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Terri Lynn Land: A taker, not a maker

by: Eric B.

Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 11:37:09 AM EDT

Today we learn what Terri Lynn Land's effective tax the last three years: Less than 3 percent.

Land’s payments to the tax man are less clear. In July, Land released her 2012 and 2013 tax records to The News, showing she filed separately from her husband, Daniel Hibma — a wealthy west Michigan developer — and earned $44,726 in 2012 and $89,729 in 2013. Her effective tax rate was 2.7 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

On Monday, Land defended her low tax rate, saying it was due to her substantial contributions to charity.

The average Michigan taxpayer paid an effective tax rate of 12.9 percent of adjusted gross income in 2012, while the national average was 13.7 percent, according to the most recently available Internal Revenue Service data.

That's effective tax rate on her earned income, mind you. She was able to get away with an effective tax rate of below 5 percent -- below 5 percent -- because a lot of the money she made came by way of capital gains from an apartment building she owns. The entire story, by the way, should be required reading by all members of the media as it relates to issues that are of actual substantive importance in understanding who it is that we're being asked to vote for. It's a useful alternative to the mishmash of horse race nonsense and summaries of political ads that have constituted political campaign coverage the last couple of cycles. Who these people are is how they will help govern.

In this case, Terri Lynn Land doesn't have much use for a day job. She can literally give away most of her income to charity because most of her money comes in via investment. How many people do you know who live like this?

Her communications strategy on this is also just plain terrible. It is one dash "Making an issue out of Terri Lynn Land's income tax returns is as terrible as that time we said that Gary Peters wants you to pay for his daugthers' elective abortions," and one dash "Terri Lynn has such little use for her middle class income that she can donate most of it." The one is bizarre and stupid on its face; the other simply sends the message that she is out of touch with how most people live.

Eric B. :: Terri Lynn Land: A taker, not a maker
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