Millionaire Polis’ low tax payments draw reactions ahead of re-election campaign

Politics

DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis is under a national microscope after a ProPublica report highlighted how he paid a small amount of taxes in past years, despite him being a millionaire.

Polis is not denying what was written about his taxpaying or lack thereof over the last few years. His team is saying the findings highlight a larger issue he hopes to tackle, but opponents say now is not the time for that.

“Somebody like Governor Polis is out of touch right now, right?” said Republican strategist Michael Fields of Colorado Rising Action. “He’s not dealing with what everyone else is dealing with in terms of the pandemic, you know. He’s extremely wealthy — he’s getting around taxes while we are paying more, while inflation is hurting everybody.”

Investigative reporters at ProPublica found the millionaire paid nothing in federal income taxes from 2013-2015. The report also found his overall tax rate from 2010-2018 was just 8.2%, while a worker making $45,000 back in 2018 paid 19%.

After Polis was vocal about urging then-President Donald Trump to show his tax returns, Polis would not show his when he ran for governor in 2018.

“I think there is a reason the governor didn’t release his tax returns up until this point and it’s because I think the average person would say, ‘Why is somebody worth hundreds of millions of dollars paying less money than the average family in Colorado?'” Fields said.

Polis’ team is not denying the reports that he used loopholes, with a spokesperson telling us partially in a statement:

“Governor Polis has paid all the taxes that he is required by law and no one has suggested otherwise and he completely agrees that the tax system disproportionately favors the wealthy. That is why he has long championed tax reforms to make a better, fairer system, especially for middle-class workers and families.”

Spokesperson for Gov. Jared Polis

Some groups for tax reform in Colorado said they are not mad at the admission, but they want the polis to use this moment as a call to action.

“I think that this is giving him an opportunity to oppose tax measures like those that are already proposed for the 2022 ballot. And he can also be proactive in closing corporate tax loopholes and actively supporting reforms where the wealthiest taxpayers contribute what they own,” said Carmen Medrano with the Together We Thrive Coalition.

In 2018, Polis said he would not release his tax information because his Republican opponent did not release his, but strategists tell us it is a different ball game this time around seeing that Polis is a sitting governor now.

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