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 $1.5 million that can expose some assets to a tax of more than 45 percent.
Yet supporters of repealing the levy, which they label the "death tax," shout about its being a morbid grab from the dead and the downfall of mom-'n'-pop businesses. While most of those moms, pops and other constituents are unlikely to be taxed post-mortem (with deductions and exemptions, the tax hits less than 2 percent of dying adults), it's a little more personal for many lawmakers in Washington.
Here's a look at the gross assets of Oregon's congressional delegation, based on their annual financial disclosure forms (which collects info in broad dollar ranges), and where their estates would land if the pols happened to keel over before the question comes up for a vote. The conclusion: This is more a party vote than a wealth-based one.
|Name||Party||Total assets (2004)||Subject to the tax?||Position on repealing?||Fun fact!|
|Sen. Gordon Smith||Republican||$ 8 million -$38 million||Yes||Yes||Richest senator in the Northwest.|
|Sen. Ron Wyden||Democrat||$964,000 -$2.1 million||Perhaps||No (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 Blumenauer||Democrat||$2 million -$5 million||Yes||No||Owns at least nine properties in Portland.|
|Rep. David Wu||Democrat||$494,000 -$678,000||No||No||Wu gets no pay for serving on two Portland boards.|
|Rep. Darlene Hooley||Democrat||$253,000 -$646,000||No||No||Apparently Oregon's "poorest" lawmaker.|
|Rep. Greg Walden||Republican||$2 million -$6 million||Yes||Yes||Owns Columbia Gorge Broadcasters, which pipes talk radio and "good time oldies" into Hood River.|
|Rep. Peter DeFazio||Democrat||$563,000 -$1.5 million||Unlikely||No||Oregon's messiest personal financial disclosure: a hand-scrawled report.|