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Bilbray And Peters Battle Over Financial Disclosure, Taxes

Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray and his challenger, Democrat Scott Peters, are battling over financial disclosure and tax policies.

Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray and his challenger, Democrat Scott Peters, are battling over financial disclosure and tax policies.

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Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray has released three years of tax returns and he is calling on Democrat Scott Peters to do the same.

“I didn’t appreciate having to disclose my tax returns, either, “ Bilbray said.

Bilbray’s returns show he and his wife made about $240,000 last year and paid about $40,000 in taxes. Bilbray’s congressional salary is about $150,000, (update and correction : congressional salaries are $174,000) his wife’s tax preparation service made about $50,000, and, according to the form, the couple earned about $13,000 in rental income. Bilbray’s family trust yielded $28,000 in income last year.

Peters has released 16 pages detailing all his family’s assets and sources of income. They reveal he and his wife own assets worth tens of millions of dollars. But Peters, who is a former San Diego City Council president and current San Diego Port Commissioner, did not receive compensation of more than $5,000 from any one source last year.

He said he is not releasing his tax returns, which is not required by law. He said he is in a “bit of a bind” because he files jointly with his wife, but she is very supportive of his campaign and has agreed to disclose everything they own, and all their sources of income.

“I think the issue in this campaign is not so much an individual’s tax returns as their tax policies,” Peters said. “I believe people who have done well in America should do well by America. I think for someone to sign a pledge that he will never vote to raises taxes on anybody, no matter if they are a millionaire or a billionaire, no matter how bad off the country is, I just think that’s wrong.”

Peters said he believes there are wealthy people who can pay more in taxes, which, he said, would be one of the ways to help solve the budget issue.

Bilbray has signed a pledge not to raise taxes. He said though he won’t support tax increases for the middle class or the wealthy, he does support eliminating tax deductions.

“They allow millionaires like Mr. Peters to write off charitable contributions,” Bilbray said, “but they won’t allow someone in the middle like myself to be able to get a credit for all the money I’ve spent on a sick daughter.”

Bilbray’s daughter has battled cancer.

Republican proposals to eliminate tax deductions foundered this summer, partly because they included the popular mortgage interest tax deduction.

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