Illinois’ Republican and Democrat U.S. Senate candidates are giving their best pitches to the state’s farmers on several issues, including how to better export Illinois agricultural products and what they think about the inheritance tax. 

When someone dies and passes on their property to their children the federal government taxes the estate. 

Incumbent U.S. Senator Mark Kirk said that needs to change. “I don’t think if you work your whole life with your income being taxed your whole life you should be taxed again. To have the farm owner die...and get this huge death tax, that threatens the very existence of the family farm.” 
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Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is challenging Kirk and said she would rather have comprehensive tax reform, “but I’m willing to look and see if we do a carve out for farmers and for a very specific reason.” 

In addition to the federal estate tax, Illinois is one of only fifteen states and the District of Columbia that has an additional estate tax. 

On ways to get Illinois agriculture products to the international market Kirk said he wants to use private dollars to dredge the Mississippi River. “I am just waiting to go to New York to raise the money so we expand those locks and dams to make sure we have the full capacity to turn theMississippi into an exports drag strip for Illinois agriculture.” 

Kirk said the private sector would move faster than the government. 

U.S. Congresswoman, and Kirk challenger, Tammy Duckworth wants the Army Corp. of
Engineers to use tax dollars to improve locks and dams, “but they’ve never been actually budgeted the money to do it. I think what they’re looking for is $12 million.” 

Both candidates support biofuels but clashed on trade with Cuba. Duckworth supports opening up that potential market. Kirk opposes trade with Cuba.

The two candidates appeared separately in front of the Illinois Farm Bureau at a farm just north of Normal.
(Copyright WBGZ /