An HVAC wholesaler group is adding its voice to those pushing for a vote this year to repeal the so-called death tax.

The Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International has joined a coalition of 35 business groups lobbying for a vote on the Death Tax Repeal Act, sponsored by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas).

The Family Business Coalition, of which HARDI is a member, recently sent a letter to the congressmen and House leadership urging a vote.

“We believe that full repeal of the death tax is the only permanent solution for America’s family businesses and farms and applaud your efforts to bring this important issue to the floor for the first time in over nine years,” the group wrote. “Our member family business owners across the country deserve to see where their elected representatives stand on death tax repeal.”

The death tax is more commonly known as the estate tax, which sometimes requires the heirs of a family-owned business to pay federal taxes after the founder has died.

The estate tax is especially tough for family companies, HARDI said, because they tend to have large assets but little cash on hand. That can make paying up to a 40 percent estate tax nearly impossible. Some companies are forced to lay off staff, sell equipment or close the business, it said. High taxes are part of the reason most family-owned companies do not survive to the second generation, according to the association. Removing this tax will help HARDI members grow their companies and ensure they survive, it added.

HARDI Government Affairs Committee Co-Chairwoman Karen Madonia of Illco Inc. in Aurora, Ill., took part in a press conference introducing the bill last year. She urged lawmakers to consider the tax’s impact on families.

“What the authors and supporters of this bill clearly understand, and what I hope that members of both houses can embrace, is that the estate tax presents a real problem for family-owned companies,” Madonia said.

HARDI said it has been working to secure a House floor vote to repeal the estate tax for more than two years.