On the heels of reports by Vanity Fair and the Associated Press detailing Mitt Romney’s offshore investments in Switzerland, the Caymans and Bermuda, the Obama campaign released a new video featuring on-the-street interviews with people who don’t have offshore investments.
“I wouldn’t have an overseas bank account and I don’t think our next president should have an overseas bank account either,” a man says in the clip.
While others are focused on Facebook’s co-founder’s citizenship-based tax evasion, New York State’s Working Families Party leaped into another loophole debate associated with the profits accumulated from the company going public.
“You’re not gonna Like this. Facebook plans to Like tax loopholes this week — in a big way,” the organizations’ executive director, Dan Cantor, said in an email blast sent to supporters, some of whom may have groaned with the “Like” rhetoric. “And it’ll cost taxpayers billions.”
On Inside City Hall last night, Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney debated GOP Congressman Michael Grimm over taxes and the budget, and while Ms. Maloney contended the current tax system unfairly benefits the wealthy, Mr. Grimm agreed the system is unfair, but went in the opposite direction, saying, “47% of Americans don’t pay any federal taxes. To me, that’s unfair.” He added later that the tax system needs to “broaden the base” to help address the country’s revenue problem.
“The top 1% already pay 40% of all federal taxes, the top 10% pay already pay two thirds,” Mr. Grimm explained, contending efforts to raise taxes on the rich constitutes class warfare. “That’s more than any other industrialized nation in the world. So to say they’re not paying their fair share is just not true.”
In a statement today, however, Mr. Grimm’s Democratic opponent, Mark Murphy, took issue with Mr. Grimm’s tax plan, suggesting the Staten Island Republican is more interested in the economic well-being of “people who buy $1,000 bottles of champagne and lap dances at Scores” than hardworking New Yorkers.
Citing Barack Obama’s effort to raise taxes on the wealthiest, today Wendy Long called on Kirsten Gillibrand to release her taxes for the period of time she has been in the U.S. Senate.”
“What New Yorkers need is a simpler, fairer tax code that strips away loopholes and doesn’t require a battery of tax attorneys to prepare,” said Ms. Long, who is herself an attorney. “The Buffet Rule will simply raise taxes on hard working innovators and job creators, on investors and small family businesses, leaving in place all the complicated loopholes that benefit D.C. connected special interests who are expert in tax avoidance.”
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece and in an interview on CBS This Morning today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg argued President Barack Obama’s economic proposals — as well as those espoused by Republican presidential candidates — are fundamentally unrealistic.
“Over the past year, as the candidates jockeying for the Republican nomination raced to the right, the Obama campaign has sought to re-energize its base by tacking left,” Mr. Bloomberg wrote. “The president not only embraced the frustration expressed by Occupy Wall Street protesters—which was real—but he adopted their economic populism.”
America’s biggest private equity companies have spent millions over the past five years lobbying to keep their tax rates low. Several major private equity firms, including Mitt Romney’s former employer, Bain Capital, have paid for lobbyists to fight for the carried interest tax break, which protects the profits-based compensation that makes up a large portion of private equity executives’ pay from regular tax rates. Carried interest became a hot button issue on the campaign trail when Mr. Romney revealed he pays a tax rate of just about 14.65 percent, in large part due to the low tax rates for carried interest.
With his personal wealth becoming a growing controversy on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney finally heeded repeated calls to release his tax returns this morning. He brought in a team of experts for a conference call with reporters to discuss the data contained in the more than 500 page document dump and defend him against charges his Swiss accounts, investments in Cayman Islands funds and fifteen percent tax rate represent efforts to game the system.
“The 500 some pages being released today include six schedules, 18 forms and 69 statements. It is complicated and it is also fully transparent,” Mr. Romney’s national counsel, Ben Ginsberg, said at the start of the call. ”The returns also reflect that Governor Romney earned his wealth as a highly successful businessman, success that’s created wealth for his family and jobs for around 100,000 Americans. He is very proud of that success.”
Mr. Romney’s returns showed he made approximately $42.5 million in the past two years and paid about $6.2 million in taxes during that same period. Based on his adjusted gross income, Mr. Romney’s average tax rate for the past two years was about 14.65 percent, a hair below what he estimated when he admitted he paid “probably closer to the 15 percent rate” prior to releasing his returns. His rate is also well below the 35 percent rate other earners in the top income tax bracket pay without creative accounting. A tax rate of 15 percent is the same paid by those who make $35,350 or less per year.
There shall be no high-priced or slick television ads for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to tout the new tax rates that his office instituted earlier this month.
Instead, New Yorkers are directed to a website counting down the days, minutes and seconds until the new tax code is in place.
“New Yorkers will be ringing in the new year with the lowest taxes we have had in 58 years,” Governor Cuomo said. “When the lower tax rates for businesses and residents go into effect on January 1, more than four million middle-class New Yorkers will get a tax-break. We hope all New Yorkers will join us in counting down to lower taxes for our State.”
Steve McLaughlin, one of the eight Assemblymen who voted against Governor Cuomo’s tax plan, outlined his opposition in a posting on Facebook. “This bill was a shell game that changed nothing, cut no spending, and increased taxes,” Assemblyman McLaughlin wrote.
Mitt Romney has a lunchtime fundraiser at the Waldorf Astoria today.
A new Quinnipiac poll finds a majority New York voters disapprove of the way Mayor Bloomberg handled the eviction of Zuccotti Park. However, the poll also showed respondents disapprove of the way protesters have conducted themselves and are divided on the NYPD’response to the protests.
GQ interviewed “Governator” Andrew Cuomo, who said he was considered as a potential running mate for Al Gore in 2000. The governor also had a brief moment of zen: “I am fundamentally happy. And I am fundamentally at peace.
According to the New York Post, a tug of war over revenues from a healthcare company merger is holding up the taxi bill.