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Davis Discloses Taxes, Takes Slap at Simon

Politics: Documents show governor and his wife paid $54,000. He attacks challenger for not revealing returns.

April 16, 2002|DAN MORAIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gray Davis released his tax returns Monday, showing that he and his wife paid more than $54,000 in taxes last year, and he criticized his Republican challenger, Bill Simon Jr., for refusing to release his tax returns.

Simon spokesman James Fisfis would not comment on whether Simon paid state or federal income taxes in 2001. He said the Republican candidate, who is a multimillionaire, "has no plans to release his returns at this time."

Later in the day, Simon campaign manager Sal Russo said Simon's returns are complicated and that he has filed for an extension. Over the years, Russo said, the candidate has paid substantial income taxes.

Saying that Simon absolutely should release his tax returns, Davis added: "Part of running for governor is making available your tax return so people can see you're paying your fair share."

No law requires candidates to release their tax returns. However, the practice is becoming increasingly common, especially for career politicians like Davis.

Using Monday's tax filing deadline as an opportunity to contrast his modest holdings with those of his wealthy challenger, Davis released a return showing that he had income of $200,351, including $37,500 that Sharon Davis earned as a consultant.

She is on the board of directors of Golden State Food, a company owned by billionaire and Davis patron Ron Burkle.

Davis and his wife reported paying $44,177 in federal income taxes, and $12,442 in state taxes. They overpaid their state taxes by $367, and were entitled to a refund of $948 from Uncle Sam.

The governor reported donating $2,475 worth of clothing and home furnishings to benefit various charitable thrift shops, and $4,290 in cash donations. Their biggest deduction, $11,558, was interest paid on their condominium in West Hollywood.

Fisfis said Simon has complied with state law by publicly filing with the Fair Political Practices Commission a statement of economic interests outlining his holdings.

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