ATLANTA - After weeks of pressure, mayoral candidate Keisha Lance Bottoms has released a portion of her tax returns.
Early Thursday morning, Bottoms released portions of her tax returns dating back to 2010. She posted them on her website where it states, “Keisha Believes Transparency Starts At the Top.”
On November 20, Mary Norwood released her business and personal tax returns dating back to 2009. Norwood said she and her husband have no outstanding debt outside of their home and insisted that the kind of personal fiscal responsibility demonstrated by her tax returns shows what kind of leader she would be for the city going forward.
Norwood and Bottoms, both members of Atlanta's city council, were the top two vote-getters in the general election on November 7 from among a large field, but neither was able to garner the necessary total of 50 percent plus one vote necessary to secure the victory.
Cumming CPA Chris Smith, of CB Smith & Associates, said Norwood's joint filing with her husband show their household income to be strong.
"In 2016, their adjusted gross income was $193,000," he said. Most of that comes from Norwood’s husband, from his retirement account and investments.
Smith would like to see more, to analyze whether the Norwoods’ investments include any potential conflicts of interest.
Bottoms released more limited information, and all that Smith can tell is that she and her husband filed separately. Bottoms did not release her husband’s returns, so it’s impossible to see whether their household income includes any potential conflicts of interest.
“Her adjusted gross income, just for Keisha, in 2016 was over $165,000,” he said.
Smith said that if he were an Atlanta voter, it would be important to know more about the candidates’ personal and business finances.
“A stable, financial personal life lends to a stable leader," Smith said, "but we don’t have enough information, particularly with Ms. Bottoms, to know that.”
While Bottoms posted her limited tax information on her campaign's website, for all to see, Norwood, as of Thursday, had released her tax information only to a few members of the public--including reporters--but not to all, on-line.
There is no law that requires candidates to release their tax returns to the public; whether they choose to disclose, and how much information they choose to disclose, varies from candidate to candidate.