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GOP loses bid to ax estate tax

Oklahoman Published: June 9, 2006
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TODAY IN BUSINESS -- The Senate rejected Republican efforts Thursday to repeal the estate tax, but GOP leaders promised to try again before this election year is over.

Senators voted 57-41 to advance the bill, but that was three votes short of the 60 needed to overcome objections from a majority of Democrats and a pair of Republicans.

Those opposed to the bill said it would deliver an unwise tax cut when the government needed more money to balance its budget and to wage war.

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., proposed an alternative that would have relieved more estates from taxation by letting an individual's estate worth $5 million, or a couple's worth $10 million, escape taxation. That exclusion would increase each year to keep pace with inflation.

Most estates exceeding that size would be taxed at capital gains tax rates. The very largest, when exceeding $30 million, would be taxed at 30 percent.

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