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Previously: Rep. Vicky Hartzler (r): Clinton town hall – April 5, 2012 – part 1 (April 5, 2012)

The estate tax doesn’t tax the dead, just wealthy socialites

….dead people are not being taxed via the estate tax. When someone dies and passes on millions to their heirs, they’re not being taxed because, well, they’re dead.

However, when an American inherits millions of dollars from a recently departed loved one, they are being taxed under the estate tax. Why? Because this is income that they “earn” simply by being born lucky, and we do tax income in this country.

Should middle-class Americans pay taxes on every dollar they earn by working for a living while wealthy socialites who simply inherit their income get a pass?…

Fox’s Henneberg uncritically quoted dubious claims that estate tax would harm family farms and small businesses

….an October 2008 report by the Tax Policy Center (TPC) estimated that in 2008, only 15,500 estates — or 0.6 percent of all that year’s decedents — will owe any estate tax and stated that “relatively few estates [that contain small businesses or family-owned farms] owe any estate tax….”

Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) during the question and answer portion of her town hall in Clinton, Missouri on April 5, 2012.

Representative Vicky Hartzler (r) has scheduled town halls and “meet and greet” events across the 4th Congressional District. The event in Clinton, Missouri yesterday was advertised as a “meet and greet” as opposed to the town halls in some of the other locations. This event was effectively a scaled down town hall meeting.

The transcript of the question and answer session:

Representative Vicky Hartzler (r): ….Uh, so, I think we had a question earlier, then I’m just gonna open it up. Hi there, how are you? [laugh] Uh, she had a question about [inaudible] the estate tax and I wanted to make sure and, and touch on that.

There are a lot of tax increases that are expected to take place January one unless we stop them. And one of ’em is the estate tax, is gonna revert back to its former status, which is only exempting one million dollars worth of assets. And then anything beyond that would be taxed at fifty-five percent. Now, if you’re a farmer or a small business owner this is absolutely devastating. There is no way you could pass on your farm to your kids with a tax like that. ‘Cause if you know anything about farming, there’s not a lot of cash sitting around, but that asset is the land. And so if the children inherit the farm, the farm from their parents or their grandparents and their half, they only exempt a million dollars worth and the rest they have to pay fifty-five percent tax on to Uncle Sam they’re gonna have to sell the farm. And, it’s just wrong. I think it’s, you know, almost highway robbery because that farm family has paid taxes their whole life, they paid property taxes, they paid income taxes, and then the notion that just because you die the government is owed over half per, half of the value of your assets. What, that doesn’t make sense at all. So I have cosponsored a bill to, to stop, do away with, some people call it the estate tax, I call it the death tax. Uh, to do away with it, ’cause I just think it’s wrong…

…And we’re gonna have quite a battle end of the year trying to take care of that, not only that, but the other tax in, increases such as the child tax credit. Right now there’s a thousand dollar per, uh, child, uh, tax credit. That goes down to five hundred dollars. Uh, there’s right now, the adoption tax credit that goes way down after the first of the year. And also increases on capital gains and dividends and, and, uh, investment income that, uh, seniors, uh, rely on. So, we’re gonna, we’re gonna be fighting that battle. But, that’s kind of the update. Does that answer your question, or?

Question: Yes, would you say again what it goes down to?

Representative Hartzler (r): It goes down to, for what, the estate tax?

Question: Yes.

Representative Hartzler (r): Yeah, only exempting one million dollars per person worth of assets and then the value of everything else will be fifty-five percent you have to pay tax. So, if your farm is worth three million dollars or whatever the, uh, one million be exempt, but then your kids would have to pay fifty-five percent of the value of two million dollars. So, over a million dollars worth of taxes they’d have to pay in to the government. And, so, it’s awful, I mean, nobody has that type of cash around. But, anyway.

Hi there.

Voice: Hi.

Representative Hartzler (r): So what else is on your mind? I’m here to, to listen more than, uh, than to talk. So, do you have any questions, comments? Yes.

Question: It’s a two part question.

Representative Hartzler (r): All right. And speak up or I’ll repeat it.

Question: There was a law passed just recently that makes it a federal crime, a felony, to protest against anybody that has Secret Service protection.  Okay, that means you can’t protest against the President.

Representative Hartzler (r): Um, hmm.

Question: And I understand, I don’t, did you vote for it and why?

Representative Hartzler (r): Sure. There, I’m glad you brought that up. We are getting all kinds of emails, phone calls about that. There is a lot of misinformation about that bill. And part of it is fueled by the ACLU, is, uh, putting that out and it is, it is not true. If that were true obviously I would support stop it, or freedom of speech or anything like that. All the bill did was it closed a loophole. I think like three people voted against it in the House, it was almost a, uh, you know, a consent bill. It was, uh, to make sure that the President had the same amount of protection when he’s in the White House as when he’s in a hotel. Uh, because right now it’s illegal if the President is staying in a hotel traveling and Secret Service has closed it off. If someone breaks in the can be arrested. But the law said only temporary residence. And they realized a permanent residence, the White House, didn’t have the same protection as when he was in the, the, uh, at a hotel traveling. So, it just changed it so that permanent, you can’t, it’s illegal to break into the White House or jump over the fence.

Uh, that’s what, uh, everybody I talked to, uh, you know, has said before the vote. And then afterwards we had a lot of, you know, people have been saying this ’cause it’s been going around the Internet that it takes away your free speech rights, but I double checked with attorneys and, and legal experts and they tell me that’s not the case. Uh, like I said, there’s a lot of misinformation. But, trust me, if, if it turns out there is a problem with that, I mean, I’ll be the first to vote against. I did support it at the time. It was, like I said, not controversial. Nobody called. I mean, it was, everybody said, oh, it was a simple bill, fix a, a, oversight in the statutes, so. But, keep, keep, uh, keep me apprised. If you hear anything different, if there comes problems in the, if, you know, somebody gets arrested for protesting, using a free speech, let me know. ‘Cause we’ll, we’ll vote to try and change it if we need to. You bet. Thanks for bringing that up.

What’s number one on your mind? If you, if, are you con, if you wake up in the morning, you’re concerned about the federal government, what is it? Is it the debt, is it gas prices, is it, I don’t know, whatever it is, x, y, z? Yeah.

Question: I have a, a friend that worked at a company for over seven years, moved
out of the locality to another state thinking that this person would have a job. To make a long story short, the job didn’t go through. The person lost all the health benefits. Everything.  [Representative Hartzler: “Oh, no.”]  And the only job that this person could have, find in this new locality was a part time grocery store job. Which, due to, uh, circumstances, um, this person wasn’t able to physically do it for over twenty hours a week. So, anyway, this person couldn’t get any health insurance. My question is, why is there such red tape for, to get insurance and, and this person can’t afford to go to the doctor. So, the doctor is telling this person to file with the state and the state is coming back and saying that unless you earn x amount of dollars you can’t have a, a small life insurance policy, they have to, uh, do away with any savings that they have, like an annuity, which is under, like, five thousand dollars.

Why is there so much red tape to get a few dollars, and more or less be penniless and not have, be able to even find a, a job that they’re interested in. Because, and then, Washington gives millions, wastes millions of dollars with this GSA conference that was in Las Vegas. [Representative Hartzler: “Hmm.”] All that waste. They don’t have to go through all the red tape. What is the fairness in that?

Why are they out to get the poor? Every chance, if programs are eliminated, state or local, it’s always, they take it away from the poor, the women, the children. And why are they giving free contraceptives to women that afford, that can afford to go to these prestigious four year colleges?

Representative Hartzler (r): Yeah. Lot of, lot of important points, uh, you made there. Lot of important questions. Uh, I think, first of all, I heard about this conference, somebody, uh, yesterday was telling me about that. That’s ridiculous. [inaudible] We have too much waste, clearly, in the federal government. That’s why we’re trying to stop the waste. It’s ridiculous. Our tax dollars shouldn’t be going to pay for some conferences and parties and stuff. I mean, that’s, that is just terrible. So, I disagree with that. I’m gonna continue to try to advocate in Washington that we don’t waste money on, on lavish things like that. We shouldn’t be doing that.

Uh, but secondly, as far as access to health care, and it is very hard. It’s a very, uh, a tricky subject. Of course, the President came forward with his plan a couple of years ago to address that. I, I disagree with that, the, the solution he came up with because I think it’s a government takeover of it, but I think some of the concerns were, were real. People are having trouble access health care, it’s not affordable. Uh, I prefer a more, a private sector approach. And cosponsoring bills that would help bring down the cost, make it more affordable by increasing competition, uh, across state lines, uh, [inaudible] some medical my, malpractice insurance reforms, so doctors don’t feel obligated to do so much defensive medicine which drives up the cost. But, uh, the bottom, one of the, some of the, some of those things will be helpful but I think what you, bottom line what your friend need is, uh, a good job. Again. And that goes back to our issues I was raising a, a minute ago about how our unemployment is too high in this country. And we need to make a, help our economy grow, make a environment friendly so business owners feel confident hiring and expanding and keeping more people back to work. And then they can, will have the health care benefits and the other programs. So, it, I know it’s, it’s a tough time right now and that’s why were working hard to try to keep people jobs and get them back to work. So, I certainly empathize with your friend and hope that they’re able to find a good job again soon. So, that’s, that’s really tough time.

Voice: Congresswoman, I appreciate her question, but I, I didn’t hear the answer. What is she supposed to do until she gets a good job? Isn’t that your question?

Question: And, and this person, this friend, is retirement age. [Voice: “Right.”] [Voice: “Yeah.”] She, this person is over sixty years old.

Voice: She has no health insurance.

Question: She has no health insurance. She can’t, she can’t afford to go out and get it.

Representative Hartzler (r): Yeah. Some of the, the plans that, uh, I support, uh, look at, looking at making more statewide pools and expanding that, uh, so people could pay into it and access, uh, health care. So that’s one idea out there so that everybody could get health care, uh, and pay into it. There’s association health plans that are very, uh, another idea that people have so that you join, belong to AARP, you know, they could pool together and offer their own health insurance. And, you know, that makes sense. So, there’s a lot of ideas out there, I think, so that everybody can access health insurance. I think we need to go that direction because health insurance is very important, uh, very, very much so, so.

What other questions do you have? [pause] Everybody bashful now, now?

Question: Congresswoman, I, I came today with an agenda item. I received your flyer and I see this young man over here. Who paid for this flyer?

Voice: We did. [Voices: “We did.” “We did.”]

Question: Taxpayers. [Voice: “We did.”]

Representative Hartzler (r): Yeah [inaudible].

Voice: We did.

Question: Yeah. [Voice: “We did.”] How much did we pay for mailing privileges since January, July one of two, twenty eleven? Do you know?

Representative Hartzler (r): I don’t know, but I bet you do.

Question: Over two hundred thousand dollars [crosstalk] to send stuff.

Representative Hartzler (r): I knew you would know. I could tell. [laugh]

Question: It, it’s in the Congressional Record.

Representative Hartzler (r): I know. I know, it’s open record. Anybody can get it.

Question: And I’ve asked to take my name off the list ’cause we’re gonna save thirty point oh three six cents next time this mailer comes out.  [Representative Hartzler ( r): “Okay.”] If we did that with every member of Congress how much money would we save? I didn’t do that math. But if we’re gonna look for cuts why don’t we cut this type of stuff. I’m sorry, this is a political mailer. You could send me a little postcard and ask for the same information you get here.

Representative Hartzler (r): I, I hear you. And, um, we’ll certainly consider that, you know. The budget, though, we don’t have a, a slide up here, but I wanted to show, the budget is so out of whack, not that we can’t save money with that, but we could totally shut down all of, uh, the departments in Washington, including Congress as well as the national defense and we still wouldn’t have a balanced budget. So, it’s that serious and, uh, you know, we did take a five percent, I took a five percent cut in my office budget when I first took office. This year we cut seven percent. So, we have taken steps to cut, uh, cut our own budgets and we felt like, I felt like we need to lead by example. If we’re gonna ask other ar, uh, departments to cut then we need to be the first to do that.  And, and so we did. So we do our spending less money than before, but I think it’s important to communicate with the, the people, uh, of the district and to let them know where their offices are. You’ll see on that flyer we have our phone numbers for the offices are. We have our, uh, email address, the web site, and we get between five hundred and a thousand emails and phone calls a week from people this, on, district. And that’s because that’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to serve you, work for you. And so we try to help people get their VA benefits or whatever it is. So, uh, I think there’s some value for the taxpayer knowing where these phone numbers are, how they can access us, and so that’s part of it. But, I hear what you’re saying.

Question: I was wrong, it was a hundred and sixty-seven or so thousand doll

Representative Hartzler (r): Yeah. All right. Thank you. Yes, sir.

Question: I need to leave, but I need to make a comment, if you don’t mind. Okay?

Representative Hartzler (r): Sure.

Question: How much did Obama’s flyover on New York City when it called out all the red [inaudible]. How much did, uh, [crosstalk]…

Voice: Let’s find the ways to cut it out. [crosstalk]

Question: …Harry Reid take to the, uh, the wind plant out in, in Nevada which is Pelosi’s brother in law?

Voice: Let’s find the ways to cut it out. [crosstalk]

Question: Three hundred and forty-seven billion dollars. Point made.

Representative Hartzler (r): Okay. Thank [crosstalk] you.

Question: Your neck, you are more interested in pennies, we’re talking about dollars, folks.

Voice: But we start with pennies, do we not, Conngresswoman?

Question: Uh, you look at dollars, too, fella. My god. [inaudible voices, crosstalk]

Representative Hartzler (r): Okay. Thank you, thank you.

Staffer: Congresswoman.

Representative Hartzler (r): Yes.

Staffer: We’re at the end of our time.

Representative Hartzler (r): Oh kay. Okay, one more. Yes. Yes.

Question: I just wanted to compliment your local office….