Black Entrepreneurs and the GOP Agree on at Least One Thing: The Repeal of the Estate Tax

For the past several years the Republican leadership in Congress has tried unsuccessfully to pass legislation that would eliminate the estate tax. Under present law the estate tax will decrease in the next several years and be totally eliminated in 2010, but just for one year. In 2011 the estate tax will jump back up to 55 percent.

The Republicans have some strange bedfellows in the fight to eliminate the estate tax. Eight members of the Congressional Black Caucus support the elimination of the tax. These black representatives believe that the estate tax serves to eliminate wealth generation in the black community. They argue that when a successful black entrepreneur dies, his or her heirs are often forced to sell off the family business in order to pay the estate tax. At times, whites are the only buyers for these businesses.

A 1997 study by researchers at Kennesaw State University in Georgia found that 90 percent of black entrepreneurs believed that the estate tax hinders the long-term growth prospects of their businesses. Only 61 percent of all small business owners agreed.