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Opinion

Elimination of estate tax nurtures business growth

2/14/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Anthony DeVitis

Guest Column

During tough economic times, there is nothing better than hearing that a tax on Ohioans is being eliminated. The Ohio Estate Tax, also known as the chilling “death tax,” officially expired on Dec. 31, 2012, at midnight. The repeal brings an end to a very burdensome and unnecessary tax for the residents of Ohio, which will likely result in more capital and business opportunities for our great state.

The estate tax in Ohio dates back to 1893. Before the recent repeal, when an individual died, his or her estate was taxed. Despite Ohio having a low tax rate, only the first $338,333 of the estate was exempt from the estate tax, making it the lowest exemption amount in the United States. The average estate tax exemption total for other states was $1.7 million. This singled out Ohio as unfavorable in a competitive business climate and was especially harmful for middle class homeowners, family businesses and farmers.

The tax additionally had a hand in driving out retirees who found more temperate weather and tax laws in other states. More than 230,000 taxpayers between 1993 and 2008 left Ohio because of out-migration. Businesses also, when given the choice, may not have chosen Ohio for their home base due to the less than favorable estate tax. Investing and savings decreased as well. Having such a burdensome tax on small businesses meant slower productivity, lower wages and fewer jobs. We want Ohio to be business-friendly, and we need our successful small businesses to stay in our state. This helps the economy improve and creates much needed jobs for our citizens.

Many Ohioans supported the elimination of the estate tax when it was included as part of a provision in the state operating budget in 2011. Citizens United to End Ohio’s Estate Tax collected 83,000 petition signatures between April and October in 2010 to highlight the importance of abolishing the tax.

I’m eager to witness how the official repeal of this tax will affect Ohio. I’m positive it will make us more welcoming to new and viable businesses and will also allow us to nurture those small businesses we so proudly embrace.

 

State Rep. Anthony DeVitis (R-District 36), who is a Green resident, may be reached by calling 614-466-1790, emailing Rep36@ohiohouse.gov or writing to: state Rep. Anthony DeVitis, 77 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215.

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