ON the issue of affluent Americans paying more income taxes, John Kerry is, as always, consistent in his inconsistency.
On the campaign trail, he’s in favor of raising taxes on everybody who makes over $200,000 a year. Unless, of course, he’s the one being asked to pay more, in which case, forget about it.
We know this because of a little whoopee cushion recently inserted into the income tax forms of his home state of Massachusetts.
Weary of liberals always clamoring for higher taxes on other people, an anti-tax group managed to place a line on the tax form giving Bay Staters the option of paying at the old, since-repealed 5.85 percent rate, rather than at the current 5.3 percent rate.
For two years now, John Kerry has had the opportunity to pay his “fair share.” But like some Benedict Arnold CEO, the Democratic Party candidate for president has taken the money and ran.
Kerry claimed income last year of $395,338, which means had he decided to assist the “most vulnerable members of society” etc., he would have owed an additional $2,174 – chump change, considering that his second wife is the 391st richest American, according to Forbes magazine, with a fortune of at least $550 million.
You can learn a lot about a politician by studying his tax returns. In John Kerry’s case, one thing you can quickly figure out is what years his name actually appears on the ballot. If it’s an election year, he makes charitable contributions. Last week, for example, he claimed $43,735 in charitable donations for 2003, more than he’d given in the prior two years combined.
In 1990, running for reelection to the Senate, he donated $1,835 to charity. After winning, he ponied up a total of $975 in the next three years.
Still, to understand the Kerry tax situation, you would need to study his 65-year-old wife’s returns. But the widow Heinz files separately and adamantly refuses to release her tax records.
What is undisputed is that Kerry’s jet-setting lifestyle is completely financed by Teresa Heinz Kerry’s late first husband, a Republican senator from Pennsylvania.
His trust funds throw off millions in dividends and capital gains – what liberals often disparage as “unearned income.” No such outcry has arisen in the case of Teresa. But even with her stonewalling on the release of her income tax returns, a glimpse into her financial worth is available in her tax bills that are public, for the five mansions she owns:
* On Nantucket Island, for a $9.1 million beachfront “cottage,” technically owned by Windy Point Trust, she pays $23,552.09 a year in property taxes.
That’s close to $175,000 a year in property taxes alone, but Teresa has no cash-flow woes.
Much has been written of the senator’s 42-foot Hinckley powerboat, which cost at least $800,000. Less noticed has been Teresa’s much more expensive plaything – a Gulfstream V private jet. It’s named the Flying Squirrel, not after Bulwinkle’s pal Rocky, but after her favorite ski run in Sun Valley.
Aviation industry sources say the Flying Squirrel is worth about $35 million. It’s the deluxe model .
“To charter a Gulfstream V costs $5,000 to $6,000 an hour,” says one pilot. “Hers has everything – plasma TV, two bathrooms, fancy mahogany and burlwood paneling, gold-plated fixtures.”
The only possible aviation upgrade, in other words, would be Air Force One. Which would certainly reduce the Widow Heinz’s household expenses.
Maybe then her husband could afford to pay his “fair share” of state income taxes.