparents and create job opportunities for hardworking Americans.