Paging John Murtha’s Accountant

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State Rep. John Murtha recently made statements to a newspaper reporter that he believes he owed state taxes in 2007 – but he didn’€™t have any additional details to offer or know the amount paid. Given that he has paid no state income taxes during the last several years, Rep. Murtha’€™s inability to recall whether he owes taxes in 2007 raises questions about his candor and credibility.

An article in Monday’€™s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the Baldwin Republican paid no state income taxes in 2004, 2005 and 2006. When asked whether he paid in 2007, as no records were available at the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, ‘€œMurtha said he believed he owed taxes for 2007, but he didn’€™t know the amount.’€  How can Rep. Murtha not recall if he owes taxes this year or not? One would think that he would know if after several years he suddenly had to pay state income taxes again. If he did want to clear up this question, it would appear to be a simple task in that he could have opened his checkbook or called his accountant.

In 2006, Murtha touted his support for the disastrous TABOR bill, which would have slashed school funds, police officers, fire fighters and municipal road services, to the RiverTown Newspaper Group. They reported that, ‘€œAs a representative, Murtha says his number one priority would be to defend the taxpayer.’€

According to his Statement of Economic Interests, Murtha owns Murtha Sanitation, a Baldwin hauling business that provides roll off sanitation boxes to businesses and individuals, as well as Murtha Properties. As required by the Government Accountability Board, the Statement of Economic Interests lists dozens of customers, clients and tenants who did at least $1,000 worth of business with Murtha. When asked why he didn’€™t owe state taxes for the time period cited by the Journal Sentinel, Murtha said, ‘€œWe didn’€™t make any money.’€

Speaking of making money, as a legislator, Murtha is paid $47,413 annually. This includes $88 per day in per diem, which is not subject to tax. In 2007, Murtha reported $6,952 in per diem payment, a total of 79 days working at the Capitol. Hopefully the completed 2007 tax records will show Murtha was truthful in his statements to the newspaper reporter earlier this week.

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