Romney’s tax problem

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mitt Romney has a tax problem and by that I mean he is running into trouble with two issues: he didn’t pay much tax on his hefty amount of income last year, and he doesn’t want to release his tax returns.

As someone who has run for office, I can appreciate a candidate wanting to keep certain financial details private and out of reach of the public’s knowledge and voting matrix of issues being weighed. However, as a candidate for president of the United States, your tax returns have traditionally been something you part with shortly after filing your taxes in April.

A great concern for Romney is that he doesn’t want the public to see how a wealthy person in America itemizes their taxes to reduce their tax burden when he is running against an incumbent president whose entire campaign is based on pitting the poor against the rich.

Romney is said to have paid only 13.9 percent of his income in federal income taxes. While there is nothing illegal with someone paying less than 15 percent income tax on millions and millions in income, it should come as no surprise that the small tax bill would be made into a main campaign issue by a Democrat opponent in the middle of a recession at a time when millions of Americans are without jobs.

The main problem for Romney isn’t the amount of taxes he paid — it’s the immense amount of annual income he makes. It is easy for an opponent to put him into the fortunate 1 percent and use it against him despite Romney having earned the money during his years at Bain Capital, a topic for a different column.

Recently, there has been an increased cacophony from both sides — mostly the left leaning media — for Romney to release his most recent tax returns. Regardless of what might be in them, Romney needs to release his tax returns. Now. The Republican Party has spent the last four years demanding President Barack Obama’s birth certificate and then discrediting it once the president brought it forth. Therefore, the party of the “Birthers” would be hypocritical to demand transparency of one presidential candidate but not request that same level of transparency from its own.

Let me be clear, I have no problem with someone making lots of money, and I can understand the desire to keep financial details private during a campaign. However, Mitt Romney is not being asked to do anything more than any previous candidate has done and what his own party demanded of President Obama.

The last bite…

Saturday night, Courtney and I went out to eat in New Orleans with two of our closest friends. We decided to go to Jacque-Imos on Oak Street even with an hour-and-45-minute wait. First, the meal started with fried grits topped with a tasso cream sauce and feta cheese. As if that wasn’t good enough, my entrée was the highlight of the meal! I ordered a fried soft shell crab that came to the table standing up (literally) on top of a stack of fried green tomatoes and seafood stuffing! I give Jacque-Imo’s fried grits and standing fried soft shell crab 5 out of 5 crumbs!

Buddy Boe, a resident of Garyville, owns a public relations and program management company and is well known on the local political (and food) scenes. His column appears Wednesdays in L’Observateur.