Testimony: Increasing the Estate Tax Exclusion Amount (LD 802)


Testimony in Support of LD 802: “An Act to Increase the Maine Exclusion Amount for Estate Tax Exemptions”

Senator Grohoski, Representative Perry, and the distinguished members of the Committee on Taxation, my name is Nick Murray and I serve as director of policy for Maine Policy Institute. We are a free market think tank, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that advocates for individual liberty and economic freedom in Maine. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on LD 802.

LD 802 would raise the amount of an estate at which the tax is levied to $12 million, up from $5.6 million currently, starting with those who pass away this year and beyond. Maine is in danger of a flattening population which is getting progressively older on average–it’s not a trajectory of growth.

Only 12 states levy an estate tax at all. This alone creates a discrepancy where elderly Americans are more likely to relocate before death in order to save their family from unwanted confiscation of inheritance from the government.

Tax flight is a real thing. A 2015 report by The Heritage Foundation noted that individuals whose estates are likely going to be “partially confiscated” at death are moving to other states to avoid the burden. The states which saw the greatest in-migration during and after the pandemic were the lowest-taxed states, whereas, the states which lost population (New York, California, Illinois), are among the highest-taxed. This is not a coincidence.

If a decedent owns land such as a family farm and cannot relocate before passing, they are subject to the whims of politicians who are greedy to take more of their citizens’ wealth. They could preemptively sell their property to liquidate it and make it easier to move out-of-state. Oftentimes, only the rich have the financial wherewithal to accomplish this tax haven do-si-do. 

Please deem LD 802 “Ought To Pass” and protect more Mainers’ wealth from the unjust death tax. Thank you for your time and consideration.