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Still no McMahon tax return

By David Collins

Publication: The Day

Published July 13. 2012 4:00AM

Linda McMahon is evidently a procrastinator, at least when it comes to filing her tax return.

McMahon appears to be dead last among the candidates in this year's Connecticut U.S. Senate race in disclosing 2011 tax returns.

McMahon initially said she had no plans to make public her return, even back when presidential candidate Mitt Romney was releasing his. But she relented when all the other candidates in the Connecticut race released theirs.

That was back in April.

McMahon, who apparently filed for an extension that gives her an Oct. 15 deadline with the IRS, said she would release it when it is done.

With Romney's taxes in the news again this week - he's been getting more heat for releasing only one return, compared to the 12 years of returns his father released when running for president - I checked with McMahon's campaign to see if she is still planning on disclosure.

"Linda will indeed release her tax return when it is finished being prepared," McMahon's new spokesman, Tim Murtaugh, wrote in an email in response to my question.

Asked when that might be, Murtaugh wrote back: "Before the election."

In a separate voicemail, Murtaugh said the accountants are still working on the return.

Normally, I might think the accountants for a wealthy client like McMahon would be using the extra time to make sure all legal tax avoidance strategies are used to full effect.

In this case, though, maybe they are busy unwinding all the tax avoidance.

At least knowing that you are going to drop this return into the middle of a Senate race and a growing national debate about federal budgets and tax rates for middle and upper brackets would lead to some extra time on the calculators, maybe even some second-guessing.

I suppose Vice President Joe Biden was fair in comparing Mitt Romney's disclosing one return in comparison to 12 from his father.

Biden quoted the elder Romney, in describing his choice for full disclosure: "One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show."

Still, McMahon and Romney are disclosing more than is legally required.

McMahon is at least prepared to be as forthcoming as the other Senate candidates, who all released only their 2011 returns.

She is also apparently among a large number of taxpayers, some 10 million, who asked for tax filing extensions this year.

I am surprised the McMahon campaign didn't try to put the candidate's tax return quickly in their wake and get the disclosure out of the way long before the general election.

McMahon's is full of classic political promises, big ones, on steroids.

One centerpiece of her platform is a promise for a substantial new middle-class tax cut - a budget fantasy, given the more obvious deficit-taming choices, like cutting entitlements or raising taxes.

But then, McMahon is good at serving up what people want, no matter how unreal it may seem. She's made a career out of it.

And if it turns out she paid taxes at a rate as low as the Republican presidential candidate, at least she can promise that everyone else can pay the same low rate, too.

Lower taxes and maybe a chicken in every pot?

This is the opinion of David Collins.

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