Family business owners and entrepreneurs are all too familiar with our country’s onerous estate tax. The fiscal cliff negotiations at the end of last year halted the 55 percent estate tax rate from again taking effect, but the negotiated 40 percent rate and $5.12 million exemption amount enacted are hardly encouraging.  

What this means is when hardworking business owners die, everything in their estate that totals more than $5.12 million is levied with a 40 percent federal tax. Not to mention, these business owners have already dutifully paid income taxes, capital gains taxes, and state taxes throughout the course of their business’ existence.

Historically, this tax has been imposed as a temporary tax for defense purposes. After a war concluded, the government would repeal the tax. In 1916, the tax was imposed for World War I but it has yet to be repealed, nearly 100 years later. According to the Congressional Budget Office, since 1945, estate and gift tax receipts have consistently remained near or below 2 percent of federal revenues.

Since this tax barely brings in a nominal amount of revenue, the pain it inflicts on American families certainly is not worth it.

In order to comply and preserve as much of their assets as they can, business owners are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on life insurance, attorney fees, and financial planning advice all to avoid being taxed – again – on everything they leave behind to their loved ones. Some families are not as lucky and, in order to pay these taxes, those who inherit a business are commonly forced to sell land and equipment vital to the company’s operation, and the business is essentially rendered liquidated.  

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has found that small business owners frequently cite the estate tax as one of the most important issues for small businesses. Many small businesses and farms in our country are family owned and are passed down from one generation to another. In the past, the amount levied by the tax has been so large, it has forced the sale of a bulk of company assets, essentially forcing a company ultimately out of business, never giving the younger generation a chance.

As a member of the House Small Business Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Access to Capital, I find this tax to be troublesome at best. We must reduce the tax burden on small business owners – America’s economic engine – so they can continue to invest in our economy. Small business owners are America’s largest job creators and, when they are forced to spend time and money adhering to futile government regulations, hardworking Americans suffer.

With nearly 23 million people in our country unemployed or underemployed, it is baffling that the federal government would continue to impose such a burdensome tax on our job creators. I will oppose any legislation that increases the estate tax, and will support a full repeal of this tax, because it is wrong to burden our fellow Americans who have invested in our economy and in our nation their entire lives.

WASHINGTON, DC — If you're in the Pee Dee and want to speak with a representatives of Congressman Tom Rice, R-SC but can't make it to his regional office in Florence, don't sweat it.

The congressman's office will come to you.

Rice's office issued a release on Tuesday announcing "mobile office hours" for the Pee Dee Region. A Rice representatives will be traveling to locations in Cheraw, Bennettsville, Dillon, Marion, and Mullins in April and May to meet with anyone who would like to bring something to the attention of the congressman.

“I am blessed to represent such a vast district; however, I understand that is it difficult to travel several hours when the need for help is immediate," Rice said in a release. "I encourage those who need assistance with a federal agency and would like to voice their opinion on legislative issues to attend our Mobile Office sessions.”

MEET A REP OF THE REP

Cheraw

Wednesday, April 3rd

1pm-3pm

Cheraw Town Hall Conference Room

200 Market Street

Cheraw, SC

Bennettsville

Tuesday, April 9th

2pm-4pm

Marlboro County Economic Development Office

214 East Market Street

Bennettsville, SC

Dillon

Wednesday, April 24th

1pm-3pm

Dillon City Hall

401 West Main Street

Dillon, SC

Marion

Thursday, April 25th

2pm-4pm

Marion County Economic Development Office

115 Guyton Road

Marion, SC

Mullins

Thursday, May 23rd

2pm-4pm

Florence Darlington Technical College- Mullins Campus (Directly Across From the Depot)

109 South Main Street

Mullins, SC

Posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 4:06 pm | Updated: 4:40 pm, Tue Mar 26, 2013.

FLORENCE, S.C. – Despite the seemingly never ending turmoil in Washington, South Carolina’s newest congressman said he believes American’s political leaders are making progress.

Rep. Tom Rice, SC-7, didn’t say Republicans and Democrats were linking arms and singing “Kumbaya,” but he’s optimistic.

“I hear both sides talking about it, even the president,” Rice said. “They’re at least having the dialogue, what we’ve got a problem with is how to fix it. Now, there is a difference on how we get there, but I think we will. We’ll have to come together.”

But that’s something Washington’s said before.

When the Budget Control Act of 2011 was signed by President Barack Obama, it was designed to reduce the deficit through sweeping, across-the-board reductions in discretionary spending – sequestration – that were so drastic they would inspire Congress to act before the dreaded “Fiscal Cliff” arrived on Jan. 1, 2013.

A deal wasn’t struck until Jan. 2 and sequestration was delayed until March 1, giving leaders two more months reach a compromise that never came.

Unlike Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, – an outspoken opponent to the sequester – Rice said he was in favor of the cuts and said they forced Washington to get back to business, prompting the Democrat controlled Senate poised to pass a budget for the first time since 2009.

During his keynote address at the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce during their annual banquet Friday at the Florence Civic Center, Rice praised the budget recently proposed by House Republicans – authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI – and said in a few weeks he is optimistic more progress will come.

“The senate’s going to pass a budget for the first time in four years, probably in two weeks,” Rice said. “I hope we go to conference and we come up with a reasonable solution. Will I say it’s probable? No. Likely? Maybe. You know, I think it’s a good shot.”

That doesn’t sound like the confident candidate who preached fiscal conservatism on the campaign trail in 2012, but two months in Congress have been a bit of a wake-up call for the new representative.

“It’s probably a little worse than I thought it would be going up there,” Rice admitted. “But I also think that they are trying to devise strategies to move down the way, and they’ve done that. If you’d have told me when I came in in December that we’d pass a house budget that’d balance in 10 years, I’d have been happy with that.”

Following his remarks, Rice met with a small number of local leaders for a question and answer session, discussing items ranging from immigration reform to entitlement spending.

Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013 7:41 pm | Updated: 8:00 pm, Fri Mar 22, 2013. By John Sweeney Pee Dee Politics.

“In my opinion, we need to scrap the process, everything they are doing, and start over.”

That’s the thought Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC-7) shared with the Georgetown Times Thursday about the current methods the federal government uses for port and infrastructure funding.

“I think it threatens the American economy and jobs,” Rice said.

“I can’t imagine that if you set out to design a worse system, I don’t think you could do it.”

That train of thought is one shared by many around Georgetown County who have long thirsted for a solution to problems of maintenance dredging for the Port of Georgetown.

It’s been so long since the federal channel in Winyah Bay and the harbor at Georgetown have been dredged that the mandated 27-foot depth has silted in to just 17 or 18 feet in places.

Rice spoke with the Times Thursday after a “Roundtable on Ports: Jobs, Economic Development, and Trade” in Washington.

The roundtable heard from American Association of Port Authorities President Kurt J. Nagle; Maersk, Inc. Vice President of Government Relations Clint Eisenhauer; Port of Tampa President and CEO Paul Anderson; and Port of Skagit Executive Director Patsy Martin.

Skagit is a small port city in Washington state. Rice said Martin related similar circumstances to Georgetown for that area.

Her city has a 10-mile waterway with less than a million tons of shipping annually. Her port is a direct contributor to more than 500 jobs.

For Georgetown, the channel runs 14 miles through Winyah Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. Shipping has dropped significantly below the current million-ton threshhold to ensure maintenance dredging by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Martin asserted — and many of the House committee members agreed — that tonnage should not be all and end all. With containerized shipping, weight is not the factor it used to be.

“It looks like we have three real problems with ports, and infrastructure in general,” Rice said.

“We have money problems, but also the time it takes to get things carried out.” He added that those delays can lead to cost overruns, such as the Port of Miami is facing. Because of years and years of delays, the cost has increased and now the federal government — which mandated numerous studies since 1999 — says it’s taken too long and will cost too much.

Rice noted that the ban on earmarks is appropriate, but that causes problems because of the way funding is allocated.

He would like to see a merit-based allocation system. He believes that existing industry in the area, coupled with prospective industry that would come through Georgetown if the channel was deep enough, would make a successful case for funding the $33 million cost of dredging.

“But, we need to find a better system for allocating money rather than turning the funds over to the administration,” Rice said.

“The bottom line is, when you look at the incredible length of time it takes from start to finish on these things, we’ve got an enormous problem with the process. It appears to me the federal government wants to micro-manage the process. But,” Rice continued, “if they want to do that, they need to be more nimble.

“We’re going to take a long, hard look at this. I’m just one person, but I’m going to do everything I can to put in some common-sense reform.”

There is a current Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, but a lot of the money in that trust account is being diverted by the administration to the federal general fund. “If we could just get that money where the user fees are used to maintain the ports, it would take care of a lot of the problems.”

He said that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham “is certainly a friend of Georgetown.”

The U.S. House will produce a water bill, which is where funding is slated for ports, and he will advocate for a merit-based allocation of limited funds.

“It’ll be up to us to establish the merit.”

Rice said it would likely take until the fall of the year for the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) to make its way through Congress.

When asked whether he thought President Barack Obama would sign such a bill into law, Rice replied, “I don’t know what he’s going to do on a day-to-day basis. I can tell you this, if we expect to be competitive … we’ve got to have working ports.”

Rice has met and talked with the Corps of Engineers personally on several occasions about the Georgetown port and other projects.

“I assure you I am peering into every way that the infrastructure in the 7th District will get the attention it deserves.

“There’s no moss growing on me. I’m working hard to represent your interests.”

By Tommy Howard, Georgetown Times. Published Friday, March 22, 2013 5:57 AM

— U.S. Congressman Tom Rice said Monday that fire victims who have lost and need help replacing federal documents can find it through his office at 2411 N. Oak St., Suite 405, or by calling the office at 445-6459.

Rice said the office further will assist victims in finding agencies or groups that can offer other help when his office can’t.

Rice said that people likely lost things such as Social Security cards and passports as well as other federal documents in the fire that destroyed 26 buildings in Windsor Green Saturday night. The office will also assist victims in changing addresses for any federal program they are enrolled in, including Social Security and Medicare.

By Steve Jones, The Sun News. Published: March 18, 2013


Read more here: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/2013/03/18/3387845/rice-offers-victims-help-to-replace.html#storylink=cpy