Ohio Gov. John Kasich has signed a budget bill that includes a provision repealing the state’s estate tax.

Kasich, R, signed the 3,262-page, $56 billion House Bill 153 into law Thursday evening.

The bill has created a budget for a 2-year period that starts today.

The estate tax elimination provision in House Bill 153 is set to take effect Jan. 1, 2013.

In addition to eliminating the estate tax, the bill cuts funding for public schools and nursing homes and calls for the state to sell five prisons to private companies.

Ohio residents have been paying about $300 million in state estate taxes per year, and the estate tax applies to estates with as little as $338,333 in assets, according to the American Family Business Institute (AFBI), Washington, a group that is fighting estate taxes at the state and federal level.

The District of Columbia and 21 states other than Ohio now impose an estate tax, the AFBI says.

Dick Patten, the president of the AFBI, testified in the Ohio House and the Ohio Senate in support of estate tax repeal.

“By repealing and not just ‘reforming’ their state estate tax, Ohio has set an example for the 21 other states and the District of Columbia that still impose these onerous taxes,” Patten says in a statement.

Local government officials have argued that the repeal of the estate tax will cut revenue they have been using to pay for public services at a time when the recession already is leading to severe budget cuts.

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