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Ten Super-Wealthy Anti-Estate Tax Families Listed on Forbes 400

September 27, 2006 Contact: Bob Keener
(617) 423-2148 x120

Forbes magazine’s 2006 list of the 400 wealthiest people in America includes individuals from ten of the 18 wealthy families exposed as stealthily funding efforts to repeal the estate tax, the nation’s only tax on multi-million dollar inheritances.

The April 2006 report, “Spending Millions to Save Billions; The Campaign of the Super Wealthy to Kill the Estate Tax,” by Public Citizen and United for a Fair Economy (UFE) showed that, if successful, the effort would save these super wealthy families about $71.6 billion dollars, and cost the federal government $1 trillion over ten years.

The ten anti-estate-tax billionaire families on the Forbes 400 list include the Cox family, the DeVos family, the Dorrance family, the Gallo family, the Harbert family, the Johnson family, the Koch family, the Mars family, the Sobrato family, and the most wealthy of all, the Walton family. Of the 24 individuals on the Forbes 400 list from the ten families, 13 rank among the 100 wealthiest people in the country. The net worth of most of the families has grown since the 2005 Forbes list, increasing the amount the families would save by repealing the estate tax.

“Everybody should be able to pass some savings or a modest home to their children when they die,” says Chuck Collins, co-founder of UFE, and director of Fair Economy Action Fund, its lobbying arm. “For the first time, only billionaires made the Forbes 400 list. If children inherit billions of dollars completely tax-free as these families continue to lobby for, soon only trillionaires will make the list.”

Of the 24 individuals from anti-estate-tax families on the Forbes 400 list, 20 owe their good fortune to their forbearers, since only four represent the first generation of family wealth. A list of the 24 wealthy individuals, their wealth, their location and their rank in the Forbes may be downloaded here.

Repealing or reducing the estate tax has been a hot topic in Congress this summer, with several US House and Senate votes that have not passed both chambers. The estate tax is also an issue in a number of Congressional and Senate campaigns this fall. Estate tax repeal or reduction is expected to come up for a vote in the lame duck session when Congress returns after the November elections.

United for a Fair Economy is a national non-partisan, non-profit organization that raises awareness of the dangers of growing economic inequality.


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