Democrats club Romney with his tax records

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Democratic officials are using Gov. Mitt Romney’s tax records to hammer him in Florida.

Romney’s 2010 records show he paid out 13.9 percent of his income in taxes.

“We appreciate that Mitt Romney is a fabulously wealthy individual,” said Democratic National Committee Executive Director Patrick Gaspard. “There are questions about how he amassed that wealth … [so] it is right for voters in Florida and other states to ask whether Mitt Romney is advocating [tax] principles that benefit him … to the detriment of working Americans.”

For several months, Obama’s campaign deputies have criticized Romney, and largely ignored rival candidates, such as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who they believe would be easier to defeat in the 2012 election. (RELATED: ‘Obama for Gingrich’ memo hits Romney)

“Mitt Romney is against Americans paying their fair share. … Romney doesn’t believe that we all have a responsibility to do our fair share,” said Gaspard, who declined to say what Romney’s “fair share” of taxes would be.

Romney’s 2010 records show he produced nine times as much in taxes and charities as President Barack Obama produced during the same year. Romney produced $6 million in taxes and gifts for his fellow Americans, while Obama only produced taxes and gifts totaling $700,000.

By not releasing 23 years of tax records, Gaspard said, Romney “is continuing to keep those records secrets. … Romney has significant offshore investments [in] famous tax havens … [and] these [2010 records] don’t show how much tax he’s avoiding.”

“I have no treason to doubt the returns are perfectly lawful,” said Ed Kleinbard, a law professor at the University of Southern California, who joined Gaspard during a midday press conference.

But, he added, “is this candidate so personally or financially invested in certain [tax-related] positions that he cannot separate his own position from what is good for the country going forward?”

Their criticisms match Obama’s campaign-trail effort to portray Romney as a out-of-touch elitist, and the same themes will likely be part of this evening’s State of the Union speech.

Romney’s 2010 tax payments amounted to 13.9 percent of his income; Obama’s taxes of $453,770 came to 26 percent of his 2010 income.

Combined, Obama’s taxes and gifts were worth $245,075, and amounted to almost 40 percent of his income; Romney’s combined taxes and gifts added up $6 million, or almost 30 percent of his income.

That combined rate is higher than the percentage of taxes paid by any income group, according to a 2010 report by the bipartisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

The highest rate — 27 percent — is paid by people earning between $200,000 and $500,000, according to the committee’s report, titled “Present Law and Background Data Related to the Federal Tax System In Effect For 2010 and 2011.”

Romney’s tax rate — but not his tax bill — was lower than the rate paid by taxpayers earning between $40,000 and $50,000, according to the report.

However, Romney’s tax record does not show any information about the tax revenue generated by the firms that he helped established when he was working at Bain Capital.

Romney argues that his investments helped create tax-generating jobs for 110,000 people.

Nationally, tax revenue has declined since 2009, when Obama was inaugurated.

In 2008, federal revenues stood at $2.29 trillion. The next year, revenues fell to $1.9 trillion because of an economic downturn. But because of the stalled economy, 2011 revenues were expected to reach only $1.9 trillion — still far below the 2008 level, according to the Tax Policy Center.

During 2010, the federal government also borrowed $1.27 trillion to pay for programs that could not be supported with the $2.38 trillion paid in taxes by Romney and other taxpayers.

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