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Walz, Klobuchar greet Donald Trump by releasing their own tax returns

Gov. Tim Walz and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar

MINNEAPOLIS - On the day President Donald Trump is visiting Minnesota — tax filing deadline day — Gov. Tim Walz and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar are releasing their personal income taxes and calling on Trump to do the same.

Trump is the first president in decades to not release his tax returns, although he has said at various times that he would.

The issue has become increasingly political as Democrats look to probe his dealings for potential impropriety, or to score political points. In October, a New York Times investigation found that for years Trump engaged in schemes designed to avoid taxes — some of which might have been illegal — as he became wealthy from his father’s real estate empire. Walz and Klobuchar, who is running for president in 2020, are both Democrats; Trump is a Republican.

Both Walz and Klobuchar issued statements calling on Trump to release his returns in the name of “transparency.”

Walz paid less in 2018

Walz, who has released his taxes dating back to when he ran for Congress in 2006, posted redacted copies of all those returns on an official state web page devoted to “open government.”

The returns show that Walz and his wife Gwen, a school administrator, appear to have benefited from Trump’s tax cut. The couple declared $212,259 in total income in 2018, the bulk of it Walz’s salary as a member of the U.S. House. The couple was liable for $31,500 in federal income taxes and $11,849 in state taxes. That’s an effective tax rate of 20.4 percent, about 1 percent lower than what the couple was taxed at in 2017, when they paid $33,720. The difference is in how much they paid in federal taxes.

The Walzes were also subject to a phenomenon experienced by many Americans: Even though their total federal tax burden went down, they found themselves owing at the end of the year more than prior years. This year they owed $4,287 to Uncle Sam, compared to $1,767 last year.

Klobuchar paid more

Klobuchar posted her tax returns dating back to 2006 on her campaign website.

Filing jointly, Klobuchar and her husband, attorney and professor John Bessler, found themselves in a lower tax bracket in 2018, but ultimately paid more in total taxes, as their combined income increased. The couple reported $338,483 in income and paid $65,927 in federal income taxes and $14,339 in Minnesota taxes, according to the returns and a summary prepared by their accountant. That’s a 23.7% effective tax rate.

Will move connect with supporters?

Do any Trump supporters care that he hasn’t released his personal income taxes?

If they do, they didn’t show up at the Burnsville Trump event. Or at least, this reporter couldn’t find any.

“Doesn’t bother me, not at all,” said Don Tomann of Buffalo, who owns a manufacturing plant and went to show his support. “If the people who are asking for it would show some signs of fairness,” he added, not completing the thought but suggesting that House Democrats are demanding his tax returns purely for political reasons.

Every president since Richard Nixon has voluntarily release returns, but Trump, while he has said at various times that he would, hasn’t. He has stated he’s under audit by the IRS, and that’s why he hasn’t done so.

Several supporters said that demanding personal income taxes be made public is tantamount to an invasion of privacy — and unnecessary.

“I just think if it’s that important, If there was something there, the IRS would have found it,” said Judy Hutchins, a retired postmaster from Mound who went to the event “because I love him.”