April 1, 2012

Repealing Estate Tax Will Not Create An Economic Boom


Since Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam proposed reducing the state’s estate tax in February, Tennessee lawmakers have shown increasing interest in this idea. Recently, a House subcommittee one-upped the governor by approving a bill that would gradually repeal the tax outright. House Speaker Beth Harwell explained this move by noting that “[w]e know this tax drives people, capital and jobs out of the state.”1 As evidence of this claim, a number of observers (including the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board) have approvingly cited a recent report, coauthored by Arthur Laffer and Wayne Winegarden, which asserts that Tennessee’s estate tax has singlehandedly cost the state as many as 220,000 jobs.2 However, the Laffer/Winegarden report is severely flawed, and fails to provide any evidence for this dramatic claim. This brief explains the shortcomings in the Laffer/Winegarden analysis.

Read the Full Report (PDF)

See the Special “Debunking Laffer” Landing Page