The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

April 15, 2014

Bentley releases tax return, still not receiving income from being governor

— Gov. Robert Bentley's tax returns show he's still not receiving any income from being governor, but he and his wife reported an adjusted gross income of $372,687 for 2013.

Of that, $232,881 resulted from Bentley selling his interest in the building where his medical practice was in Tuscaloosa. Much of the remainder was from IRA distributions and Social Security.

The governor and first lady reported paying $81,442 in federal taxes and $10,460 in state taxes. They also made cash donations of $15,086 to charities.

Bentley has been releasing his tax returns every year since he ran for governor in 2010. The income was the most he's reported since he had $340,698 for 2009, but much of that income came from his last year in full-time medical practice, not from selling assets.

Bentley's accountant, Mike Echols, said today that Bentley has been selling assets since becoming governor. The position would normally pay nearly $121,000 per year, but Bentley doesn't take a salary.

He campaigned on a platform of not taking a salary as governor until Alabama's unemployment rate drops to 5.2 percent. He's getting closer: Alabama's most recent unemployment figure was 6.1 percent.

Bentley also campaigned on government transparency. He released his 2009 tax return during the campaign and has continued making public his federal and state tax returns every year since then. He is the only statewide-elected official in Alabama who does that and the only candidate in the 2014 race for governor who has released his returns.

On Bentley's 2013 return, he and his wife, Dianne, reported $82,500 in IRA distributions, $20,281 in income for renting the medical building for six months before selling his interest, and $37,014 in Social Security benefits.

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