NEWS BLOG: Romney, release your darn tax records

BY TIM LOUIS MACALUSO

Mitt Romney and his Republican backers are trying to pass his tax-records shell games off as transparency. This is the same party whose members have been passing legislation requiring multiple forms of photo identification to vote, but don’t want us to know the financial history of their candidate.

Romney has not broken any laws by refusing to release more of his tax records. And his filings may provide the country with a much-needed snooze.

But Romney isn’t running for president of the local merchants association. He has been in an almost non-stop campaign to become president of the United States for several years. Not only should he have been prepared for this kind of scrutiny, he should have welcomed it.

Romney has tried to position himself as the candidate who can fix the economy, and he has the job creation experience to do it. Fine.

But he also wants us to take his word for it. We don’t know whether his claims on the campaign trail are reflected in what he has reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

And he has argued that Obama is attacking him because he’s rich, a case of class warfare, and an attack on successful business people. The guy who has been running around the country lambasting Obama for “apologizing” now wants a public apology.

The longer that Romney drags this out, the more he twists in the wind. And he is stoking the suspicion that many Americans have about people who are as rich as he is: that they don’t play by the same rules as the rest of us, and that their wealth often comes from deals that hurt others.

Just release your dang taxes records, Mr. Romney. That would shut your critics down. And if your tax records are as clean as you claim they are, your campaign would gain something it sorely needs: credibility.

7 comments

  1. I always find it amusing when the local media gets all hot and bothered about a state or federal issue in which they can not have the slightest impact while at the same time ignoring problems within Rochester where they COULD make a difference.

    Case in point. City Newspaper chides Romney about releasing his tax returns. But I think we can safely assume that neither Mitt nor his handlers are reader’s of this newspaper and so will not benefit from Mr. Macaluso’s advice. Yet when mayoral candidate Bill Johnson last year offered (perhaps seriously , perhaps not) to fully discuss why he had backed the Fast Ferry (one of, if not THE, biggest financial fiascoes ever to hit Rochester) his offer was ignored by City.

    Similarly, ever year the D&C goes on at great length about the need for openess in government at the state level where they carry absolutely NO weight. But when it comes time to demanding that City Hall release the studies/reports/memos that dealt with our involvement with the Ferry, with the Paetec negotiations , or with why the city hired and then retained Ms. Olley as parking director not a peep is heard from the folks on Exchange Blvd.

  2. I just wish the press would give equal treatment to both canidates. Obama has still not been vetted. BTW, Obama is campaining 24/7. The best thing the president could be doing now is to fix the economy. On second thought, his “fixes” are making things worse.

  3. Chaim, I agree the FF was poorly executed, but we lost the oportunity of a lifetime. A direct connection to Toronto would have given Rochester such a boost. The $25 or so million is a drop in a bucket compared to the billion $$$ new Peace Bridge that Buffalo wants and will probably get.

    Hopefully we will get another ferry project in the future. One major suggestion–2 boats, so you can arrive in both cities in the AM.

  4. John – Sorry, but ferry service between Rochester and Toronto was, and remains, a concept that cannot succeed financially. Bill’s Barge didn’t fail because it was poorly executed. It failed because it was poorly conceived.

    First of all, even for a so-called “fast ferry”, the total trip time between the cities is significantly shorter by car when compared to a generic passenger’s travel time to the terminal + wait time to load + travel time + wait timer to unload + travel time to destination (the less-than-honest backers only referenced the travel time which made the ferry seem faster). About the only way the ferry could have been faster is if there were massive delays in getting over the border. This may have happened, but only on rare occasions.

    Add to this point the fact that most travelers between Rochester and Toronto want to determine for themselves when they make the trip. Having to work around the ferry’s meager schedule was hardly conducive to encouraging riders.

    Secondly, the cost for a family of four to travel by ferry was several hundred percent higher than the cost to drive.

    Thirdly, once the novelty of the ferry evaporated there simply was no on-going reason for a ferry between the cities. Successful ferries supply one of two needs. Either they offer a much faster transit between two points, or they offer a scenic alternative for drivers. Bill’s Barge provided neither.

  5. So Chaim, show me the math that showa it wasn’t working.

    Like most others you give little thought to the Toronto-Rochester CONNECTION.

  6. John –

    Which “math” are you referring to?

    The “math” behind the “business case” which CATS sold to Bill Johnson and our other “leaders” that called for a 360 day sailing schedule with 3 trips per day and total ridership in the first year of operation of a million passengers?

    The “math” that caused CATS to discontinue service and declare bankruptcy after only 3 or 4 months of operation in 2004?

    The “math” that resulted in Bill Johnson plunking down 32,000,000 of our tax dollars to buy the barge at auction?

    The “math” that resulted in Rochester having to pay millions for engine repairs and an extended warranty?

    The “math” that resulted in Rochester discontinuing service after 5 months of operation in 2005?

    The “math” that convinced Bob Duffy to put Bill’s Barge up for sale rather than pour more millions into keeping it running for 2006?

    As to the Rochester – Toronto connection it was, and is, an illusion as Rochester has never been a tourist mecca for Canadians. No case was ever made public backing up the claims that, 1) an existing massive Torontonian tourism base between the cities already existed, or that 2) that base could be persuaded to switch from driving to the ferry, or 3) that that base would be significantly augmented by providing a slower and more expensive option for traveling between the two cities.

    Naturally I’ll be more than happy to review any “math” YOU can provide that demonstrates that the ferry was cheated of its success.

  7. No, Chaim, Rochester was cheated out of the FF success by our lame polititions who fail to craft a vision for Rochester and persure Albany and Washington to return to us the taxes we’ve paid. Instead they let a BILLION go to Buffalo to replace the stucturally sound Peace Bridge with a “signature” bridge. We could’ve gotten 40 ferries for that cost.

    For the math-the FF operation itself created about 200 jobs. No all were good or full time, but many were very good jobs. Taxpaying jobs to the tune of about $4-500,000 a year. What about all the spending ? A visitor typically spend about $200 per day. I could go on, but the fact is the money was spread all over and not easy to just point to it in one place. I’m sure you can understand.

    My main point is the CONNECTION. You missed it. People from Toronto are used to mass transpotation. The ferry terminal should have been at the foot of Younge st where Rochester would have been just one subway stop away. It’s cheaper to live and manufacture here. Would it not be wise for Canadian optics companies (for instance) to establish plants here to take advantage of our skills and lower costs? Collaborate with our Univesities.?Establish American HQ’s for Canadian companies? Thousands of good jobs? etc Again, I’m sure you get the point.

    Try to get away from the tourism and “why would anyone want to come to Rochester” idea and think of the possibilities instead of the negatives.

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