A bill that passed the state House would eliminate a so-called "death tax" for children age 21 or younger who inherit a parent's property.

The legislation had the support of all York County legislators when it passed 194-1 last week, but there's competing legislation in the Senate, where it's waiting in the finance committee.

Introduced by Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar, R-Somerset/Bedford, the bill would scrap the 4.5 percent tax placed on property transfers to or for the use of a child 21 years or younger from a natural parent, adoptive parent or stepparent.

The 4.5 percent tax rate would remain for older children.

Metzgar said it's sad that people "pay taxes on property all of their lives and end up being hit again for an additional tax upon the death of a family member, which to me, has always been unconscionable.

"It is certainly even more hideous when you talk about property to be used for an underage child. There is no reason why this should not receive swift consideration," he said.

Reps. Seth Grove, R-Dover, and Will Tallman, R-Hanover, were co-sponsors.

Unlikely to support: But Sen. Rob Teplitz, D-York and Dauphin, said he's not likely to support the legislation because it's "too broad" in scope.


A member of the committee in which the bill is waiting, Teplitz said carving out an exception for one population of people contributes to revenue shortfalls and an eventual tax increase for the people who weren't cut a break.

Teplitz is a co-sponsor of a Senate bill that narrows the exception only to children who are disabled and eligible to receive Social Security family benefits based on either parent's earnings record.

"We need to make sure we have good reasons for exemptions," he said. "Disabled chil-

dren could have more difficulties supporting themselves."

Written by Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, the bill was also co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Waugh, R-Shrewsbury, and Richard Alloway, R-Adams, Franklin, and York counties.

Another view: While Teplitz said the House legislation is too broad, Waugh said he's in favor of eliminating the tax for as many people as possible.

"I've always been an advocate for doing away with (inheritance tax) period for blood, kin or any immediate family connection," he said. "Whether they're 21 or 45, I don't care."

Farmsteads were exempted from inheritance tax, and Waugh said carving out exceptions group-by-group might be the only way to eventually eliminate the tax for all family members.

"Last week, I heard about a family where the grandparents died and the heirs accepted the property and were faced with a tax bill that would gobble up almost all the proceeds until you get it all said and done," he said.

Though revenue would be lost, Waugh said the benefits to relatives who get to keep a family property outweigh the liability.

"(Lost revenue) is just something that we always have to deal with," he said.

-- Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.