Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Death Tax Now a Part of Ohio History

Guest Column from State Representative Jim Buchy

A few weeks ago, while people around the world counted down the end of 2012, around here the celebration could have been counting down the elimination of Ohio’s death tax.

The estate tax, or “death tax,” in Ohio dates back to the late 19th century, when it was first adopted. This regressive and outdated taxing method has become a major impediment to economic growth and has cost companies and family farms a great deal of money, sometimes forcing them out of business. Some local governments even gambled on the death of residents by accounting death tax revenues into their budgets.

In our current economic circumstances, where jobs are the number one priority, the costs incurred on small businesses by way of the estate tax have made it more difficult for them to hire workers and grow the company. Farmers, specifically, often have most of their net worth in hard assets such as buildings and land. When the owner of the property died, the family may be forced to sell a portion of the farm just to pay the estate tax.

In a case like that, the estate tax simply tears down what a private citizen worked so hard to build up. This activity can especially hurt people who live in rural areas like Mercer, Darke, Auglaize and Shelby counties. That is why I was happy to vote in favor of legislation that eliminated the estate tax.

I have always supported the elimination of this harmful tax even before I was first elected to the legislature in 1982. I had no idea I would be waiting more than 30 years to see a bill that deleted this double tax. House Bill 3 was introduced in early 2011. It was amended into the state’s operating budget and passed. With the Governor’s signature the death tax became part of Ohio history and I firmly believe our state will be stronger and more competitive because of it.

Here in west central Ohio we know, agriculture is an industry that defines what Ohio is all about. It is my sincere desire to protect family farms and the small businesses that depend on generational ownership.

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