March 19, 2011

Group supports doubling exemption to estate tax

Morning Sentinel Staff

STATE HOUSE BUREAU

Americans for Prosperity Maine held a news conference Friday to show their support for Gov. Paul LePage's proposal to increase the estate tax exemption from $1 million to $2 million.

Dan Beck, one of the owners of Moody's Diner in Waldoboro, said they were shocked to learn a few years ago that their family diner was valued at more than $1 million. He said he and his family are by no means wealthy, but that the value of the Moody's name and the potential for a franchise drove it up beyond their expectations.

"Increasing the death tax exemption would be a huge boost to many small Maine businesses," he said.

In his budget address, LePage touted the change as a way to "make it easier to pass a family business to the next generation and to reduce the incentive for moving wealth out of Maine."

Figures from Maine Revenue Services show annually, about 600 estates are taxable under current law. This change would drop that number to about 175 taxable estates each year. If it is included in the two-year budget as proposed, it would take effect Jan. 1, 2013.

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