Over the past couple years I have had the misfortune of sitting through a number of tedious and infuriating House Finance Committee hearings, where it has become commonplace to watch Rep. “Angry Ed” Orcutt (R-Kalama) argue vigorously — and, um… angrily — for nearly every tax cut, tax break and tax loophole to come down the pike. The man simply doesn’t like taxes.
This year he championed yet another attempt to repeal WA’s estate tax, a bill that died in committee. So on Tuesday he forced the House to vote on a procedural motion to bring the bill directly to the floor without a public hearing. In a press release issued after the motion failed 53-45, Orcutt whined:
“I’m not content to let small businesses die from having to liquidate their assets to pay one of the most punitive death taxes in the nation,”
So here’s my challenge to Angry Ed: show me the small businesses that have been forced to liquidate their assets to pay off WA’s estate tax.
I don’t want an anecdote or a metaphor, and I don’t want businesses where the heirs just decided to cash out… that happens all the time, regardless of taxes.
I want documented evidence of small family businesses, where the heirs desperately wanted to keep it in the family, but just couldn’t wing it… all because of WA’s “punitive” estate tax on non-farm assets over $2 million.
How many have there been over the past few years, Ed? Thousands? Hundreds? A couple dozen? Can you name just one?
I mean, if you’re going to grandstand on an issue like this, I just assume you have the facts to back it up. Otherwise, people might start thinking that your procedural maneuver was just some cheap, political stunt like, you know… the GOP’s cynical effort to bring their sex offender bill to a floor vote — likewise without hearings or debate — just to manufacture a controversy they could use against Democrats.
A Republican political action committee is sending automated phone calls to voters in swing districts targeting Democratic incumbents for opposing a vote on a bill to repeal Washington’s estate tax.
Rep. Deb Wallace, D-Vancouver, said her constituents began receiving the calls Thursday. “It’s ugly, partisan game-playing that we don’t need,” she said.
Besides, Wallace said, she voted in favor of bringing the bill to the House floor on Tuesday.
Yup, HA regular Kevin Carnes and The Speaker’s Roundtable is at it again. Apparently, Angry Ed’s hopeless procedural motion was just a ruse designed to provide cover for canned attack ads aimed at Democrats in swing districts. And when asked why Rep. Wallace’s constituents were being told she voted against the motion, when in fact she voted for it, Carnes displayed his usual ethical ambivalence.
“If she wants to be pragmatic about this, maybe (Wallace) should encourage her caucus to take a vote on this,”
So… Rep. Wallace is just a metaphor for the rest of her caucus?
So come on Ed, prove to me that you’re not just another tool of your caucus’s political hacks. You claim the WA estate tax — a tax that only applies to about 250 estates a year — forces small businesses to liquidate their assets. Now prove it.