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Letter: Stop using farmers like me to sell flawed tax reform bill

Whether Republican or Democrat, most of us agree that tax reform and simplification is necessary. However, as is often the case, those supporting a piece of legislation overstate their talking points. As a farmer, I felt that I had to respond to those politicians who use farmers like me as the reason why the estate tax should be eliminated. The fact of the matter is the tax affects very few family farmers and ranchers in North Dakota, or in any state for that matter.Listening to the political talking points used to sell the latest House of Representatives tax reform bill, including those from Rep. Kevin Cramer, the estate tax is a tremendous burden on the average family farmer or rancher — but that's just not the case.Given the exemptions of nearly $5.5 million per person and almost $11 million for a couple, the vast majority of estates are not affected by the so called "death tax." Last year, according to the IRS, fewer than 10 estates in North Dakota were required to pay the tax — any family farm or small business worth less than that is exempt. Looking through the smoke and mirrors, we can see that the tax bill Cramer helped the House pass is detrimental to middle-class North Dakotans, including farmers. It gives massive handouts to the wealthier Americans, with few benefits for workers and retirees.

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Ag Week