LEGISLATION

FBA takes lead in death tax fight

FBA-led coalition delays Death Tax bill Faced with a strong and growing FBA-led coalition opposed to his bill to reinstate California's estate tax, Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, has decided to make his SB 726 a two-year bill, meaning it will not be heard by legislative committees this year.

The Senate Governance and Finance Committee had been scheduled to take up the bill in late April, but it was pulled from the committee's agenda at Wiener's request.

FBA lobbyists assembled a coalition of nearly 50 business and farming organizations that recently sent a letter to Sen. Wiener outlining the many problems in the bill. FBA Vice Chair Ken Monroe also authored an op-ed that ran in Wiener's hometown newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle.

"We are pleased that Sen. Wiener has delayed action on his legislation, and will continue working with our coalition partners to persuade him to drop the bill altogether," said FBA Executive Director Robert Rivinius. "Family businesses are the bedrock of California's economy and our communities, and imposing a California-only 40 percent death tax would be a crippling blow to many family businesses and would cause many of them to relocate to more business-friendly states."

SB 726 would ask voters to overturn ballot initiatives approved in 1982 to do away with the state's estate tax. While Sen. Wiener says the measure would only be pursued if the federal government abolishes its 40 percent death tax, nothing in the legislation states that. The tax would generate about $4.5 billion a year for state government.

Rivinius also warned that the fight is not yet over and FBA must continue to lead the fight against the proposal.

"The best coalition is the largest one possible, and in our case that means having FBA members in every legislative district in California. Please join FBA today to help us continue the fight to defeat this dangerous bill.


  1. Accelerate work on eliminating onerous regulations and litigation.

    • With the current makeup of the legislature, total elimination of most regulations is virtually impossible, so FBA will explore what is feasible to change, what is most onerous and can be documented, and work on accomplishing those improvements. Also, will pursue elimination of or reforms to PAGA lawsuits.

  2. Publicize FBA policy opinions and legislative positions.

    • Work to achieve coverage of those positions and opinions in the news media.

  3. Continue to explore opportunities to assist the transfer of ownership and property between family members and through successive generations.

    • As tax reform is considered take an active role to advocate for Family Businesses identifying threats and opportunities.

    • Fight against Split-Roll proposals that punish commercial properties and protect Proposition 13 for commercial properties.

  4. Continue to build relationships with key legislators and administration officials.

    • Sponsor the 5th Annual Family Business Legislative Conference.

    • Meet one-on-one with more key legislators and officials to educate them on the importance of family businesses and what issues are critical to family businesses.

    • Participate in coalitions, public events, and hearings advancing the family business model, initiative, and preferences.

  5. Fight against proposals and legislation which will add new regulations, costs, and complexity for family businesses.
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