There is a perfectly reasonable case to be made that, for reasons of efficiency and competitiveness, Maryland should couple its estate tax system to the federal government's. But there are reasonable cases to be made that lots of things should be changed in the state's tax code, and it's perplexing that the General Assembly picked the one that affects only the wealthiest 3 percent of Marylanders -- and only after they're dead. The closest thing to an offsetting tax policy the legislature enacted this year to help the lower 97 percent was a slight expansion of the refundable earned income tax credit, but it is on a different scale of magnitude from the estate tax change. The tax credit for the poor will cost the state about $57 million over the next five years, but raising the estate tax exemption from $1 million to, eventually, about $6 million will cost four times as much.
Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun