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Advocates argue over higher estate tax limit

ALBANY — Supporters of a proposal to raise New York’s estate tax threshold above $1 million say it would help thousands of homeowners, farmers and small business owners and not just the super-wealthy.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to increase New York’s exemption threshold on estate taxes from $1 million to the federal level, now at $5.34 million. He also would reduce the tax rate from 16 percent to 10 percent over four years.

Opponents have said Cuomo’s estate tax plan would amount to a giveaway to the rich.

But Empire Center President E.J. McMahon said Monday it’s not unusual for households to have assets of more than a million, given current home values. The Empire Center estimates that about 3,600 estates annually would be spared the tax under the governor’s plan.