FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, September 27, 2017
Kip Tom, the Leesburg, Indiana farmer who will stand today with President Trump calling for repeal of the federal estate tax, has cashed in over $3.3 million in farm subsidy checks, including $2.6 million between 2004 and 2014, according to the most recent data available.
Research compiled by the Institute for Policy Studies based on publicly available data reveals that Kip Tom of Tom Farms, a large corn and soybean producer, is the ninth-largest farm subsidy recipient in the state of Indiana.
“The definition of hubris is to complain about your taxes but cash millions in checks provided by other taxpayers,” said Chuck Collins, a researcher at the Institute for Policy Studies. “I’d be embarrassed.”
Tom Farms has changed legal status over the last 20 years, but received subsidies every year. Between 2004 and 2014, Tom Farms Partners received $2,612,561 in subsidies, mostly commodity subsidies. Between 1996 and 2006, Tom Farms LLC cashed $667,732 in farm subsidy checks. In 1995, Kip Tom took in $42,826 in subsidies, but then refunded $17,494 for a net subsidy of $25,332. Between 1995 and 2014, this amounts to over $3,305,625 in government subsidies.
Republicans have often used farmers and ranchers as props to give the impression that a wide swath of hard-working Americans are threatened by what they call the “death tax.” In reality, only families with over $11 million in wealth and individuals with wealth over $5.45 million are subject to this tax. Nationwide, fewer than two out of a thousand estates are subject to the estate tax, which, if left intact, would raise over $230 billion in much-needed revenue over the next decade.
“If you want to see who would benefit from estate tax repeal, look no further than President Trump and his cabinet,” said Collins, who co-authored a 2003 book with Bill Gates Sr. in defense of the estate tax, Wealth and Our Commonwealth. Collins is director of the Program on Inequality at the Institute for Policy Studies, a 52-year old research institute, and co-editor of the website, Inequality.org.
Very few farms are subject to the estate tax and already have different valuations and carve out provisions. Most of the people who pay the estate tax are wealthy and based in urban and coastal areas.
Organizations that represent small farmers, like the National Farmers Union and the Family Farm Coalition, support retention of the estate tax. They believe concentrations of wealth, farmland and farm subsidies post a threat to competitive agriculture. Over 41 percent of Indiana farmers do not receive any subsidies, according to the USDA.