Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Estate tax relief: Is PETRA dead?

From a Bloomberg dispatch:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist postponed a vote on a measure to exempt most multimillionaires from federal estate taxes after conceding Republicans lack the votes to pass legislation adopted by the House last week. The delay is the third since Frist began his quest to repeal or reduce the tax last year and the second time this month his ambitions were thwarted by Democrats who say the government needs the revenue generated by the tax.
But let's not give up just yet. The tax-bill writers who named this one PETRA (Permanent Estate Tax Relief Act) must have been aware of the link to Petra, the ancient city in Jordan that flourished under Roman rule, and hence to Indiana Jones, who always comes through in the clutch.

As Indiana's fans know, Petra was where the world's greatest treasure was hidden, under the guard of a Crusader knight portrayed by a real knight, Sir Laurence Olivier: The Holy Grail.

Estate-tax relief is not in quite the same league. Still, Republicans should feel inspired to continue their quest.


Jim Gust said...

Thanks so much, Senator Frist, last night I sent an email alert to Merrill Anderson's clients on the new booklet I'm planning for PETRA.

I really don't understand this failure, they gave the Democrats everything that they said they wanted. Perhaps they lost some of the Republicans?

JLM said...

Senator Frist brought estate-tax repeal to a vote he knew he couldn't win. Presumably he wanted to make the Democrats look bad in an election year.

Would PETRA have passed the Senate if Senator Frist had introduced it earlier instead of playing games with repeal? We'll never know.

Senator Frist is now talking about inviting the Senate to modify PETRA after the July 4 recess. Rep. Thomas of Ways and Means implies Frist is daft, since PETRA *is* the compromise that Frist himself asked Thomas to put forward. The House, says Thomas, hated to give up dreams of full repeal and has no interest in passing a watered-down PETRA.

Anonymous said...

Sir Laurence Olivier did not play the Grail Knight in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." Robert Eddison did. Olivier, however, appeared as the Old Knight in a film version of Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem," which came out in the same year as "Crusade"--1989, also the year that Olivier died.

By the way, Frist is a doofuss.