‘Death tax’ needs put to pasture

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 5, 2011

Gov. John Kasich and other Ohio Republicans have been proudly touting the fact that current budget proposals would address the state’s nearly $8 billion deficit without raising taxes.

A little-known part of the governor’s proposal, which was included in the House version and is currently still part of the Senate plan under consideration, is that at least one tax would actually go away.

What Kasich has dubbed the “death tax,” Ohio’s estate tax has been around for more than 40 years. Now is certainly the time to right a wrong and put this unfair tax six feet under.

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Repealing this tax may hurt some local governments because, as it is currently structured, the state gets 20 percent of the revenue and the other 80 goes to local governments.

Although it varies greatly from community to community and from year-to-year, the tax often generates hundreds of millions in revenue.

The problem is that it is just wrong.

It may only impact the wealthiest citizens, estates worth more than $300,000, but it simply feels un-American to double tax someone simply because they pass away.

All of the “wealth” has been taxed before, either when the income was earned or through property taxes. It is simply not right to tax the same wealth again.

Repealing this tax would certainly impact many local governments but, because it fluctuates so widely and is unpredictable, these funds should have never been part of the budget equation at all.

Ohio’s House, Senate and the governor will likely have a number of points to hammer out before a final budget is adopted by July 1.

Hopefully repealing the estate tax is a point on which all will agree.