Eliminating the estate tax has been a top priority of the National Automobile Dealers Association for years. But one of three House Republicans who opposed legislation to repeal the tax was car dealer and U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia. The measure passed April 16.
On his website, Rigell said: "As our military absorbs the impacts of sequestration, I cannot justify supporting a bill that adds nearly $270 million to the debt without providing an offset for these costs."
Rigell also noted a 2013 law allowing individuals to pass on $5.4 million and couples $10.8 million without paying estate taxes. The current bill "would only affect an estimated two-tenths of 1 percent of Americans, or about 5,500 households," he said.
When elected to Congress in 2010, Rigell owned Ford, Lincoln-Mercury and Volvo dealerships in coastal Virginia. The Lincoln-Mercury store closed. According to a press release and local news reports, Rigell sold the majority stake in the Ford and Volvo dealerships last November, though he retains a minority interest.
Rigell wasn't the only car dealer congressman to vote against the bill. Fellow Virginian U.S. Rep. Don Beyer also voted no. Beyer, who owns dealerships in northern Virginia with his family, is a Democrat, a former lieutenant governor of Virginia and the 2006 chairman of the American International Automobile Dealers Association.