This is a very interesting development. Mitt Romney has said that he does not intend to release his tax returns publicly even if he wins the Republican nomination, as all candidates have done for a very long time.
Mr. Romney made the statement in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday, but the network did not show that part of the interview. Mr. Romney, a multimillionaire who made his fortune running a private equity firm, was asked whether he planned to release his tax return.
“I doubt it,” Mr. Romney said, according to a transcript of the interview provided by NBC News. “I will provide all the financial info, which is an extraordinary pile of documents which show investments and so forth.”
“But you won’t do the tax returns?” asked Chuck Todd, host of “The Daily Rundown.”“I don’t intend to release the tax returns. I don’t,” Mr. Romney responded…
Throughout his political career, Mr. Romney has refused to release his personal tax returns. During his 1994 Senate campaign in Massachusetts, Mr. Romney challenged the incumbent, Edward M. Kennedy, a Democrat, to release his tax returns — though Mr. Romney did not release his own.
Mr. Todd asked Mr. Romney about that during the interview on Wednesday.
“I never say never,” Mr. Romney said, but added, “I don’t intend to do so.”
The reason for this seems obvious. Nearly all his income likely comes from investments, which means they get taxed at the 15% rate rather than at the top rate of 35%. For a man worth as much as $250 million, the fact that he pays a lower tax rate than a typical working person in this country would be a big problem for his campaign. But I suspect it will be anyway.