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Public policy matters more than personality
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To the editor:

If it was not so serious, Barbara Bollier’s testimonial ads from moderate Republicans touting that she will govern as a centralist would be almost humorous. Do they honestly believe it is possible for a Democrat Senator to govern as a centralist in a political party dominated by east and west coast liberals? That is why in this election public policy matters more than personality. Let me share with you just one reason why.

Under current law, estates of approximately $11 million or less are not subject to estate tax. Under proper planning, a husband and wife can transfer to their children over $22 million estate tax free. This excludes the vast majority of Kansans from estate tax. A key piece of the Democrat legislative agenda after the election is to lower the estate tax exemption to $5.6 million and some reports indicate that it may be lowered to $3.5 million. Depending on the size of the estate, the Democrat’s new estate tax rate could be as high as 39%. This will have significant repercussions for small businesses and farmers and ranchers whose net worth is tied up in the operation of the business or farm. It may well force children to sell property necessary for the operation of the farm or small business simply to pay the estate taxes.

If that is not bad enough, it gets worse. For as long as I can remember, the tax basis of a decedent’s property at death was always stepped up to its fair market value. Let me provide you a simple example of how it currently works. Assume your parents bought a house 40 years ago for $30,000. That is their established tax basis. When they pass, the house is now worth $120,000. Current law allows the tax basis to be re-established at $120,000. Then if the children sell the home for $120,000, they pay no capital gains as the new tax basis equals the fair market value at death. The Democrat plan is to eliminate stepped up basis at death, resulting in the children paying capital gains tax on the difference between $120,000 and $30,000 when the house is sold. The capital gains tax can be as high as 39% under the Democrat plan.

Issues like this are why policy matters as much as personality. Barbara Bollier seems like a nice person. She portrays herself as conservative despite the fact her voting record in the Kansas Senate would indicate otherwise. So when she arrives in Washington as a Democrat Senator, will she stand up against liberals in her party in order to serve the best interest of Kansas? If she does, she will be ostracized by her own party and become irrelevant. There will likely be no assignments to committees important to Kansas, like the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Knowing Democrats reward their faithful and punish their unfaithful, she will likely do one of two things. Succumb to the pressure to vote for the east and west coast liberal agenda, or vote as a centralist and be relegated to a meaningless role in a Democrat controlled Senate. Neither of which serves the best interest of Kansas.

Considering the left leaning policies of the Democrat party, is Barbara Bollier a good choice for Kansas? The common sense answer would be no.

Mark Calcara

Great Bend