Gov. Rick Scott released three years of tax returns Monday and called on his top Democratic rival, former Gov. Charlie Crist, to do the same.
"I think Charlie Crist will follow our lead and disclose his and his wife's tax returns for 2010, 2011 and 2012," said Scott, who filed jointly with his wife Frances Ann Scott said. "I think he ought to do that right away so every citizen in the state can look at that and because transparency is good for everybody."
A Crist spokesman, Kevin Cate, accepted Scott's challenge and issued one of his own
"Let's do it. And go back further," Cate said via Twitter.
Scott has filed for an extension on his 2013 tax returns, so they couldn't be disclosed.
Unlike many politicians in Florida's Capitol, Scottis decreasing while he's in office.
Scott reported about $8.7 million in adjusted gross income in 2012, a decrease of nearly $572,000 since his tax filing in 2010, before the political newcomer won office. Scott's total tax bill: $1.35 million -- a decrease of about $469,00.
Scott, who released the tax returns on the day he and Crist officially qualified to run for office, pointed out that he released three years of tax returns in 2010 as well. The major difference between then and now is literally technical: This batch of returns isn't available in a PDF format; they have to be read on his website.
Updated paragraph: The following is struck out because, in reviewing the record, Rick Scott either misspoke or his comment was transcribed improperly. "The last person I ran against in the general, the Democratic candidate, didn't do it. But I'm doing it because I believe in transparency," Scott said, pointing out that his finances are in a blind trust to prevent "the appearance of a conflict of interest."
Here's the press release:
Governor Rick Scott today made a sweeping disclosure of his personal finances as he completed the qualifying process as a candidate for reelection, going well beyond the requirements of Florida transparency laws.
The Governor qualified for reelection with the Secretary of State and also filed his financial assets in a personal financial disclosure with the Florida Commission on Ethics to provide the public full transparency. The Governor then immediately placed his assets back into a blind trust. The use of a blind trust avoids even the appearance of a conflict of interest for an elected official, protects the people of Florida from an elected official making decisions based on personal finances, and is recommended by the Florida Commission on Ethics for this reason. In fact, Charlie Crist’s grand jury on ethics reform recommended blind trusts be used by Governors, Lieutenant Governors and Cabinet officials in 2010.
Governor Scott also released his joint tax returns with First Lady Ann Scott for 2010, 2011, and 2012. Governor Scott previously released joint tax returns for 2007, 2008 and 2009 when he ran for office in 2010, even though that release was not required by law. Today’s additional voluntary release of his and the First Lady’s tax returns for 2010, 2011 and 2012 means six years of their tax returns have been made public. He also previously reported a list of his financial assets to the Florida Commission on Ethics when he qualified in 2010. Most Floridians would be surprised to know that Governor Scott refuses to collect a paycheck from the state of Florida.
Governor Scott said, “For the purposes of qualifying as a candidate for reelection, I have disclosed my financial assets today. However, before that and immediately after filing, these assets were under the management of an independent financial professional in a blind trust in order to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
“In order to provide even more transparency to the public, my wife Ann and I also voluntarily released the last three years of our tax returns. I hope that Charlie Crist will follow our lead and take the same steps today by releasing his and his spouse’s tax returns. His immediate public production of these tax returns for 2011 and 2012 is important to provide the people of Florida the transparency they deserve.”