Virginia Candidates to Estate Tax: Drop Dead

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Representative democracy can be a lot of fun when it gives voters real choices-- but there's been a fairly steady stream of (accurate) bellyaching for about 200 years about how our two-party, privately-funded election system often eliminates meaningful choice. On the question of repealing the estate tax, we can add Virginia's gubernatorial election to this stream: the Virginian-Pilot notes that all three candidates in next week's election are in favor of permanent estate tax repeal.

If there's a quarrel between the candidates on this issue, it's just over how quickly the thing ought to go away: Democrat Tim Kaine and independent Russell Potts are a little slow on the trigger, arguing for a gradual phaseout, while Republican Jerry Kilgore has made it clear he'll have a shovel ready on Inauguration Day.

Is this uniformly timid response more understandable given that all three candidates expressed these position to an audience of farmers? Absolutely not. These are exactly the guys who need to hear the truth about the estate tax: that having such a tax is entirely consistent with our collective committment to preserving the small family farm.

Virginia lawmakers have shown more gumption than most in recent years, passing the big 2004 tax hike. Let's hope the next governor, whoever who is, shows a little backbone once he takes office...

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