COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican state lawmakers on Tuesday started their push to do away with Ohio's tax on money and possessions left after death — a priority of the new Ohio governor and House Speaker.

Reps. Cheryl Grossman and Jay Hottinger introduced a bill Tuesday to repeal the estate tax, which they argue drives people away from the state. They say they have one Democrat, Rep. Mark Okey of Carrollton, backing the plan so far.

Hottinger, a Newark Republican, said the tax leads to successful Ohioans taking their lucrative estates to other states before they die.

"You know, warm weather and golf are not the only reasons that there is a significant exodus of Ohioans to states like Florida and other places," Hottinger said.

Ohio requires the tax on estates worth more than $338,333 before distribution to heirs or other beneficiaries. The House bill would eliminate that tax for people dying on or after Jan. 1 of this year.

How much people currently pay depends on their wealth.

A credit worth up to $13,900 is available to all estates. For estates valued between $338,333 and $500,000, the tax is 6 percent of the amount over $338,333. For estates worth more than $500,000, the tax is $9,700 plus 7 percent of the amount over $500,000.

Eighty percent of the money from the tax goes to local governments, which have strongly opposed any changes.

In the fiscal year that ended in June, local governments' coffers got $230.8 million from the tax.

John Mahoney, deputy director of the Ohio Municipal League, has said the cities would have no way to make up the money.

"It pulls the rug out from underneath a whole lot of local governments," he said.

Grossman, a Grove City Republican, said local governments wouldn't feel the effect of the repeal for two years. She expects job growth will help them make up some of the difference.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation said it supports eliminating the estate tax because the organization says it can cause the loss or breakup of family farms.

The tax isn't a large source of revenue for Ohio, which gets the remaining 20 percent.

The state took in about $55 million from the tax last fiscal year. That's about one-third of 1 percent of overall tax revenue the state received.

Both Republican Gov. John Kasich and House Speaker Bill Batchelder have said they support getting rid of the estate tax.

Batchelder, a Medina Republican, told reporters Tuesday the estate tax could be worked into the budget plan the lawmakers must pass if the repeal doesn't get passed as a separate measure.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.