Presidential races

Bush tax returns reveal $29M in earnings

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Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Tuesday released 33 years of tax returns, revealing that he has earned nearly $29 million since leaving the Florida governor’s mansion in 2007.

His most recent tax return shows an income of $7.4 million and an average federal tax rate of 36 percent over that period.

{mosads}Bush’s income since leaving office climbed rapidly, going from $260,580 in income in his final year as governor to $7.4 million in 2014. The bulk of Bush’s income in recent years came from a combination of speaking fees, positions on corporate boards, and various business interests.

“We have a tax code that stifles growth and opportunity,” said Bush in a statement posted on his campaign website. “In my case, I paid the government more than one in three dollars that I earned in my career.

“I think I speak for everyone, no matter your tax rate: we need to get more money back in your pocket and less in the federal kitty.”

Bush’s campaign said the document trove is the largest tax return release in the history of presidential campaigns. The past two Republican nominees, former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.) and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), each released two years of returns. Then-Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) released seven years of returns ahead of his 2008 victory.

Bush said the release of his tax returns, along with an earlier release of 280,000 emails from his time in the governor’s mansion, are in line with the “spirit” of transparency. He lamented the stack of papers, running more than 1,000 pages, as a sign of a “broken tax system that’s one of the most convoluted and anti-growth in the world.”

“It’s time for a flatter, fairer tax code. The labyrinth of rules and special interest carve outs need to go,” he said.

“One thing you can count on if I’m president is that it will finally be addressed. It’s critical if we are going to ensure more people have a chance at earned success.”

Bush also delivered a jab at Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, noting that he learned a “fun fact” in the process: his average tax rate is higher than Clinton’s 2014 rate of 30 percent.

He also highlighted his charitable giving, noting that he donated $739,000 between 2007 and 20014.

According to the campaign, the Bushes gave $739,511 to charity since leaving office, which would equal 2.5 percent of the money he earned in that time. That’s a rate much lower than the roughly 15 percent the Obamas gave in 2014, and well below the 29 percent donation rate Mitt Romney reported on his 2011 taxes.

However, the campaign also noted that the Bushes help raise funds beyond direct donations, including $17 million for the Barbara Bush Foundation Celebration of Reading, and $46 million for the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

This story was last updated at 6:08 p.m.

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