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Mitt Romney comments raise questions about who pays income taxes

In Oklahoma, 36 percent of households filing federal returns owed no income taxes for 2010, and large majority of those had incomes of less than $25,000
by Chris Casteel Published: September 19, 2012

Eleven of the 2,405 Oklahoma households with income above $1 million paid no federal income tax for the 2010 tax year.

Income tax, voting

For tax year 2008, more than 554,000 Oklahomans who filed federal income tax returns owed no income taxes. In that year, then-Sen. Barack Obama got fewer than 503,000 votes in Oklahoma.

There is no way to document how many of those who paid no income tax actually voted for Obama.

But Oklahoma's distinction as the reddest state in the nation calls into question the political calculus used by Romney in linking Obama's base to those who don't pay federal income taxes.

Wallace Collins, chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, said Tuesday that, when criticizing those who didn't pay income taxes, Romney was essentially attacking young workers, military service people, veterans and the elderly.

Matt Pinnell, chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, said, “Let me get this straight: When Obama says that Americans aren't paying their fair share, it's cool. But when Romney says it, it's not cool?

“Romney was simply stating the obvious — that as president he wants to cut taxes and that those in this country that pay little to no taxes wouldn't see that as a reason to vote for him. I believe that as bad as the economy is, many of these people will in fact decide we need a change in the White House.

“Regardless, this is a great opportunity to finally have a debate over what kind of America voters want — an entitlement ‘cradle-to-grave' society, or an opportunity society.”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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