Larry Hogan releases tax returns, showing he's made $2.4 million while governor

Gov. Larry Hogan released three years of tax returns Friday, showing he’s made about $2.4 million while governor of Maryland.

Hogan was paid $175,000 last year as governor, but most of his household income came from his private real estate business. After becoming governor in 2015, Hogan entered into a trust agreement in which three trustees manage his dozens of real estate holdings, but the trustees can provide the governor details of financial performance. The trust agreement was approved by the State Ethics Commission.

The returns are for the governor and his wife, Yumi, an artist who earned about $7,000 a year working for the Maryland Institute College of Art, the Hogan campaign said. The couple paid a federal tax rate of 24 percent in 2015, 13 percent in 2016 and 28 percent in 2017.

The Hogans’ returns show that, in 2016, they made a $160,000 charitable donation that caused them to pay a lower tax rate. The donation was a historic property in Frederick County given to a “non-denominational Christian church in need of a home,” said Doug Mayer, a Hogan campaign spokesman.

In total, the couple donated about $218,000 to charity over the past three years, the returns show.

About $735,000 of their income last year came from the governor’s real estate business and other investments. In 2017, a rental property generated $49,000 in income, but that was offset by $69,000 in expenses.

The state and federal returns also show the couple’s estimated tax payments over the three years fell far short of what they ended up owing. Since 2015, they owed at filing time a total of more than $400,000 to the federal government and $110,000 to the state. As a result, they owed more than $3,000 in tax penalties for not making estimated payments in 2015 and 2016.

Over the three years, the Hogans paid more than $550,000 in federal and almost $160,000 in state and local income taxes.

“The release of the governor’s tax returns, combined with 5 years of state financial disclosures and private trust documents that have been proactively made public, represent a level of transparency and openness that few, if any, sitting governors have ever matched,” Mayer said in an email after releasing the documents.

The release of three years of the tax returns means Hogan and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous, the former NAACP president, have both released three years of their returns.

Jealous reported earning $1.3 million from 2015 to 2017. He donated roughly $16,000 during that time.

Jealous’ records show an average taxable income of $443,000, primarily for his work as a venture capitalist with California-based Kapor Capital. The firm invests in start-ups that work on social problems.

Jealous, who is divorced, paid an average of $18,000 a year in Maryland taxes as well as paying some local taxes in New Jersey in 2016 and 2017.

A spokeswoman for the Jealous campaign, Jerusalem Demsas, dismissed Hogan’s disclosure.

“After three years, Larry Hogan finally releases his tax returns, signaling yet again election year politics is more important than simply doing the right thing from the very beginning,” she said.

The effort for gubernatorial candidates to release their tax returns was led by state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno, who released his tax returns and called on his opponents to join him. Madaleno finished fifth in last month’s Democratic primary.

In 2010, Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. released his tax returns during his unsuccessful bid to unseat Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, who released his the next day. In 2014 neither Hogan nor his Democratic rival, then-Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, released theirs.

The issue of whether candidates should release their tax returns has been in the news frequently since President Donald Trump broke with tradition and refused to release his during the 2016 campaign or since then.

The Maryland Senate voted in favor of a bill this year to require candidates for president and vice president to release their tax returns if they wished to appear on Maryland ballots, but the legislation died in the House of Delegates.

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