Regarding your editorial on Maryland's historically black colleges and universities, U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake's recent ruling on the issue is an opportunity for the state to help its HBCUs garner the resources they need to succeed ("Maryland HBCU case: A ruling without remedies," Oct. 13).

The larger question is, how can the state remedy this situation without burdening Maryland taxpayers?

Building larger endowments at HBCUs is the only sustainable strategy to reduce dependency on state appropriations. Since Maryland and New Jersey are the only states in the country to have separate state inheritance and estate taxes, lawmakers should consider a special inheritance tax credit for death-bed gifts to college endowments.

This may help jump-start school capital campaigns at the state's HBCUs that are needed to build college endowments.

Mark M. Spradley, Chevy Chase