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Estate tax repeal wins approval of House panel

North Carolina is moving to eliminate its estate tax under legislation that won approval along party lines in a House committee Wednesday.

Republican state Rep. Edgar Starnes, the House GOP leader, said the state tax on the value of estates upon death is "an economic policy that just punishes people because they are trying to save things." But Democrats countered that it only applies to the most wealthy and provides needed revenue for state programs.

The state tax applies to estates with a value over $5.25 million or $10.5 million for a married couple. The rate starts at 0.8 percent and increases to 16 percent for the largest estates.

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