Combatting rumors that he paid zero taxes for 10 whole years, Mitt Romney spilled the beans on Thursday saying that he paid a tax rate of at least 13 percent on his income over the last decade. “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. So I paid taxes every single year,” he told the press. Happy now, Fourth Estate?
Apparently the rumors surfaced by Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid that an investor at Bain Capital had told him Romney was legally evading taxes finally got to the Romney campaign and they decided to clear things up. This means while the fabulously wealthy GOP candidate wasn't a total tax dodger, he was getting by pretty easy. As the AP notes, a huge swath of much less wealthy Americans pay more than 13 percent in taxes:
The top bracket is 35 percent, applied to taxable income above $388,350. The middle class is commonly seen as falling in the 15 and 25 percent brackets, or couples whose taxable income is between $17,400 and $142,700.
In case you're wondering if this will usher in a new era of Romney campaign transparency, don't hold your breath. Romney said while he'll release his 2011 return, he's not disclosing any more tax information besides 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,” he said.
Update: It looks like Reid isn't satisfied with mere words—he wants to see the actual tax documents. "We'll believe it when we see it," Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson tells Buzzfeed. "Until Mitt Romney releases his tax returns, Americans will continue to wonder what he's hiding. Romney seems to think he plays by a different set of rules than every other presidential candidate for the last thirty years, all of whom lived up to the standard of transparency set by Mitt Romney's father and released their tax returns."