ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration is supporting a Republican sponsored bill to reduce Maryland’s estate tax for family farms.

O’Malley had been set to testify in support of the legislation on Thursday, but Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance testified in his place because of a scheduling conflict.

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Hance says the governor recognizes the importance of family farms, not only for agriculture but also to protect the Chesapeake Bay and state lands from too much development.

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The bill, sponsored Republican Delegate Kathy Afzali, of Frederick, would exclude $5 million of the value of qualified
agricultural property from the estate tax.

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