Arthur Laffer Fights Death, Gift Taxes in Tennessee

Thursday, 12 Apr 2012 12:07 PM

By Dan Weil

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Economist Arthur Laffer, an adviser to President Ronald Reagan, enjoys living in Nashville, Tenn. “There’s just one problem,” he tells Politico news service. “Don’t die here.”

The original supply-sider is spearheading an effort to quash estate and gift taxes in Tennessee. His campaign sparked the creation of a group called Tennesseans Against Death Taxes.

Laffer has met with business people and the administration of Tennessee GOP Gov. Bill Haslam on the issue. He also has written a paper, “The Economic Consequences of Tennessee’s Gift and Estate Tax,” that stands as the philosophical document behind the movement.

Tennessee’s gift and estate taxes amount to “the proverbial scat floating in the punch bowl” and “the single biggest reason” why wealthy people won’t live there, Laffer says.

“If we want to grow jobs and grow prosperity, we need to get rid of these taxes and get rid of them now,” Laffer told a group of business people at a meeting this week.

He writes in his paper, “Because the gift and estate tax are causing wealth to accumulate at a lesser rate than it should, Tennessee’s economic growth potential is less than it should be.”

Laffer isn’t the only Republican who opposes the death tax. South Dakota Sen. John Thune introduced a bill last month to ban it nationally.

“The death of a loved one should not be a taxable event,” he said in a statement.



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