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October 5th, 2005 Leah Sottile | News Stories
 

Death And Taxes

     
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Chances are, you'll never be affected by the estate tax that some in Congress are laboring to repeal.

Unless you've got a wealthy aunt about to croak or have tucked away a Xanadu to leave to your heirs, you probably won't approach the $1.5 million that can expose some assets to a tax of more than 45 percent.

Yet supporters of repealing the levy, which they label the "death tax," shout about its being a morbid grab from the dead and the downfall of mom-'n'-pop businesses. While most of those moms, pops and other constituents are unlikely to be taxed post-mortem (with deductions and exemptions, the tax hits less than 2 percent of dying adults), it's a little more personal for many lawmakers in Washington.

Here's a look at the gross assets of Oregon's congressional delegation, based on their annual financial disclosure forms (which collects info in broad dollar ranges), and where their estates would land if the pols happened to keel over before the question comes up for a vote. The conclusion: This is more a party vote than a wealth-based one.

NamePartyTotal assets (2004)Subject to the tax?Position on repealing?Fun fact!
Sen. Gordon SmithRepublican$ 8 million -$38 millionYesYesRichest senator in the Northwest.
Sen. Ron WydenDemocrat$964,000 -$2.1 millionPerhapsNo (voted for repeal in 2002)Recently married Nancy Bass, co-owner of New York City's Strand Bookstore-Wyden's assets are sure to grow.
Rep. Earl BlumenauerDemocrat$2 million -$5 millionYesNoOwns at least nine properties in Portland.
Rep. David WuDemocrat$494,000 -$678,000NoNoWu gets no pay for serving on two Portland boards.
Rep. Darlene HooleyDemocrat$253,000 -$646,000NoNoApparently Oregon's "poorest" lawmaker.
Rep. Greg WaldenRepublican$2 million -$6 millionYesYesOwns Columbia Gorge Broadcasters, which pipes talk radio and "good time oldies" into Hood River.
Rep. Peter DeFazioDemocrat$563,000 -$1.5 millionUnlikelyNoOregon's messiest personal financial disclosure: a hand-scrawled report.
 
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