Yet what have the distinguished men and women of Annapolis produced? A tax break that applies only the wealthiest of Maryland residents — and benefits them only after they are dead, to boot. On Thursday, the Senate approved by a 2-to-1 margin a gradual lowering of the estate tax by raising its exemption, eventually causing it to be tied to the level used by the federal government, which was $5.25 million last year and is raised annually to match inflation. As the House has also approved the move, it's likely to be soon signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley.