The bill was spearheaded by Frederick County Delegate Kathy Afzali.
The Farm Estate Tax Bill, which was spearheaded by Frederick County Delegate Kathy Afzali, during the last two sessions of the Maryland General Assembly, will be signed into law by Governor Martin O'Malley Tuesday morning.
Delegate Afzali, who worked diligently to defend family-owned farms, said many people told her that she would not be able to get this bill through. "The session before this, I some how, through the grace of God, was able to get the Governor on board, and this year we got it passed," said Afzali. The Family Preservation Act of 2012 exempts agriculture properties from the Estate Tax up to $5.0 million. To qualify for the exemption, the property must pass from a decedent to a qualified recipient who enters into an agreement that the property will be used for farming purposes for at least 10 years.
"Frederick County is the number one milk producer in the entire state of Maryland and that makes this legislation huge for farmers in this area," continued Afzali.
The bill also reduces the current estate tax rate from 16% to 5% for farms valued over $5.0 million.
In a press release Afzali stated "My heart is in my throat. This issue has been my passion since my original campaign in 2010. I am thrilled that I was able to build a bi-partisan coalition of Delegates and Senators who understood the importance of preserving family farms. Although the Governor and I don't always agree, I believe he has shown great leadership in this regard and I congratulate him on helping champion the issue."
Delegate Afzali will be in Annapolis at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday for the bill signing with farmers from various jurisdictions.