WASHINGTON (Sept. 5, 2000)—Congressional Republicans will try to override President Clinton´s veto of a bill to phase out the estate tax over 10 years.
"I don´t think this is a fiscally responsible bill, and I don´t think this is a fair bill, and therefore I vetoed it," Mr. Clinton said Aug. 31 about the legislation he killed that day.
Tire dealers and retreaders vociferously support repeal of the "death tax," which kicks in at $675,000 under current law and taxes survivors up to 55 percent of the value of an estate.
While they were disappointed that the current bill provided only gradual relief, the Clinton administration insisted the legislation benefited only the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, and that its cost in revenue—$105 billion over 10 years and $50 billion annually thereafter—was fiscally unwise.
The Clinton administration has long said it´s willing to work out a compromise, but that didn´t stop the House and Senate GOP from denouncing the veto.
"President Clinton has just given the back of his hand to working families who want to leave their hard-earned family farm, small business or Internet startup to their children after they die," Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., said in a prepared statement.
At presstime, the House was scheduled to vote on an override motion Sept. 7; if successful, the Senate was poised to follow suit the following week. The House´s original, 279-136 vote on the bill was enough for a override, but the 59-39 tally in the Senate was several votes short.
"We expected this," said Rebecca MacDicken, government affairs director for the Tire Association of North America. "We´re just going to have to push to see if the House can override the veto, and then see what the Senate does if the House is successful."
The International Tire and Rubber Association is "very disappointed" at the veto, according to Roy E. Littlefield III, ITRA government relations director.
"Clearly this will be an issue in the campaign," Mr. Littlefield said. "This is a very onerous tax for small businesses that are successful, and our industry is made up of small businesses."