New York, NY – Congressman Charles B. Rangel issued the following statement in response to Gov. Mitt Romney's remarks saying 47% of the American people do not pay federal income taxes and nearly half of voters are "dependent upon government":
"Nothing can be further from the truth than Gov. Romney's ridiculous remarks that nearly half of American people do not pay federal income taxes. The 47 percent figure cited by the Republican presidential candidate covers only the federal income tax and ignores the fact that people may pay a higher percentage of their income on a wide variety of taxes.
Everyone pays taxes. Lower income persons pay state and local, property, excise and sales taxes. In fact, when all federal, state, and local taxes are taken into account, the bottom fifth of households pays about 16 percent of their incomes in taxes, on average. The second-poorest fifth pays about 21 percent. This is higher than what the Governor has paid in income taxes. He has absolutely no moral authority to accuse nearly half of the American people of being irresponsible and freeloaders.
Many of his millionaire and billionaire friends -- approximately 55,000 -- are paying lower taxes than millions of middle-class Americans. In fact, in 2009, 1,500 millionaires managed to pay no federal income taxes on their millions. Before he judges other people about paying federal income taxes, Gov. Romney should come clean about the tax returns he's hiding from voters.
If Republicans believe that everybody should pay taxes, then they should also believe that everyone should have a living wage. In Congress, I would like work with a President who supports a legislative agenda that would help lift American people out of poverty instead of believing that they are 'victims' who depend on government handouts to survive."