Sue Kerr

PA Legislator Pushes To Abolish State Inheritance Tax for Domestic Partners

Filed By Sue Kerr | May 27, 2012 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Babette Josephs, Daryl Metcalfe, domestic partnership, inheritance tax, Pennsylvania

BabetteJosephs.jpegState Representative Babette Josephs has long been a fierce advocate for Pennsylvania's LGBTQ community. Her latest campaign is legislation introduced in 2011 to exempt domestic partners from the state's onerous 15 percent inheritance task. Stalled in the House Finance Committee, Josephs' legislation faces an uphill battle in a Republican-controlled General Assembly.

Still, Josephs perseveres.

"They might not have any of this: joint liability in a mortgage lease or loan, primary beneficiary under life insurance, a primary beneficiary under the will, a durable power of attorney - I mean, most couples don't have any of that," said Josephs. "You have to show documents. You have to prove commitment."

So, why now? Wednesday also marked the introduction of another woman-hating piece of legislation from the architect of all that is oppressive in PA, State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe. This particular piece of ugly would forbid the Department of Health from funding Planned Parenthood. For anything. Nothing. No screenings. No services. Nothing.

My perception is that Josephs is fighting back, capitalizing on the momentum from President Obama's statement of support for marriage equality. Her legislation is not about redefining any relationship - simply adjusting the tax code to accurately reflect the emotional and financial commitments of couples, both LGBTQ and straight.

A Pennsylvania resident in a committed same-sex relationship made the point that while both are alive, both are legally responsible to pay a shared mortgage. Why should that joint obligation change after the death of one party? If one stopped paying their "half" of the mortgage, the other party would not incur a 15% penalty to continue paying the mortgage.

As a woman who happens to be a lesbian living in Pennsylvania, I appreciate Josephs calling out the state on a form of discrimination that can be resolved. I understand that only 23 states impose this form of taxation. I did not actually know about this legislation when I identified ten active bills that are LGBTQ-positive.

To stay in touch with feisty ally Josephs, follow her on Twitter @BabetteJosephs

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