Sunbury officials have a little while longer until they have to deal with revenue shortages caused by the elimination of the estate tax.

Sunbury officials have a little while longer until they have to deal with revenue shortages caused by the elimination of the estate tax.

Though the Ohio House of Representatives has been considering legislation that would end the tax, it's expected to do it gradually, phasing out the tax starting in 2013.

Ohio has the lowest estate tax exemption in the United States. Just $338,333 of the taxable estate is exempt from the estate tax, compared to an average exemption amount of about $1.7-million for other states that have one, state officials have said.

State Rep. Andy Brenner, who is cosponsoring the repeal bill, said he knew there would be some sort of compromise.

"I think that's giving consideration to local governments," he said of the 2013 timetable.

Brenner said from a moral standpoint, he doesn't think the state should tax estates. The estate tax could influence someone's decision to do business within the state, he said, saying Ohio needs to once again become competitive.

Brenner also called the estate tax unreliable.

"You can't budget for it," he said, saying the tax is not a large part of most budgets.

The estate tax was 4.1 percent of Sunbury's general fund budget in 2010, said village administrator Dave Martin.

Martin said the village would more than likely look at spending cuts to make up for the difference rather than asking for a tax increase.

Still, the additional time until the proposed bill would begin makes it difficult for the council to predict where they'll be financially, Martin said.

"You can't really tell till it gets here," Martin said.

Mayor Len Weatherby said that 5 to 8 percent of village revenue comes from the estate tax.

"The loss of this revenue would have a major impact on our village revenues," Weatherby said.

The bill would have to pass in the House and the Senate and go through a conference committee before the governor sees it.

Brenner said the House is waiting to make a decision on the bill until Gov. John Kasich delivers the state budget by March 15.

"It's going to be a tough budget; I think everyone knows that," Brenner said.

Brenner also said that the local government fund could be a part of the governor's budget bill.

"Every indication is that local government funding is going to be cut," he said.

Martin said the local government fund was 3.9 percent of Sunbury's budget in 2010.

-- Jeff Donahue contributed to this story.