Gibbons Renews Call on Haslam to "End Secrecy"
A day after a Tennessee Newspaper Network story on Democratic gubernatorial candidates disclosing their income tax returns, Republican candidate Bill Gibbons has issued a statement urging fellow GOP contender Bill Haslam to "end his secrecy."
Here it is:
Memphis, TN - Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Bill Gibbons today issued the following statement praising some of his fellow candidates for releasing copies of their income tax returns, while urging Bill Haslam to end his secrecy:
"I commend four other candidates for governor - Congressman Zach Wamp, State Senator Jim Kyle, former State Representative Kim McMillan, and businessman Mike McWherter - for joining me in disclosing their income tax returns for certain years.
"Governor Phil Bredesen has stated that, while disclosure of income tax returns is an intrusion on his privacy, he is obligated to make such a disclosure. He is right on both points.
"All of us who are running for governor and who have disclosed our income tax returns in full know that we have an obligation to the public to do so, even though it is an intrusion on our privacy and the privacy of our families.
"One other candidate - State Senator Ron Ramsey - has disclosed his federal income tax 1040 forms for certain years but none of the schedules. I hope he will change his mind and release the accompanying schedules as well.
"The other candidate, Mayor Bill Haslam, has refused to
disclose any income tax returns and refused to release any
information on the amount of income earned from his family
business, Pilot Oil Company, along with federal income taxes
paid on that income. He has chosen to keep that information
"(Another candidate, Mike McWherter, released income tax returns showing income from two sub chapter S family-owned corporations.) Mayor Haslam chose to run for governor. He should understand that the public has a right to know his income and its sources, even though it is an intrusion on his privacy. There should be no secrets.
"The extent of Mayor Haslam's income from Pilot Oil will tell
the public whether his interest constitutes a minor conflict of
interest or a big one."The public deserves to know.
"Mayor Haslam did release a summary of what he says is his non-Pilot Oil income for certain years, along with federal taxes paid on that income. That summary shows an average of only about 12 percent of his non-Pilot Oil income being paid in federal taxes, and only about five percent for 2008.
"Does Mayor Haslam have tax shelters that could pose additional conflicts? The only way to find out is through the release of complete income tax returns.
"Senator Lamar Alexander has said that releasing income tax returns helps taxpayers determine whether a candidate's income represents a conflict of interest. He is absolutely correct. All candidates for governor should release their complete income tax returns for an appropriate number of years.
"There is no more reliable and trustworthy source to determine whether a candidate has a conflict of interest and the extent of any such conflict."