Donkeys could spell trouble for Runyan's congressional bid

Tax issues, coupled with four small donkeys, could spell trouble for would-be GOP congressional candidate Jon Runyan.

The former Philadelphia Eagle, who is looking to challenge Rep. John Adler (D-N.J.), is getting a break on his property taxes thanks in part to his four donkeys, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Runyan paid $57,000 in taxes last year on five acres which contain his Mount Laurel home. But on the other 20 acres of his property, he paid $468 in taxes -- because it was assessed as farmland.

Runyan campaign manager Chris Russell insisted his candidate was "in compliance with the law and does what any other taxpayer in his situation could do. … With anyone who pays $60,000 in taxes, it's hard to say he's getting a break.”

On his application for a farmland assessment in July, Runyan said he uses five acres as grazing land for his four donkeys and the other 15 for harvesting timber. But Runyan didn't always have the four donkeys – he originally had only one. Last January, the township assessor wrote to Runyan that one donkey wasn't enough to justify the tax break. "Although your application was approved for 2009, this acreage will not qualify in the future if you do not have enough animals to justify the five acres," the letter said.

A year later, Runyan reported having four donkeys grazing on five acres, and kept his tax break. Russell said Runyan had long planned to breed the donkeys but wasn't ready to do that just yet.

Runyan face two Republican opponents also vying for the chance to run against Adler.

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