Republican Mitt Romney, who has faced continuing criticism from political opponents as well as members of his own party over refusing to release more than two years of personal income tax returns, said today he has reviewed records for 10 years and found that he “never paid less than 13 percent.”
Romney and his wife have maintained that opponents are using the issue as a diversion from bigger issues, with Ann Romney saying in television interviews that if the Democrats had more of their tax returns they would only find more to criticize. Romney has released his returns for 2010, which show an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent paid, and has promised to release his 2011 returns when accountants have finished with the extended report. He said today that shows an effective tax rate of “13.6 percent or something like that.”
“I just have to say, given the challenges that America faces – 23 million people out of work, Iran about to become nuclear, one out of six Americans in poverty – the fascination with taxes I’ve paid I find to be very small-minded compared to the broad issues that we face,” the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee said today. “But I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past 10 years. I never paid less than 13 percent. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that. ”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has publicly accused Romney of paying no taxes in some years, citing an unnamed source who told him so. Romney has rebuffed that statement before and again today.
“So I paid taxes every single year,” Romney said. “Harry Reid’s charge is totally false. I’m sure waiting for Harry to put up who it was that told him what he says they told him. I don’t believe it for a minute, by the way. But every year I’ve paid at least 13 percent and if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why the number gets well above 20 percent.”
The Romney’s say they pay 10 percent of their income each year to charities, and the 2010 return reflects that.
Romney said in an interview last week with Bloomberg Businessweek that he shouldn’t have to release taxes because, “I am not a business.”
“We have a process in this country, which was established by law, which provides for the transparency which candidates are required to meet,” he said in that interview. “I have met with that requirement with full financial disclosure of all my investments, but in addition have provided and will provide a full two years of tax returns.”
Julie Hirschfeld Davis contributed from South Carolina.