July 22, 2021
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, spoke on the Senate floor to take Senate Democrats to task for their plan to significantly increase taxes on family-run farms and businesses to help pay for their reckless spending spree.
Following Are Blunt’s Remarks:
“Mr. President, a lot of time when people come to Washington, they come up with ideas for new policies, and they have a theory as to how those policies are supposed to work. What they don't always know are the unintended consequences of what that law is going to produce. Matter of fact, I've said on occasion, 'the most certain thing that will happen when we pass a law is unintended consequences.' And I haven't been proven wrong very many times on that.
“The unintended consequences are things that nobody saw coming, things you didn't expect to happen the way they did. Smart people writing the laws may do all they can to anticipate everything they can, but there's always something never thought of. And so, it's helpful to have information that tells us what the consequences are likely to be.
“The topic we're talking about here today is filled with intended consequences if you look just beyond the comment you're making and the impact that's going to have. In this case, the proposed laws—a couple of ideas my Democratic colleagues have as to how to pay for the spending spree they're on right now—the tax-and-spend plans include a lot of bad ideas. But two of the tax ideas are particularly bad and will have particularly devastating impact.
“The first is a proposal from Senator Sanders to raise the death tax on farmers and ranchers, to change the exemption, to do things that just simply raise that tax. The second would be to impose the double death tax by eliminating what Senator Moran was just talking about: the stepped-up basis and calculating how much families have to pay.
“The research tells us what we can expect to happen if these two bills pass. Researchers at Texas A&M University looked at a representative group of 94 farms in 30 states. You can look at this research. You can verify my facts—94 farms, 30 states. They found that under current law, two of those 94 farms could expect to be hit by a big death tax when the farm goes from one generation to the next. But if the step-up basis tax hike proposed by President Biden and Democrats in Congress were enacted, the researchers found that 92 of 94 farms would be hit hard. The average additional tax liability would be $726,000—94 farms, 30 states. 92 farms affected, the average tax $726,000. Now that's not the total taxes. That's just the additional taxes if these two bills pass.
“If these tax hikes favored by the other side were allowed to pass, we'd have 92 farms paying a higher tax bill. That average additional tax would add up to more than $1.5 million. Many families would be forced to sell all or part of their farm, and these aren't families who are inheriting big stock portfolios or families who are inheriting multimillion dollar beach houses. They're not families who focused on every way you can think of to cheat the tax law. They're not billionaires looking for every way they can use a loophole. These are farmers and ranchers who have put their [lives] into the effort to make their farms work.
“And I'll point out also, Mr. President, these same statistics would apply to many small businesses. Give this same speech for small businesses with many of the same considerations. According to the Missouri Department of Agriculture, our state has 95,000 farms. They cover two-thirds of the state's total land acreage. The average Missouri farm is 291 acres, and almost all of them are owned by families. And between the investment there and the efforts that have been made, those families can be devastated in what they have worked hard to put together.
“So for my friends on the other side of the aisle, I'd point out that unintended consequences are one thing, and unintended consequences often happen. But here we know what the consequences are. So, if these bills pass, this is intended consequences to make a big difference for family farms, for ranches, and, frankly, for small businesses as well.
“I hope my colleagues will not go forward with these tax hikes on family farms. We know what damage it will cause. It's easy to verify. Don't make the family sell the farm. Don't make the small business sell the farm to a bigger business. Don't make these mistakes that have clear and intended consequences if this is what the Senate and the Congress would do.”