Former Florida Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush released more than three decades of tax returns Tuesday afternoon, seeking to present a contrast in transparency among himself and other past and present contenders for the White House.
His returns, which were posted on the campaign’s website, show he paid an average effective tax rate of 36%. He noted that this was higher than Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who had an effective tax rate of about 30% in 2014, “even though I earned less income.”
In a statement along with the release, Bush said his tax records show the need for a comprehensive reform of the tax code.
“In the spirit of transparency, this release will show voters how I earned a living over the past three decades and how much of that living I paid in taxes to the federal government,” Bush said.
“Like most Americans, I know it is time for a flatter, fairer tax code. The labyrinth of rules and special interest carve outs need to go. One thing you can count on if I’m president is that it will finally be addressed. It’s critical if we are going to ensure more people have a chance at earned success.”
Bush also released a chart that displayed his disclosure as the most comprehensive of any recent presidential candidate:
The release is intended to provide a contrast with Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee. Bush’s release came just hours before the State Department is set to make public thousands of Clinton’s emails from her time as secretary of state, under an order from a federal judge.
But it also presents a different approach from that of Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee. His refusal for a long time to release any returns — in the end, he relented and released two years of returns — was used by the Obama campaign as a key point of attack. It also could serve to insulate him from those types of attacks, since he paid a much higher effective tax rate. In 2014, records show, Bush paid 40% of his income in taxes, almost triple Romney’s 2011 rate.
Bush’s net worth currently is between $US19 million and $US22 million, according to his campaign.
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