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Branstad Tax Return Shows Income Just Over $234,000

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DES MOINES, Iowa Despite a continuing loss on a bank investment, Gov. Terry Branstad and his wife reported an income of approaching a quarter million dollars in 2013.

The Branstads, according to tax returns made public April 16, had an adjusted gross income of $234,907. Their net federal and state taxes after deducting refunds were $28,298 and $6,235, respectively.

Their primary source of income was the governor's salary of $127,072 and his IPERS pension of $54,749. The governor also reported an IRA distribution of $35,152 due to the death of a relative. The Branstads, who file jointly, also showed $22, 214 in capital gains. Most of that was from the sale of LBI Liberty Bank -- shares.

In sharing the Branstads' 80-plus page tax returns with reporters, Chief of Staff Matt Hinch said it was important to note that the governor and his wife had contributed a "significant" amount to charities. They gave $40,336 or 17.2 percent of their adjusted gross income to a variety of charities, many related to the Catholic church they attend and Catholic schools. Others included groups supporting cancer and heart research, Girl Scouts, Food Bank of Iowa, Iowa Homeless Youth Center and the Terrace Hill Foundation.

"The governor, as many of you know, grew up in a very low-income family and he has a great understanding of the needs of folks who are less fortunate," Hinch said. "He takes the responsibility of giving back very seriously and wants to help Iowans and help the community in ways that he knows will strengthen the state and the community.

"This is something very important to the governor and, I think, it reflects not only in his words and actions as the state's chief executive, but also in his tax returns," Hinch said.

IRS data shows the average charitable contribution for filers in the Branstads' tax bracket is about $5,800, he added. If the Branstads had made charitable contributions in that amount, their effective federal tax rate would have been 17 percent, Hinch said. Instead, it was 12.05 percent.

Hinch noted it was the 24th time the five-term Republican governor and his wife have made their tax returns public.

"It's part of his commitment to transparency and openness to Iowans," he said. "The governor believes it is very important, paramount for public officials to act in an open and transparent manner by releasing their tax returns."

That seemed to be a subtle jab at Democratic challenger Sen. Jack Hatch, who Tuesday released his 2013 returns, but has not made returns from previous years public.

The Branstad campaign was less subtle.

"What is Jack Hatch hiding and why is he so afraid of releasing his tax returns?" Branstad campaign spokesman Tommy Schultz asked.

The Branstads took no federal tax credits, but claimed a $1,300 Catholic School Tuition Organization state tax credit, according to their accountant, Jamie Ward. The Branstads had a small deduction for mortgage interest on the purchase of a new home in 2013, she said.

The Branstads also utilized the state 529 college savings plan, setting aside more than $18,000 for their six grandchildren's future college costs, Hinch said.

Like Hatch, Branstad released a letter from his physician, who reported after a February physical, he found the governor "in good health and have no concerns regarding his health and capacity to work."

The governor, 67, is on a strict diet and physical regimen to fit into his Vietnam War era Army uniform by Memorial Day, Hinch said. Branstad said Tuesday he had 4.5 pounds to lose to meet his goal.

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