By Bill Barrow
The Associated Press
Gov. Jay Inslee has become the latest Democratic presidential candidate to release his tax returns, while bashing President Donald Trump for refusing such a disclosure.
“It’s time for him to come clean with the American people,” Inslee said on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” adding that he was issuing a challenge to Trump on the Republican president’s “favorite show,” a nod to Trump’s habit of watching the network’s morning show and often tweeting in response.
Trump first refused such disclosure as a candidate ahead of his 2016 election, saying he was under audit. Trump’s business dealings and his now-shuttered foundation have been the subject of various investigations and Democratic attacks.
Still, Inslee, who announced his campaign at the beginning of March, is just the third announced Democratic White House contender to release his personal returns, joining Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
As he appeared on Fox on Friday, Inslee’s past 12 personal tax returns were posted on his campaign website. The span is from 2007 to 2018, covering his last three terms in Congress and his first six years as governor.
The returns for Inslee, 68, and his wife, Trudi, show relatively consistent income and taxes paid over that period, with essentially all of their income stemming from his public salaries and congressional pensions.
In 2018, the Inslees paid $29,906 in federal taxes on an adjusted gross income of $202,912 and taxable income of $172,915. That gross income — $162,870 of it from Washington state and $44,028 from a congressional pension — puts the couple in about the 94th percentile of U.S. households.
Among their deductions, the couple noted $8,295 in charitable contributions (about 4 percent of their total income), $12,422 in home mortgage interest and $3,000 in capital gains losses, the maximum amount the IRS allows for routine capital-loss deductions.
Inslee claimed no foreign holdings, a point of contention for Democrats who question whether Trump’s real estate entanglements across the globe compromise his job as president.
During Inslee’s congressional tenure, he did report paying a small amount in foreign taxes. An Inslee aide said it was for payments he received for a small part in a movie, “The Deal,” filmed in Canada with lead actor Christian Slater and released in 2005. Inslee played a senator.
Inslee’s returns show he was a beneficiary of the Republican tax bill that he has hammered as a presidential candidate and previously as Democratic Governors Association chairman during the 2018 midterm campaign. His 2018 tax bill was $2,791 less than his $32,697 tax bill the prior year on essentially the same income. That’s about an 8.5 percent tax cut from 2017 to 2018.
The Inslees were among the high earners and property owners affected by new caps on the state and local tax bills that a filer can deduct when figuring federal taxable income.
In one of the more controversial provisions of the tax law — and one that hurt Republicans in affluent suburban House districts in 2018 — households can deduct a maximum of $10,000 for state and local taxes. Previously there was no cap, allowing wealthier households with hefty state income tax bills and property tax bills on more expensive real estate to deduct those costs.
The Inslees reported paying $14,280 in state and local taxes, meaning the new provision cost them $4,280 in deductions.
Trump broke with decades of tradition by not releasing his tax filings during his 2016 campaign. He argued that he couldn’t release his taxes because he was under an audit by the IRS, but being under audit is no legal bar to a candidate from releasing tax returns.
The White House on Friday declined comment on Inslee’s latest comments on the president.