Supporters of House Bill 3, pending legislation that would repeal Ohio's estate tax, gathered Feb. 16 for a rally at the Ohio Statehouse.

Supporters of House Bill 3, pending legislation that would repeal Ohio's estate tax, gathered Feb. 16 for a rally at the Ohio Statehouse.

If the existing "death tax" is repealed it will allow small business owners, farmers and homeowners to pass on their assets to their heirs without being taxed twice on their life's savings. Supporters of House Bill 3 say the legislation will also make Ohio more competitive for entrepreneurial growth and investment.

The Feb. 16 press conference was attended by members of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Citizens United to End Ohio's Estate Tax.

Assistant House Majority Whip Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) and Rep. Jay Hottinger (R-Newark), co-sponsors of House Bill 3, said the legislation is needed to making Ohio's tax climate a national competitor for jobs, businesses and people.

"Ohio is one of only 17 states that currently impose a death tax on its citizens," Grossman said. "As a result, we've experienced a flood of overtaxed business owners and people leaving our borders and moving into other states that welcome them with open arms. Our state simply has not been doing enough to convey to these people that we want their jobs, their investments and their contributions to our state economy."

Hottinger said the estate tax unfairly targets the middle class.

"For too long, Ohio's estate tax has taken direct aim at our middle class and has contributed to our loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and people," said Hottinger. "House Bill 3 is just one of the ways that we can reinvent how the state of Ohio does business so we can compete in the 21st century economy."

Ohio currently has the lowest estate tax exemption in the United States. Only $338,333 of the taxable estate is exempt from the estate tax, compared to an average exemption amount of approximately $1.7-million for other states that have an estate tax.