NU Online News Service, March 19, 2:39 p.m. — Washington

President Bush is again calling on Congress to permanently repeal the estate tax.

During a speech yesterday in Missouri, the president identified estate tax repeal as one of several tax initiatives he intends to pursue to revitalize small businesses.

The estate tax, which President Bush calls the “death tax,” makes it very difficult for small business owners to make the decision of who gets to own the businesses.

The death tax, he said, causes the heirs of a small business owner to liquidate the assets that have been built up over a lifetime.

“It was a terrible tax,” he said. “We put it on its way to extinction. But I call upon the Congress to make the elimination of the death tax permanent in the tax code.”

Last year, Congress enacted a law that would phase out the estate tax Jan. 1, 2010. However, due to a sunset clause in that legislation, the estate tax will come back into being, exactly as it existed before the legislation was passed, Jan. 1, 2011.

David Winston, vice president of government affairs for the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Falls Church, Va., said estate tax repeal will be very difficult to accomplish.

If the nation could not afford to do full repeal when it was running a large budget surplus, Winston said, it is even less likely now that the nation is running a deficit.