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News Opinion Readers Respond

High estate tax has a cost [Letter]

Your editorial, "The $431 million payoff" (March 24), misses the point. Folks who worked hard, invested well and have accumulated an estate that may be free from federal estate tax but subject to Maryland's estate and inheritance taxes will be asking themselves whether they would prefer their remaining assets go solely to their children and grandchildren upon their deaths or whether they would like Maryland to share in those assets as well.

I can't speak for others but I know what my answer would be. There are options. They include changing domicile to Florida or Delaware for starters. There could be 10 to 15 years between retirement and the death of a surviving spouse.

While the $431 million may reflect the estate taxes someone estimates will not be paid if this bill is signed, this ignores the fact that wealthy folks did not generally get that way by accident. They are not chickens waiting to get plucked. They will retire elsewhere and take with them not only the illusory $431 million that will not be paid in estate taxes but the income and sales taxes that would otherwise be paid to the state during that decade or more as well.

Howard Levinton, Pikesville

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