James Votes for Pro-Jobs Bill Approved by House Committee

Rep. Lee James (second from right) listened at a House Finance Committee meeting in Harrisburg while colleagues debated before approving a bill to allow families to pass a business from one generation to the next without paying the Commonwealth’s inheritance tax.

HARRISBURG – Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler) today at a state House Finance Committee meeting was joined by a majority of his colleagues in voting to approve a pro-jobs bill and send it to the full House for consideration.

“We passed a bill that would reform our tax system and protect Pennsylvania jobs,” James said. “At a time when many employers are struggling to stay in business and many workers are still looking for jobs, we need to enact reforms that promote and protect private-sector job creation.”

House Bill 48 would allow small business owners in Pennsylvania to transfer ownership of the business without having to pay the Commonwealth’s inheritance tax. This means the business could be passed down from generation to generation without having to sell parts or all of the operation to pay the inheritance tax.

“For small family businesses, the inheritance tax can be a death blow,” said Kevin Shivers, executive director of the Pennsylvania branch of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), in a memorandum in support of the bill. “Many times the tax liability is so large that family members are forced to sell part of the company in order to pay the tax.”

In order to qualify for the inheritance tax exemption, the family business would have to – for a period of five years – continue its original operations and be owned by the same family members who inherited it. The family member or members who inherit the business would have to certify on an annual basis that they maintain possession and the business is still operating as it did prior to the transfer of ownership.

“The inheritance tax can be like the hatchet that kills the golden goose,” James said. “It may provide some revenue in the short term, but it can kill the small family business in the process. It makes more sense from a long-term perspective to eliminate the tax on family businesses and allow them to continue operating in our economy and contributing to our tax base for years to come.”

For additional information, constituents are encouraged to visit James’s website at www.RepJames.com and follow him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/RepLeeJames.

Representative Lee James
64th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Dan Massing
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