Presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, responding to criticism from Democrats over his refusal to release tax returns from before 2010, said he will publicize his 2011 return when it’s completed.
“The Democrats are always going to be critics,” he said in an interview yesterday on Fox Business Network. “Tax information is there, other financial disclosure is there.”
Romney filed for an extension on his 2011 federal income taxes before the usual April deadline and has until Oct. 15 to complete the return -- less than a month before the Nov. 6 election. Extensions are typical for taxpayers such as Romney with complicated finances.
In January, he released his 2010 return and an estimated return for 2011. For 2010, Romney paid a 13.9 percent effective tax rate on more than $21 million in income, largely because he receives most of his income from capital gains and dividends taxed at preferential rates capped at 15 percent.
Democrats have been calling on Romney to release prior years’ returns, citing the decision by his father, George Romney, to release 12 years of returns during his failed bid for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination.
“Mitt Romney talks about this great family that he comes from, and I acknowledge it is,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said July 10. “But why doesn’t he follow the example set by his father and release his tax returns?”
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor who helped found the Boston-based private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC, is worth as much as $250 million, according to financial documents his campaign has released. President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has targeted Romney’s business background in ads, linking him to the outsourcing of U.S. jobs.
Romney said in yesterday’s interview that voters are tired of “petty” attacks by politicians.
“The president wants to make this a campaign about attacking wealth,” he said. “I want to make this a campaign about helping the middle class.”
Romney declined to discuss his search for a vice presidential nominee.
“If I did,” he said, “I would have to come after you with my ‘Men In Black’ flashlight and erase your memory,” referring to the movie series in which the heroes combat disguised aliens and zap the memories of civilian witnesses.
Romney’s interview aired after he spoke earlier in the day to the national convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Houston. He received boos at times, and a standing ovation from most of the audience when he finished his remarks.
“If you want a president who will make things better in the African American community, you’re looking at him,” Romney said, one of the lines that prompted booing during his 25-minute address to the nation’s oldest civil rights group. He was also booed when he said he would repeal the health-care measure that has been the signature achievement for Obama, the first black U.S. president.
Romney said in his interview that he thought he could chip away at Obama’s support among black voters, four years after the president got 95 percent of their vote, according to exit polls.
“A lot of folks don’t want to say they are not going to vote for Barack Obama,” Romney said. “But they are disappointed in his lack of policies to improve our schools, disappointed in urban policy, disappointed in the economy.”
The unemployment rate for blacks is 14.4 percent, compared with a national rate of 8.2 percent.