Santorum Releases Tax Records, Defends Income - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Santorum Releases Tax Records, Defends Income

USATODAY.COM - Rick Santorum used his tax returns to make contrasts with Mitt Romney, saying in interviews last night that he doesn't have the dividend income of his rival and had to use his earnings to pay down his mortgage.

The former Pennsylvania senator released his tax returns for 2007-2010 to Politico last night. The documents show Santorum's annual income rose from more than $650,000 in 2007 to a high of $1.1 million in 2009, before dropping to $923,000 in 2010.

His tax payments also grew: From over $167,000 in 2007 to about $310,000 in 2009 before dropping to roughly $263,000 in 2010.

In an interview on CNN Wednesday night, Santorum noted that two of his seven children are in college, his youngest daughter has a genetic disorder requiring care, and he has a house that lost value in the economic downturn.

"I took a lot of that money and actually paid down a rather significant mortgage to the point where ... my mortgage was still below the value of my house," Santorum said. "...We've had some expenses and we've been very blessed to have the opportunity to be able to handle those and still be ... in the black."

Santorum often stresses his blue-collar roots, frequently bringing up his coal-miner and immigrant grandfather as an example of his upbringing.

He told CNN last night that he was "very successful" in making money -- sometimes taking six or seven jobs doing consulting work or traveling to make paid speeches.

Santorum also said he was "very successful" in paying his taxes, and estimates his house in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., lost about 40% of its value.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is a multi-millionaire and one of the wealthiest presidential candidates in recent years. His 2010 tax return showed he had about $21.7 million in income, primarily from investments, and paid about $3 million to the Internal Revenue Service.

Santorum's effective tax rate for 2010 was about 28.5% of his adjusted gross income -- more than double the 13.9% paid by Romney for the same year.

"He had dividend income," Santorum told ABC News on Wednesday night. "He had capital gains income which is taxed at 15%. I had ordinary income which got taxed at a higher rate."

The highest tax rate for ordinary income -- such as wages and salaries -- is 35%.

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