Less than two months before the Nov. 8 general election, Republican candidate for governor Darren Bailey publicly released partial income tax returns that showed ups-and-downs over the past five years, with steep declines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bailey’s campaign released the front two pages of federal tax returns for each year going back to 2017, the year before Bailey was first elected to the Illinois General Assembly as a state representative.
Bailey had repeatedly said he didn’t see the need to release the forms to the public. But since the general election campaign got underway following his primary win in late June, the GOP hopeful for governor has hammered Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker as being a billionaire who is out-of-touch with average Illinoisans.
Because the documents the campaign shared are only the face-sheets for the joint federal tax returns Bailey and his wife, Cynthia, have filed, the information is sparse and the documents do not provide a full picture of the downstate farmer and lawmaker’s financial situation.
Much of Bailey’s wealth is held in thousands of acres of downstate farmland his business, Bailey Family Farms LLC, owns and farms and other assets that aren’t reflected on the income tax forms the campaign released. Bailey is thought to be a millionaire due to his family’s farming operation and farmland, and in his state economic interest records filed earlier this year, he listed a building in Clay County and an investment in Dollar General stores as other assets worth more than $10,000.
“Everything Darren Bailey owns is tied up in the land. There’s a big difference between a man who built a family farm with his bare hands and a billionaire who inherited a trust fund,” Joe DeBose, Bailey’s campaign spokespersonspokesman, said in a statement. “Darren is fighting for working people because he understands the value of hard work. J.B. has abandoned working people because he wouldn’t know an honest day’s work if it slapped him in the face.”
Either way, Bailey’s wealth pales in comparison to Pritzker, who also only releases the top pages of his tax returns and whose net worth Forbes estimates at more $3.6 billion. In addition, the Tribune has previously detailed that much of Pritzker’s wealth is held in domestic and offshore trusts. Pritzker has repeatedly declined to release any tax records related to the trusts.
In Bailey’s federal tax returns, in 2017, he and his wife reported an adjusted gross income of only $1,776, which climbed to $211,108 the following year. Of that total, the Baileys reported $132,416 in taxable income for 2018. That year, they owed $19,183 in taxes. In 2019, the Baileys reported an adjusted gross income of $189,029, of which the couple reported $111,599 in taxable income. The Baileys owed $2,669 on taxes that year.
During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Baileys reported a loss of $164,961 in adjusted gross income. Although it wasn’t detailed in the tax returns, Darren Bailey’s farm business, Bailey Family Farms, that same year received $282,424 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program to compensate farmers for COVID-19 losses, other records show.
And in 2021, Bailey’s first year as a state senator, he and his wife reported a less sizable loss in adjusted gross income of $99,264. The Tribune previously reported that from April 2020 to February 2021, Bailey’s farm business and two other entities he owns, Bailey Family Freight and Virtue House Ministries Christian school run by his wife, received $569,045 in loans from the federal government’s coronavirus business relief Paycheck Protection Program under the Small Business Administration.
As with most PPP loans, Bailey’s were forgiven and in March 2021 Bailey lent his campaign $150,000, the Tribune reported.
Pritzker has yet to make public his 2021 tax returns. He received an extension and is due to file them by Oct. 15, campaign spokesperson Natalie Edelstein said.
In 2020, the governor and first lady M.K. Pritzker reported nearly $5.1 million taxable income on their state return, the highest reported since he took office.
The couple’s state taxable income was $55 million in 2017, the year Pritzker left the private equity firm he ran with his brother to launch his campaign for governor. That figure was significantly higher than the $41.1 million in adjusted gross income the Pritzkers reported on their 2017 federal return. The Bailey campaign has released only federal tax returns.
Source by www.chicagotribune.com