2012 GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has no love for the Obama administration’s proposed “Buffett rule,” which seeks to ensure that the wealthy can’t pay lower taxes than the middle-class. “Class warfare like some members of the administration want to do is simply the wrong way to go,” Romney said on Fox News.
Part of Romney’s problem in opposing the Buffett rule is that it likely applies to him. An analysis of publicly available data by Citizens for Tax Justice found that Romney’s tax rate is likely 14 percent, far below the statutory rate for someone who earns as much as he does. Seeing Romney’s full tax return could provide a more complete picture of his tax situation, but so far, he hasn’t committed to releasing it:
The financial disclosure forms Romney filed during his 2008 presidential run showed the former Massachusetts governor was worth as much $250 million at the time. But Romney has never released any tax returns — neither during his campaigns for president and Senate nor during his time as governor — and would not commit to doing so this time around.
But in 1994, Romney vigorously called for then Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) to release his tax returns, in order to prove that he had “nothing to hide”:
With the tax-filing deadline looming, Republican Senate candidate Mitt Romney yesterday challenged Sen. Edward M. Kennedy to disclose his state and federal taxes to prove he has ‘nothing to hide,’ but another GOP rival, John R. Lakian, called Romney’s move ‘bush league’ ‘It’s time the biggest-taxing senator in Washington shows the people of Massachusetts how much he pays in taxes,” said Romney, a business consultant from Belmont. Romney said he would disclose his own state and federal taxes for the last three years ‘on the very day that Kennedy turns over his taxes for public scrutiny.’ [Boston Globe, 4/19/94]
Eight years later, during his successful gubernatorial campaign, Romney played the same game, calling for his Democratic opponent to release her husband’s tax returns, even when he hadn’t released his own:
At the moment, however, Mr. Romney is trying to have it both ways. On April 16, he lambasted his most likely Democratic foe, Shannon O’Brien who discloses her tax return for filing separately from her husband who does not. The husband is Emmett Hayes, a former state representative and until recently a Beacon Hill lobbyist. One of Mr. Hayes’s clients was Enron. Mr. Romney is in high dudgeon that Ms. O’Brien hasn’t released Mr. Hayes’s tax forms with her own. ‘Her hands aren’t clean!’ he says…If Romney & Healey, who are candidates, won’t release their tax forms, they have no business demanding that Mr. Hayes, who isn’t a candidate, do so. [Editorial, Providence Journal Bulletin, 5/9/02]
Romney’s overall net worth is roughly $190-$250 million.