SPRINGFIELD…Today, the Illinois Farm Bureau unveiled new legislation aimed at improving the Illinois Estate Tax. House Minority Leader Tony McCombie (Savanna) has spearheaded efforts throughout her tenure to address this problematic “death” tax, one that has disproportionately hurt family farms but also small businesses and manufacturing in Illinois. McCombie and members of her leadership team stand in support of the recently unveiled bipartisan proposal.
For the past seven years, Leader McCombie has worked in the Illinois House of Representatives to address the estate tax–alongside several House Republican members who have pursued ways in which small businesses, farmers, and family businesses could see relief from the punitive nature of the state’s archaic tax system which “re-taxes” assets upon death of the owner.
This past Spring, McCombie provided subject matter testimony in the House Revenue Committee in support of legislation she sponsored to reduce the estate tax and protect family farms. McCombie was joined in the Capitol last March by members of the Farm Bureau and the National Federation of Independent Business who were supportive of her bill and provided key testimony in favor of the measure, which would prevent any double taxation of inherited farms and small businesses.
While McCombie’s more comprehensive legislation on this issue has not moved forward, the need for tax relief still ranks as a top priority for House Republicans this legislative session. “I have advocated for a fix to the estate tax for a long time, and I take this newly introduced bill as a bipartisan step forward, with the understanding that we must go much further to change Illinois’ reputation as a bad place to do business,” said Leader McCombie.
In a press conference today in Bloomington, at the home office of the Illinois Farm Bureau, House Republican leaders stood with bipartisan lawmakers supporting the new measure. House Bill 4600, named the Family Farms Preservation Act, is designed to protect the heritage of family farmers by updating the Illinois Estate Tax code.
Deputy House Republican Leader Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) recognized the progress this bill makes to protect family farms in the state, but also noted the need for greater bipartisanship to continue doing more.
“Illinois’ estate tax hurts our farm families. House Republicans have consistently fought to increase the exclusion amount to account for rising farmland values. House Bill 4600 is a bipartisan agreement that will help family farmers pass their farmland on to the next generation, protecting our family farms from being sold off to large corporate or foreign interests. I’m proud to stand with the Illinois Farm Bureau and my colleagues in support of this critically needed change to our tax laws,” said Hammond.
According to State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville), “The estate tax has devastated family farms for decades as these farms are often sold to pay the inheritance tax.”
Rep. Meier is not only a farmer but serves as the Republican Spokesperson on the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee. “Improving estate tax exemptions for farmers will help save family farms when the farm is passed down to each generation,” continued Meier. “Family farms treat their farmland like family as it helps provide for their family and produces the crops that help feed the world. Our country has the lowest food costs in the world, thanks to family farms.”
State Representative Jason R. Bunting (R-Emington) also echoed his support for the measure. “For far too long, Illinois’ estate tax system has threatened family farms – like mine and my neighbors – with the prospect of having to sell the farm if there is a death in the family,” said Bunting. “Families going through a difficult time should not have to make the tough decision about whether or not to sell the farm. This legislation moves us toward a better system which will help keep farms in the family hands which have worked for generations.”