Iowa Senator Charles Grassley says it would be “unseemly” for Congress to pass a big tax break now, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Grassley is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee which writes federal tax policy. Republican leaders had planned for the Senate to consider a bill this month that would repeal the estate tax. The federal government charges an estate tax when anyone inherits at least one-and-a-half million dollars in assets. Grassley and groups like the Farm Bureau argue that penalizes farmers and small business owners who try to pass their business on to the next generation, only to have their children socked with a huge federal tax bill. Democrats, like financial wizard Warren Buffett, say doing away with the estate tax would be a huge windfall for wealthy Americans. During a telephone conference call Wednesday with newspaper reporters, Grassley said it’s a “little unseemly to be talking about” doing away with the estate tax when people are suffering from the hurricane. The U.S. House has already voted to repeal the estate tax, but Grassley says it “wouldn’t surprise” him if Senate Republican leaders table the issue until next year.
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