Thompson Introduces Estate Tax Relief Bill
Jun 3, 2010 -
Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced legislation that would bring tax relief to family farmers, ranchers, and open space landholders. His bill would allow family farms and ranches to pass down their land and farms and preserve California’s strong agricultural heritage.
“The estate tax as it is currently written unfairly burdens our family farmers,” said Congressman Thompson. “When farms pass from generation to generation, too often families have to sell the farm to developers in order to pay the estate taxes. We need to preserve our agricultural land and open space, which is why I introduced this legislation to fix the tax code.”
Nearly three quarters of the land in the lower 48 states of the U.S. is in private ownership, with the vast majority owned by farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. These lands are vital to both healthy ecosystems and vibrant rural communities. They contribute to clean water, climate benefits, food and fiber production, and wildlife habitat.
“This bill helps prevent estate taxes from forcing the sale and development of the family farms, ranches and forests that are so important for clean water, wildlife, and our rural heritage,” said Land Trust Alliance President Rand Wentworth. “We’re particularly pleased that Congressman Thompson included an estate tax exclusion for lands protected by conservation easements—so families that generously protect the conservation values of their land for future generations will not be forced to sell.”
“Agriculture faces special problems since it’s hard to sell off a portion of the farm to settle the inheritance tax without destroying the farm's economic viability. California has a rich history of family farms spanning multiple generations. Mike Thompson's legislation will help protect that proud heritage, while keeping land in agriculture and in the hands of family farms,” said Doug Mosebar, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation.
The legislation has many supporters in the First Congressional district including the California Farm Bureau Environmental Defense Fund, Land Trust Alliance, California Wine Grape Growers, California Farm Bureau, Western Growers, and United Fruit and Vegetable Growers.