This is in response to Richard DeLio’s recent column, “This New Jersey (estate) tax is one of the most discriminatory in the country.”
DeLio is right. Here is an anecdotal story:
My husband and I co-own a family shore home originally purchased by his parents in the 1970’s. We owned it with his older brother and his second older brother’s daughter.
In 2017, my husband’s older brother passed away, leaving his percentage to his wife. In 2018, my childless sister-in-law passed away and left her percentage to my husband and niece.
Ignoring a class system that imposes up to 16% tax when the property does not come from a “lineal heir”, we had to pay $92,000 in inheritance tax. We had to borrow from family members to keep this family home by the sea. Our lawyer told me that many families lose homes because they are often left to nonlinear “class C” heirs. who cannot pay the tax.
So we paid the tax. Now my husband and niece each own 50% of the house. If my niece dies—she has no children—the house would be left to my husband, her uncle. And, my husband would have to pay inheritance tax Again at a Class C fare. We were in disbelief and furious when we realized this.
I wrote a letter to Senator Jon Bramnick, R-Union, who was then in the Assembly. He recognized its importance and sponsored a bill (A-3446 at the 2020-2021 session), which would have abolished inheritance tax on transfers of property between family members who are not spouses, children, parents, grandchildren, etc.
Less than a month later, COVID-19 shut down the world. The bill was relegated to the background and never even had a co-sponsor.
This is an important bill for all the reasons DeLio states in his article. I hope our government can do something to right this wrong.
Susan Poage, Berkeley Heights
Maintaining Balance in the US Constitution
A column by Nicholas Goldberg of the Los Angeles Times (“Do you hate the Supreme Court? Our problems actually start with the Constitution,” which was published in the July 17 Star-Ledger) was primarily a criticism of the Constitution.
This letter is written in the spirit of discussion proposed by Goldberg.
There have been many comments that the Constitution is not democratic enough because it does not adhere to the “one person, one vote” mantra. Please stop ignoring the fact that the United States of America is a federation of states. The Constitution reflects this, seeking a balance so that the most populous states do not dominate the others. Good luck trying to change that!
The modification of the Constitution is done by means of amendments. Goldberg thinks having only adopted one “in the past 50 years” is a flaw. But, if anything, it attests to the solidity of the Constitution, a must in these very divisive times.
Fortunately, the Constitution does not allow instantaneous changes as radical as in the United Kingdom. He withdrew from the European Union (BREXIT) on the basis of a simple majority referendum vote. This shows that without American-style constitutional guarantees, a passing event can tilt public opinion at the critical moment of the vote.
Antonio Garcia, Morristown
The diocese’s grave decoration policy is hurting families
I am deeply troubled by the grave decoration policy of the Archdiocese of Newark.
My daughter is resting at Maryrest Cemetery in Mahwah. I went to visit recently and all my decorations have been taken down – again. I had a beautiful wooden statue of Mary that was only 4″ tall. He was resting on the edge of the tombstone. Why would this be removed?
There is nothing in life that compares to the loss of a child.
I had a small space to plant flowers and I placed some shells that my daughter painted when she was little 20 years ago; memories that only a father can cherish. They have also been deleted.
This ridiculous politics wasting my precious time visiting my daughter’s grave. It serves no purpose other than to hurt the families and the memory of deceased loved ones.
What is the state of our Catholic religion if we cannot respectfully honor our loved ones? I’m sure many in our archdiocese feel the same way. I intend to ask them for their opinion.
This archaic policy must be reviewed as soon as possible. I will be happy to join any discussion group of lay members interested in honoring our loved ones in a respectful and meaningful way.
You can delete physical reminders, but you can never delete our memories. It’s time we had a say in how our loved ones are commemorated.
Charles Schnaars, Keyport
Cliffs Notes: Not All “Rich” Are White
In his recent op-ed, “How Jersey’s suburbs created a housing crisis,” Tom Moran uses Englewood Cliffs as his star child for zoning abuses that ban affordable housing to maintain “segregation by race and income. “.
Remarkably, Moran writes, “Englewood Cliffs is a fortress of white wealth,” noting that only 3% of the population is black. Given that in 2019, the population of approximately 5,400 was 44% white and 43% Asian, it looks like Moran is showing his own cultural insensitivity by grouping Asians and whites together.
Maybe he needs to re-read activist Ibram X. Kendi’s book, “How to be an anti-racist.”
Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com.
The Star-Ledger/NJ.com encourages review submissions. bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow us on twitter @NJ_Opinion and on Facebook at Reviews on NJ.com. Get the latest news straight to your inbox. Subscribe to NJ.com newsletters.