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Pennsylvania's Inheritance Tax ... it's illogical, unconstitutional and should be abolished
Pittsburgh Tribune Review ^ | March 24, 2002 | C.J. Durkin

Posted on 04/03/2002 5:28:07 AM PST by Dukie

Edited on 04/13/2004 2:02:28 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

With the calendar page soon turning to April, we once more visit the days when we pause and reflect, mostly in head shaking disbelief, at the amount of our labor is which is appropriated by way of income taxes. While the sage once remarked on the certainty of death and taxes, he may not have appreciated the linkage of these phenomenon in the form of Pennsylvania’s inheritance tax law.


(Excerpt) Read more at pittsburghlive.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Government; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: constitutionallaw; taxes; taxreform
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To: RayBob
Thanks for your kind words and observations concerning the banks' role in compliance, Ray.

(Word of caution: don't put your assets in someone else's box- you'll regret it (there's a sexual inuendo in there somewhere)

LOL ROTF !

What gets me Ray is the requirement that the spouse to make the report via the tax return even when no tax is owed.

I asked Tim Murphy to address these matters several weeks ago without reply as yet.

41 posted on 04/03/2002 6:49:40 AM PST by Dukie
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To: xsmommy
My sympathies to you on your loss, xsmommy. My own interest in the topic was focused by the same occurrence, coincidently in December too.
42 posted on 04/03/2002 6:54:38 AM PST by Dukie
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To: Dukie
sympathies back to you, then, dukie. never having had this experience before, i had no idea that inheritance taxes did not exist in all states. my father did a living trust, so we avoided most of the tax, but still the process is laborious.
43 posted on 04/03/2002 6:57:25 AM PST by xsmommy
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To: xsmommy;Dukie
The death tax and Allegheny County's ridiculously high property taxes are but two reasons I want my mother to leave Pa. If she lived in my county, just over the Pa. line, she'd save (rough estimate) at least 70 percent in property taxes alone. Of course, we don't have any doctors - thanks to the medical malpractice insurance "crisis" - in W.Va., so there is a bit of a trade-off.
44 posted on 04/03/2002 7:00:29 AM PST by mountaineer
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To: AGreatPer; MurryMom; pittsburghGOPguy
A local matter for your consideration
45 posted on 04/03/2002 7:01:05 AM PST by Dukie
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To: mountaineer
my father would never have budged from his home in Westmoreland Co!
46 posted on 04/03/2002 7:03:51 AM PST by xsmommy
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To: xsmommy; mountaineer
I believe that the PA legislature - all 250 of them and the highest paid in the nation - see such inertia as reason to let things continue. The state is dying as a result of the tax & business climate.
47 posted on 04/03/2002 7:13:26 AM PST by Dukie
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To: mombonn
A local issues bump fyi
48 posted on 04/03/2002 7:16:20 AM PST by Dukie
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To: Dream Weaver
You're a keystone stater aren't you ?
49 posted on 04/03/2002 7:18:56 AM PST by Dukie
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Comment #50 Removed by Moderator

To: Dukie
I'm definitely not about to defend death taxes, as they are one of the most repugnant creatures known to man, but I do have to take issue with the author's reliance on the "equal protection" clause of the USC. Of all the provisions within the Constitution, that one has been just about the most abused - and abused in such a way as to cause the most abuse of power. "Protection" of the laws simply means that if someone violates your rights, he will be punished. "Equal" protection means that he will be punished regardless of whether you're black, white, indigo, immigrant, criminal fugitive, whatever. It does not say that all laws must oblige everyone equally. Child labor laws, indecent exposure laws (which vary according to gender), legal qualifications for drivers' and other licenses - all these operate on some people differently than others without serious challenge, and in any case do not conflict with the phrase, "equal protection of the laws".
51 posted on 04/03/2002 7:34:27 AM PST by inquest
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To: Dukie; all
The reference to the fourth amendment is interesting. It's something that's been rattling around in my brain for a long time: Does it not violate the 4th to have inspections for various types of health and safety codes, such as a building inspection whenever someone wants to sell his house? It seems like challenging it would open up a whole new can o' worms, and yet, I can't see exactly how to justify these practices.
52 posted on 04/03/2002 7:49:23 AM PST by inquest
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To: inquest
Thanks for your input, inquest. The examples you cite all relate to some objective criteria concerning the law's applicability. Driving and child labor laws are based upon attainment of a certain age as indicative of physical ability and responsibility. The same with airman's certificates and physical performance standards for positions in public safety occupations. What the author is questioning here is the relation ship based rates which are discriminatory along the same lines as would be the case if tax rates were age or race based.
53 posted on 04/03/2002 8:06:01 AM PST by Dukie
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To: Dales; Dukie
". . . least favorite types of taxes are . . . "

My least favorite taxes are those that have the word 'tax' as part of their name. ;-)

54 posted on 04/03/2002 8:10:24 AM PST by Badray
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To: Dukie; joanie-f
The tax also smacks of social engineering in that its historical foundation is an attempt to move concentrations of wealth in future generations so as to create, through government dictate, more economic parity.

Hi Dukie! This statement from joanie-f (already posted elsewhere -- hope you don't mind the reprise) nails the single most egregious thing about inheritance taxation in the above italics, IMHO. Yet hardly anybody ever questions this. Somehow or other, we are conditioned to believe that the idea of social engineering in the name of (somebody's strange idea of) "social justice" is just a dandy thing. At least, we don't bother to object.

But think about it!!! In the first place, what is the basis of the assumption that to run wealth through the hands of politicians serves "social justice" any better than to leave that wealth in private hands -- subject to private decision making and market forces? An heir could invest his inheritance profitably, creating economic opportunities for others beyond himself -- jobs. Or he could squander his inheritance altogether -- which has the same effect.

What I want to know is: Who really owns the inherited property? The decedent's estate? The heir? or the government? The surest test of title is who has the power of conversion of the underlying property. If the government -- federal or state -- can force the conversion -- i.e., the sale -- of property to satisfy a tax lien -- and can set the rate of tax unilaterally, and impose it unequally -- then doesn't the government effectively own it? I mean, they might let you keep a bit of what you thought was yours. Well isn't that nice.

Then you've got to wonder -- where is the constitutional authority for the government to treat people differently? I thought we were a system of equal justice under law, not a system of equal results determined by a rule of men. The government has absolutely zero constitutional warrant/authority to be in the so-called "social justice" business, which necessarily involves discriminating among citizens and classifying them into groups, for the purpose of advantaging some and disadvantaging others. But the government cannot legitimately be in the business of picking winners and losers, and trying to deliver certain outcomes. It's in the "means business," not the "ends business."

Glad to encourage folks who see inheritance taxation as the nightmare it really is -- constitutionally, economically -- especially when they do it as well as you have done. Why a free people puts up with this sort of thing is beyond my understanding. All my best, bb.

55 posted on 04/03/2002 8:16:52 AM PST by betty boop
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To: inquest
Does it not violate the 4th to have inspections for various types of health and safety codes, such as a building inspection whenever someone wants to sell his house?

I believe one can refuse to admit the property assessor on such grounds, but then if one appeals the valuation, the only way to get your appeal heard may be to submit to such inspection.

As regards to inspections related to the exchange of real estate, since borrowed money is usually involved, the lender may make them a requirement for the mortgage. However between two willing parties and particularly without 3rd party government ( FHA, etc. ) financing, it seems the governments have no legitimate role in placing conditions on the sale.

56 posted on 04/03/2002 8:18:08 AM PST by Dukie
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To: Badray; shethink13
Hey Ray ! I'll see you this evening !

shethink, what do 'youthink' of this ?

57 posted on 04/03/2002 8:22:43 AM PST by Dukie
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To: Dukie
I know I'm walking into a mine field, but this is a real sticking point for me. The 14th amendment makes no distinction between race-based, age-based, relationship-based, or ability-based criteria. It also contains no escape clause for "compelling state interest", in the words of that thoroughly obnoxious phrase that judges love to use (and which in my opinion should be viewed as them signing their own impeachment warrants): Either it's prohibited or it's not prohibited, regardless of how "legitimate" the reason might seem.

I don't mean to be harping on you at all, it's just the system that I'm frustrated with. I have a real problem with judges who make up the law as it feels convenient to them.

58 posted on 04/03/2002 8:26:24 AM PST by inquest
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To: betty boop
Why a free people puts up with this sort of thing is beyond my understanding.

Why, it's because we're a "democracy", so it must be OK! The ulimate wolf in sheep's clothing.

59 posted on 04/03/2002 8:32:57 AM PST by inquest
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To: Dukie; mountaineer
Ahhh, you put my name next to MurryMom. Ahhhhh again.

mountaineer, you don't have any hospitals that I would go to either in your state.

Good article Dukie, thanks.

60 posted on 04/03/2002 8:46:45 AM PST by AGreatPer
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