MECHANICSVILLE, PA - Congressman Fitzpatrick was honored by the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau this morning with the "Friend of the Farm Bureau" Award, presented to Members of Congress of both parties who demonstrate a commitment to issues important to the farmers they represent.
"I am honored to receive this award from the Farm Bureau on behalf of the agricultural community here in Bucks County," said Fitzpatrick. "The original small business, the family farm has been a staple of the American economy for generations. Even today, Bucks County is home to a number of farms, several of which I visited during the course of my visits to 100 businesses in 100 days."
In a press conference with local farmers announcing the award, Congressman Fitzpatrick expressed his support for protecting Bucks County farmers from the estate tax hike looming on January 1, 2013.
"Farmers locally across the country have invested heavily in their work. A significant amount of their assets are tied up in the land they own and the equipment in which they invest, and when the total assets are combined, it is not difficult to reach a valuation of over $1 million, potentially forcing the sale of part of the estate in order to simply pay the tax being levied against it."
Fitzpatrick concluded saying that, "It’s not just about farmers passing wealth down to their families, but also the business itself, which is often that family’s livelihood. Ultimately, we must work to repeal the estate tax in its entirety, but in the short term we cannot allow the rate hike coming on January 1."
Under the 2001 and 2003 tax rates, a portion of an individual's estate is exempted from the estate tax, with the top rate on taxable assets reaching 35%.
Fitzpatrick and the House have passed legislation to ensure that the federal estate tax does not jump exponentially on January 1, 2013.
The Administration's tax plan would reduce the exemption and increase the top rate to 55%.