March 24, 2014

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Governor Cuomo,

We are encouraged by your budget, which calls for increasing the New York estate tax exemption from $1 million to match the federal estate tax exemption at $5.34 million and lowering the top tax rate from 16 percent to 10 percent. This change is much-needed relief for small business owners and individuals in New York who are currently forced to grapple with one of the most burdensome state death taxes in the country.

New York is currently one of only 19 states that impose an additional tax at death.

Forbes recently listed New York as a place “Not to Die” in 2014 because of its high death tax. New York’s low estate tax exemption of $1 million and high rate of 16 percent make it one of the most confiscatory in the country. In New York, even a middle-income family with a modest home and retirement savings can easily surpass the $1 million exemption. A New York resident could move only a few states away to New Hampshire or to any of the 32 states that don’t tax death to avoid a state death tax altogether.

Your proposed reform of the estate tax comes at a critical time, as states have been moving quickly in recent years to eliminate or reduce the burden of their death taxes. In the past four years, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee have all eliminated their state death taxes. This year, Maryland and Minnesota are both moving to increase their state estate tax exemptions.

In order to remain competitive, New York would be best served by fully eliminating their state death tax. Simply put: death should not be a taxable event. It makes no sense to force a grieving family to pay a tax on their loved one’s property. Increasing the New York estate tax exemption and lowering the rate is a step in the right direction towards this end.

Your proposal to reform New York’s estate tax is a common sense improvement that will help grow New York’s economy by keeping business owners, workers, and retirees in the state. We look forward to working with you this month to see this important policy change through.


Jim Martin
60 Plus Association

Palmer Schoening
Executive Director
Family Business Coalition

Jim Rowland
Executive Vice President
Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America

Douglas K. Woods
AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology

Joshua Reap
Director of Government Affairs
ABC, Empire State Chapter

Ralph Bombardiere
Executive Director
New York Association of Service Stations & Repair Shops, Inc

Ed Orlet
Vice President of Government Affairs
National Association of Electrical Distributors

Jonathan Melchi
Director of Government Affairs
Heating, Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI)

Jay Perron
Vice President, Government Relations and Public Policy
International Franchise Association

Christian A. Klein
Vice President of Government Affairs and Washington Counsel
Associated Equipment Distributors

Paul Fiore
Director, Government Affairs
Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association

Dan Hilton
Director of Government Relations
American Supply Association

Kirk McCauley
Service Station Dealers of America and Allied Trades (SSDA-AT)

Will Brown
Government Relations Manager
National Utility Contractors Association

Daniel Fisher
Vice President Legislative Affairs
Aeronautical Repair Station Association

Marta Gates
Director of Operations
WMDA Service Station & Automotive Repair Association

J. Barry Epperson
General Counsel
Associated Wire Rope Fabricators

Scott Jones
Forest Landowners Association

Roy Littlefield
Executive Vice President
The Tire Industry Association

Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform

Brandon Arnold
Vice President of Government Affairs
National Taxpayers Union

Tim Phillips
Americans for Prosperity

Tom Schatz
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Lawson Bader
Competitive Enterprise Institute

Harry Alford
President, CEO
National Black Chamber of Commerce

John Tate
Campaign for Liberty

Andrew Moylan
Senior Fellow
R Street Institute

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