Delaware Public Media

Senators okay corporate tax hike, estate tax repeal

Jun 15, 2017

State lawmakers have officially signed off on about half the new tax revenue floated by Gov. John Carney (D) in his proposed budget.

The world’s largest companies will pay a bit more each year to incorporate in Delaware, raising about $115 million annually.

In return, lawmakers also repealed Delaware’s estate tax, levied on those who die with a net worth of about $5.5 million or more.

Sen. Colin Bonini (R-Dover South) says he’s glad to see the estate tax go.

“The whole idea of taxing someone when they die simply because, ‘Oh there’s a lot of money there. Let’s go get it,” just bothers me,’” Bonini said.

Republicans argue the wealthy have fled Delaware since the General Assembly added the estate tax in 2009, taking a host of other taxable income with them.

Lawmakers implemented the estate tax to overcome a historic budget shortfall, but then made it permanent a few years later over the objections of the GOP.

Sen. Bryan Townsend (D-Newark) sat on a task force that in 2015 recommended dumping the estate tax, but only along with raising a handful of business taxes. He voted against repealing the estate tax, noting the plan should have been voted on as a whole.

“I just think an outright repeal, particularly in the current fiscal climate and with so much economic inequality is just morally troubling. It’s fiscally unsound,” Townsend said.

Senate Pro Tem David McBride (D-Hawks Nest) and Majority Whip Nicole Poore (D-New Castle) voted against the bill.

That could potentially complicate relations with the GOP, who are needed to pass a proposed personal income tax increases.

The corporate and estate tax bills now head to Carney’s desk for his signature.