Week 4 of Bill White not releasing his tax returns
Peggy Fikac notes:
It's week four of waiting for White to release his income tax returns for the time he served as Houston mayor. He has said he won't release any except for the time he's been running for statewide office (that's 2009 so far). Perry has released returns since 1996
I am fascinated by the fact that Bill White thinks he can get away with not releasing his tax returns. He's running for governor of an economy that is one of the top 10 in the world. Not only is it customary for any major candidate, but White has been talking about his success as a businessman (ignoring the fact that he had more success as a trial lawyer than as a businessman). It's pretty reasonable for voters to want to know about potential conflicts of interest. As a heuristic, it's probably also reasonable that voters assume that if a candidate doesn't release his tax returns, he probably has something to hide.
It's not an issue that will go away. The press will keep talking about it. Even if the press were to neglect to mention this fact again, the fact that Perry's campaign can put it in ads means that it's a losing issue for White.
I assume White will release his tax returns soon. In the meantime, he is looking silly refusing to release them and losing media cycles. And, he is defusing any potential ethics charges he might try to throw at Perry later.
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