By Bob Katzen

The Senate 5-33, rejected an amendment that would increase from $1 million to $5 million the amount of money that is exempt from the value of a person’s estate from the state’s estate/death tax that a person is required to pay following their death before distribution to any beneficiary. The increase to $5 million would be implemented over ten years.

Most Republicans are against any such tax and coined the name “death tax” to imply that the government taxes you even after you die. Most Democrats support the tax and call it an “estate tax” to imply that this tax is only paid by the wealthy.

“You work hard and earn money, it’s taxed,” said amendment sponsor Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton). “You save and invest your money, it’s taxed. You spend your money, it’s taxed. You own property, it’s taxed. Only in Massachusetts and Oregon, after working your whole life, do you get taxed at the highest rate in the country after your death. My amendment sought to shed the ‘Taxachusetts’ mentality … Our residents should want to spend their golden years in Massachusetts, but our tax policy makes it unaffordable to die in Massachusetts. Middle and upper-middle-class families should not have to worry about the government taking what they have worked so hard for future generations of their family.”

Amendment opponents said the proposed bill already raises the exemption from $1 million to $2 million and noted that will cost $185 million. They said a hike to $5 million is excessive and unaffordable and will cost hundreds of millions of dollars more. They noted that lowering the estate tax is not the only way to help seniors and their families and noted there are many other initiatives that help seniors.

Senate Ways and Means Chair Sen. Mike Rodrigues (D-Westport) did not respond to repeated requests by Beacon Hill Roll Call asking him to comment on his opposition to the amendment.

(A “Yes” vote is for increasing the exemption to $5 million. A “No” vote is against raising it.)

Sen. Patricia Jehlen No

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