An impressive list of African-American business leaders and entrepreneurs, including Black Entertainment Television Chairman and CEO Robert Johnson, today announced a call for the repeal of the estate tax. The group's perspective on the tax will be unveiled in full-page ads appearing in The Washington Post and New York Times on Wednesday, April 4.
Repeal of the tax is being sought for a range of reasons, including the fact that accumulated wealth is actually taxed twice -- once when it is earned and again upon the death of the earner. This level of taxation poses a serious threat to the likelihood that African American-owned businesses can be passed on to future generations as part of a family's long-term legacy.
According to the National Black Chamber of Commerce, individuals who work hard, achieve wealth and pay regular taxes along the way should not be penalized with punitive tax when he or she dies -- a position that this group of African-Americans openly endorses.
By definition, the estate tax is the amount of taxes paid to the government based on fair market value of an individual's property and assets at the time of death. Outstanding liabilities are subtracted from that taxable amount. Distribution of an estate is dictated by a will or living trust, with the beneficiaries responsible for paying the estate tax.
In addition to BET's Johnson, the group seeking the estate tax repeal consists of more than 40 successful African Americans from a range of industries. Included on the list are Earl Graves, chairman, editor and publisher of Black Enterprise magazine; Herman Russell, chairman of H. J. Russell & Company, a construction and real estate development company; Alexis Scott, publisher and CEO of the Atlanta Daily World newspaper; Ernie Green, managing director of global financial services giant Lehman Brothers; Dave Bing, former pro basketball great and the Bing Group of automotive suppliers; Ed Lewis, chairman and CEO of Essence Communications, publishing interests that includes Essence magazine; Nate Goldston, III, chairman, president and CEO of Gourmet Services, Inc., an Atlanta-based catering company; and Charlie W. Johnson, president and CEO of Active Transportation Company, a supplier of truck transport services.