GOP congressional hopeful Raul Labrador has launched a new TV ad, with the help of funding from the Idaho Republican Party, painting Congressman Walt Minnick as a tax-raiser. The one vote cited in the ad: Minnick voted in favor of HR 4154, which the ad says means he “voted to raise taxes on farmers and ranchers.”
But that bill, the Permanent Estate Tax Relief for Families, Farmers and Small Businesses Act of 2009, actually would have lowered the federal estate tax from 55 percent to 45 percent on Jan. 1, and raised the exemption from the first $1 million of an estate to $3.5 million. Because the bill was blocked in the Senate after passing the House, current law now calls for the higher rate and lower exemption to hit Jan. 1.
The federal estate tax currently is at zero for one year, but it reverts to the old, higher rates and lower exemptions unless Congress takes action. Phil Hardy, spokesman for Labrador’s campaign, said that means the bill would have raised taxes from the current zero level. “Republicans want to abolish the estate tax - Raul Labrador wants to abolish the estate tax,” Hardy said. “There’s no way he would have voted for any of these things.”
Prior to the full House’s passage of HR 4154, Minnick was one of just 18 House Democrats who voted in favor of an amendment to the bill to instead eliminate the estate tax. It failed, 187-233. “When that amendment did not pass, he voted for the compromise to make sure that the tax wouldn’t go up,” said Minnick’s campaign spokesman, John Foster. Hardy said, “That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.” He added, “We’re happy with it - we love the ad.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.