If Trump and Congress repeal the federal estate tax, California should adopt an identical estate tax and keep the money here

Donald Trump and the right-wing Congress are doing many destructive things. One that has received less attention than others is the likely complete repeal of the federal estate tax. After many years of Republican efforts to scale back and kill the highly progressive estate tax, which covers only the wealthiest .2% of estates (worth $5.5 million and up), repeal bills are pending in both houses of Congress, and they are likely to pass.

Today I’m announcing a ballot measure to respond to this pending federal repeal. Specifically, if Trump and Congress repeal the federal estate tax, California should enact its own identical estate tax — the state currently doesn’t have an estate tax — and keep the money here in California.

California then can use this significant sum of money to fund critical needs that are being threatened by Trump and company, for example, healthcare, transportation, and education.

The federal estate tax generated about $18 billion in the last reported year, 2015. In that year, California contributed about one quarter of all federal estate taxes, or about $4.5 billion. The amount grows each year and is projected to continue to increase.

California law currently bans a state-level estate tax, per a 1982 ballot measure adopted by the voters. My proposed ballot measure will repeal that ban and adopt an estate tax identical to the threatened federal estate tax.

If, for whatever reason, Congress unexpectedly keeps the federal estate tax intact, I will withdraw this ballot measure. The measure is simply intended to replace a repealed federal estate tax so that large California estates will not pay any additional taxes but rather continue to pay the existing tax — to California instead of the federal government.

The #Resistance to Donald Trump takes many forms. Salvaging a highly progressive form of taxation, keeping the proceeds here in California, and using the funds to repair the damage caused by Trump and company certainly qualify.

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