Pasadena businessman John Colbert, the Republican challenging Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) in November, has signed the "Death Tax Repeal Pledge," promising he would vote for permanent repeal of the federal estate tax. The pledge is the brainchild of the American Family Business Institute, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy bill looking to permanently bury the tax.
The tax requires family members inheriting property, including business assets, worth $3.5 million or more to pay up to 55% of the net value of estate in taxes when the owner dies and passes it on to heirs. The tax was suspended for 2010 after Congress failed to bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats on reauthorizing or modifying it.
Republicans say the tax hurts farmers and small businesses by draining the assets they would use to plow back into their enterprises. Democrats say the tax is fair and affects only the wealthiest of families, although they have also signaled a willingness to scale it back.