During the 2012 and the current 2016 presidential campaigns, Mitt Romney and Donald Trump, respectively, received criticism for not paying their fair share of taxes and the latter took his game to the next higher level by not publicly releasing his tax returns. In my opinion, politicians and those running for office should release their tax returns and pay their fair share of taxes as it’s the right thing to do as well as a sign of political leadership. But there’s a stark difference between legal maneuvering to avoid taxes and tax evasion. The former is permissible and the latter is criminal. I don’t blame Romney or Trump for taking advantage of tax loopholes created by law. I blame the lawmakers who created and enacted those loopholes. If there are problems with the federal tax system, i.e., the Internal Revenue Code, it’s up to Congress to fix them. Likewise, if there are problems with state tax systems, it’s up to state legislatures to fix them. Unfortunately, all legislative bodies in the United States are subject to considerable pressure by lobbyists to enact tax laws favorable to the individuals, entities, or interests they represent. Equally unfortunate are legislators who pass misguided tax laws which favor the few at the expense of the many. Those legislators should be voted out of office.
Robert Blevins, Garden City