Former Gov. Mitt Romney released his taxes on Tuesday, only a few days after his crushing loss to Newt Gingrich in South Carolina and several days ahead of the Florida Primary, an almost must-win for the recently beleaguered frontrunner for the GOP Presidential Nomination.
Amid the backlash and calls of waffling on the release of his taxes comes a surprising reason for attacking the candidate: The fact that he tithes more to his church than he pays to the federal government.
According to Gov. Romney’s tax filings, he paid $4.1 million to the Church of Latter Day Saints and $3 million to the federal government, more than a 33% disparity between the two.
My question is this: So what?
My tax rate for this past year was 15%. Guess how much I tithe to my church? %20.
Tithing to your church any amount you please doesn’t make you a bad person any more than the person who doesn’t tithe at all.
I tithe because I love my church. I love the community, and I want to see it succeed. And as it is money I earned, that’s my choice.
So, why the backlash against Romney? I’d venture to say some of it has to do with the Mormon Church’s financing of the fight to see Prop 8 passed in California, which, in my opinion, is a perfectly legitimate view to hold. Many folks, myself included, believe in a complete separation of Church and State. I personally believe that Christ never meant for us to legislate faith. That’s why it’s called faith, because it’s on the burden of the believer, not the State, to decide what religious values one embraces.
But many are bashing Gov. Romney because of the size of the tithe, which is ridiculous. There are plenty of reasons to dislike Romney for his taxes alone, regardless of how much he gives to LDS:
- His tax rate is 15.4 percent. Why is this bothersome? Because that’s also the tax rate for taxpayers making between $8,501 and $34,500, annually. Romney is able to get away with this using talented tax lawyers and creative tax loopholes. Otherwise, he’d be paying upwards of 35% in taxes, just like his financial peers.
- Despite being a career politician, this is the first time Gov. Romney is releasing his taxes, normally a common move among officer seekers to prove they’re just like everyone else and have nothing to hide. And if the Gov. is playing fair, why would he have anything to hide? Releasing his taxes should have been a move that would mark his personal endorsement of just how great capitalism is; that it creates winners who work hard. Instead, he’s waffled over it for the course of his career.
- Which brings us to the final point: Why does Gov. Romney have so many tax havens? The Caymans, Switzerland, Ireland, and Luxembourg… he has money stashed everywhere, and although he claims to have not evaded taxes, why the need then to keep his money in off-shore accounts?
So, vow not to fiscally support Romney because of these reasons, not because he gives more money to his church than what would make you comfortable.