On Capitol Hill, Accountability and Accomplishments Matter More Now Than Ever


By Pat Soldano

Fighting the good fight is a forward-looking enterprise, but sometimes it’s worth taking a breather, taking a long look back, and celebrating, if briefly, our wins.

The biggest of big recent wins was the formation late last year of the bipartisan Congressional Family Business Caucus. For the first time ever, family businesses have a voice on Capitol Hill. If nothing else this caucus will let our leaders know how strong family enterprises are in this country.

When I speak with members of Congress, they are nearly always floored when I tell them family businesses are the largest private employers in the U.S.  Their response is: “Really?”

Yes, really.

Family businesses of all shapes and sizes, first generation to tenth generation, make up nearly 60 percent of the private work force and contribute annually $7.7 trillion to our economy, research shows. Congress is finally starting to take notice of these numbers.

We’ve got some powerful co-chairs leading this caucus, too. They are Representatives Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), and Henry Cuellar (D-TX).

The first caucus was held Feb. 28 on Capitol Hill, a big first step. The next caucus meeting is scheduled for May 16.

I call multi-generational family businesses the “quiet giant” of our economy. But we aren’t so quiet now. In fact, if you add up the victories we’ve made on The Hill, the list is impressive.

Here are just a few of the most recent accomplishments we at Family Enterprise USA and Policy and Taxation Group, along with the help of our many partners and supporters, guided through our legislative process.

It starts with exclusion of poor tax proposals, ones that hurt family businesses big and small, that were proposed in the first version of 2020/2021 The Build Back Better proposal.

The first hard-fought exclusions were the elimination of Grantor Trusts, the elimination of Valuation Discounts for Non-Business Assets, and the elimination of Step Up In Basis. Thankfully, we were able to help stave off all of these proposed eliminations.

Next, we were successful in excluding provisions to reduce of the Estate Tax Lifetime Exemption, the 199A Reduction, and IRA Limitation of Private Stock Ownership. In addition, we helped stop the increase in Estate Tax Rate and the every-looming increase in Income Tax Rates.

On Capitol Hill, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. But our experts help us stay on top of hidden measures that might destroy multi-generational family businesses, lose jobs, and damage communities.

Our work has helped stop the increase in Cap Gains Tax Rate, a Surtax of five percent on income of $10 million, and an additional three percent surtax on income above $25 million. We also helped stop the Net Investment Income Tax, 3.8 percent on non-passive income, a change in tax on Carried Interest, and the elimination of Accelerated Depreciation & Like Kind Exchanges.

On the tax and regulatory front, consider today the “golden hour” for estate tax exemptions.  This is another battle we won. But act fast. It all changes January 1, 2026.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act nearly doubled the lifetime estate and gift tax exemption from $5.6 million for individuals and $11.18 million for couples, to $11.18 million for individuals and $22.36 million for couples, indexed for inflation after 2018.

For 2023, the exemption stands at $12.92 million per person and $25.84 million for a married couple. Simply, you can give up to those amounts over your lifetime without paying federal income tax. Any amount above is taxed at a hefty 40 percent.

Unless new legislation is passed by January 1, 2026, this most favorable estate tax exemptions in 50 years will end. After that, exemptions get cut in half. The good news: you can start planning for this change right now.

Why are we fighting so hard?

The results from our recent Family Enterprise USA Annual Family Business Survey 2023 continue to show family business are the anchor of America’s economy. Simply, family businesses grow, prosper, and add jobs even in the face of inflation, burdensome tax policies, and pandemics.

And, despite the jagged economic terrain of high inflation, looming recession, and hard to manage labor, 74 percent multi-generational family businesses have succeeded for 30 years or more and 65 percent expect to grow in 2023. Last year, 71 percent saw their business increase.

We must continue fighting for more wins.

The proposed Biden Budget calls for increase in corporate taxes from its current 21 percent to 28 percent, a whopping 25 percent increase on our country’s wealthiest. It also proposes increasing married couple tax rates to 39.6 percent for those earning over $450,00.

Many of these couples are owners and operators of family businesses. They are already hurting since most are pass-through tax entities and do not receive the benefits of much lower corporate tax rates.

The good news is that family businesses can adapt faster and easier than larger corporations, and our voice is now louder than ever.

But let’s take a moment to celebrate our wins.  We now have a new Congressional Family Business Caucus to cheer for us, and help push through initiatives good for America’s largest private employer.

The quiet giant is awakening and, in the big picture, the wins help create a positive path for the future.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article. While you’re here, we have a small favor to ask…

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The need for fact-based reporting of issues important to family offices and successful individuals and protecting a lifetime of savings has never been greater. Now more than ever, family offices and successful individuals are under fire. That’s why Policy and Taxation Group is passionately working to increase the awareness of issues important to family offices and successful individuals, while continuing to strengthen our presence on Capitol Hill.

Policy and Taxation Group is the Voice for Family Offices and Successful Individuals in Washington, DC focused exclusively on the critical tax and economic policies that impact them.

Since 1995, Policy and Taxation Group has been the leading advocacy group working to reduce and eliminate estate tax, gift tax, and generation skipping transfer tax while blocking increased income tax and capital gains taxes, the creation of a wealth tax, and other hostile tax policies that punish hardworking taxpayers and success.

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