by Fergus Hodgson
Director of Fiscal Policy Studies
The Civitas Institute’s latest poll ought to give comfort to anyone seeking to eliminate North Carolina’s death (estate) tax. An overwhelming majority of likely voters in the state—two thirds—oppose it. In fact, only 25 percent of the 600 individuals surveyed either somewhat or strongly support the death tax.
The tax goes up to 16 percent on assets over $5 million, and that is on top of the federal government’s 35 percent death tax. This revenue stream has declined in recent years, to a projected $64 million in fiscal year 2012. That equates to just 0.3 percent of the state’s general fund revenue, so not only is the tax politically viable, it would not harm state revenues in a substantial way. At the same time, its elimination would reverse the disproportionately destructive impacts.
Brian Balfour of Civitas had this to say:
“Voters across North Carolina widely recognize the inherent immorality of turning revenue department officials into grave robbers. Hopefully, state lawmakers will recognize the near-universal opposition to the state death tax and act to end this gruesome practice.”
I wouldn’t go so far as to say the opposition is near-universal or call the practice gruesome, but you get the idea.