Jeb Bush Releases 33 Years of Tax Returns

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Republican pays a higher rate than most Americans, says net worth is $19 million to $22 million.

Republican Jeb Bush is one of the wealthiest candidates in the 2016 presidential field and pays far more in taxes than the typical American, according to 33 years’ worth of tax returns released by his campaign on Tuesday, the most ever by a U.S. presidential candidate.

Mr. Bush said his total net worth is between $19 million and $22 million, 14 times what he reported when he left the Florida governor’s office in 2007. That means Mr. Bush—who has earned more than $29 million since leaving office—is likely wealthier than many of his GOP rivals. Mr. Bush’s net worth is most likely less than Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s, who, in addition to as much as $52 million in assets, has reported earning $25 million with her husband in speaking fees over a recent 16-month period.

His effective federal tax rate hovered around 36% over more than three decades of earnings. The average rate for middle-income households was projected to be 12% in 2013, the latest available data. The top 1% of U.S. earners paid an effective rate of 33%.

The tax rate paid by Mr. Bush, 62 years old, may help inoculate him from the kinds of political attacks faced by 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, from both the Obama campaign and some of his GOP primary rivals. Because Mr. Romney’s income came from his work at a private-equity firm, and was taxed at a lower rate, he paid an effective tax rate of 14% in 2011.

Mr. Bush told reporters at a briefing Tuesday that the U.S. needs to lower tax rates and eliminate deductions “that I apparently did not take full advantage of.”

Mr. Bush’s voluntary release of tax information is aimed at reinforcing a broader message being pushed by his campaign—that he is more open with the public than his opponents, particularly Mrs. Clinton. She filed a financial-disclosure form required for presidential candidates but hasn’t released any tax returns since her 2008 bid for the White House.

“My hope is to give people a sense of who I am, that my life is one that is not all about politics,” Mr. Bush said.

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