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The widow Heinz's tax-exempt fortune buoyed by our bucks(Lovey!)
The Boston Herald ^ | May 14,2004 | Howie Carr

Posted on 05/14/2004 6:02:16 AM PDT by Redcoat LI

The widow Heinz's tax-exempt fortune buoyed by our bucks By Howie Carr Recent Columns by Howie Carr Friday, May 14, 2004

``We don't pay taxes,'' Leona Helmsley famously said in 1989. ``Only the little people pay taxes.''

Leona Helmsley, meet Teresa Heinz Kerry, second wife of the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Sen. John Forbes Kerry of Massachusetts.

Kerry's campaign issued a ``summary'' of Teresa's 2003 income taxes this week - a couple of hours after the release of the video of the beheading of Nicholas Berg in Iraq. The Kerry campaign is often criticized for its stumbles, but in this case, their tactic succeeded brilliantly. Coverage of Teresa's taxes has been minimal.

The widow of the late Sen. John Heinz, Teresa is worth $550 million, owns at least five mansions and controls a corporation that owns a Gulfstream V private jet worth $35 million. The widow Heinz, who is five years older than her second husband, does pay taxes, but only up to a point. Last year, according to the ``summary,'' she paid income taxes of about $750,000 on an income of $5.1 million.

That works out to less than 15 percent of her income, because over half of her income - $2.8 million - came from tax-exempt interest on government bonds.

In other words, in addition to the $45,000 a week on which she did pay taxes, Mrs. John Kerry [related, bio] last year collected another $56,000 a week upon which she paid zero taxes.

``I think there's a lot of unfairness today in America in the way taxpayers are treated,'' her husband explained on the Fox News Channel last January, without naming names. ``The average worker really ends up with the raw end of the deal as big corporations and powerful people walk off with the money. That has to change.''

Even the pro-Kerry Boston Globe described Teresa's untaxable bond holdings as ``vast,'' but just how vast is a matter of conjecture - at the very least $50 million, according to one accountant. The best source of information about Teresa's wealth comes from her husband's Senate financial disclosure reports, which, to be fair, are listed on his campaign Web site.

But the asset and income categories set up by Congress are notoriously vague. Consider her holdings in Scranton Lackawanna Health and Welfare Authority bonds. On the Senate forms, she says the bonds are worth between $100,001 and $250,000, and they throw off income of between $5,001 and $15,000. The bonds pay 5.1 percent interest.

Teresa, a share-the-wealth kind of gal in her public pronouncements, also owns more than a million dollars in bonds issued by the Allegheny County Port Authority. Last year they threw off between $50,001 and $100,000 in tax-free dividends, which Democrats often call ``unearned income.''

Most investors stick with bonds issued in their home states, which shelters them against state income taxes. But when you're worth $550 million, you have to diversify.

Teresa has bond holdings from at least 14 states, plus Puerto Rico. She's invested in O'Hare Airport bonds in Chicago, for example, in addition to bonds issued by four New York City or state authorities.

Of course there's nothing wrong with owning tax-free bonds. But the fact remains, they are guaranteed by ``revenue streams,'' i.e., taxes paid for by people who, say, travel through O'Hare, or pay sewerage bills in Lackawanna.

And their hard-earned dollars go to finance the lavish lifestyles of gold diggers and gigolos who made their money the old-fashioned way - they married it.

You might even argue that tax-exempt bonds are ``reverse Robin Hood, taking from the middle class and giving to the wealthiest Americans.''

John Kerry said that, in January, on National Public Radio. He wasn't referring to his wife's investment strategies, of course.

So what should be done about all these plutocrats, driving around in their families' SUVs, piloting million-dollar powerboats, buying $7,000 bicycles and diverting streams in Idaho to water the lawns in front of their skiing-resort mansions?

``We need to ask the wealthiest people in our country,'' Sen. Kerry said last September, ``to bear some of the burden.''

Somewhere, Leona Helmsley is blushing.


TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2004; howiecarr; johnkerry; kerry; leonahelmsley; nottooswiftboat; sugarmama; taxevasion; taxreturn; teresaheinz; yacht

1 posted on 05/14/2004 6:02:17 AM PDT by Redcoat LI
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To: Redcoat LI

"And their hard-earned dollars go to finance the lavish lifestyles of gold diggers and gigolos who made their money the old-fashioned way - they married it."


2 posted on 05/14/2004 6:03:49 AM PDT by Redcoat LI (What Is Man That Thou Art Mindful of Him)
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To: Redcoat LI

What I don't get is that if her fortune is $550 million, why is her income only $5 million?

I know interest rates are low, but surely she could do better than this.


3 posted on 05/14/2004 6:05:28 AM PDT by proxy_user
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To: Redcoat LI

"second wife of the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Sen. John Forbes Kerry "

Shouldn't that be PRESUMPTIOUS?.........


4 posted on 05/14/2004 6:07:20 AM PDT by Red Badger (If everyone is SPECIAL then NO ONE IS SPECIAL...............)
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To: Little Bill; 54-46 Was My Number; acapesket; AdrianSpidle; agitator; AHAB; airforce19811985; ...

Fat Bastard Ping.


5 posted on 05/14/2004 6:08:36 AM PDT by Redcoat LI (What Is Man That Thou Art Mindful of Him)
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To: proxy_user

Taxable and tax-exempt income is not true economic income. A lot of her assets are probably things like real estate, paintings, stock and the like. There would be no taxable or tax-exempt income on those until sold.


6 posted on 05/14/2004 6:09:30 AM PDT by conservative in nyc
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To: proxy_user
What I don't get is that if her fortune is $550 million, why is her income only $5 million?

As Usual,I'm Clueless.

Perhaps A More Financially-Savvy Freeper Could Explain This.

7 posted on 05/14/2004 6:11:33 AM PDT by Redcoat LI (What Is Man That Thou Art Mindful of Him)
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To: Redcoat LI

See post 6.


8 posted on 05/14/2004 6:14:15 AM PDT by conservative in nyc
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To: EQAndyBuzz

Fat Bastard Ping.


9 posted on 05/14/2004 6:15:23 AM PDT by Redcoat LI (What Is Man That Thou Art Mindful of Him)
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To: conservative in nyc

Thank You.


10 posted on 05/14/2004 6:16:18 AM PDT by Redcoat LI (What Is Man That Thou Art Mindful of Him)
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To: Redcoat LI

The cost of municipal borrowing would almost double if those borrowings were taxable. That would mean an increase in taxes to maintain the same level of municipal (state, county, municipal, and their related entities).

Just for informational purposes, I used to 'trade' munis as part of my investment management duties for 5 different banks. I'm also sure their are many republicans, conservatives, and independents that own tax-exempt muni bonds (RANS, TANS, BANS,& GO). No big deal - move on.


11 posted on 05/14/2004 6:22:52 AM PDT by familyofman
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To: proxy_user
What I don't get is that if her fortune is $550 million, why is her income only $5 million?

This is her reported income for tax purposes. Her real income is probably much higher. Some of it is unrealized capital gains (assets went up in value, but she didn't sell them, so no tax is due).

The wealthy play by a different set of rules...

12 posted on 05/14/2004 6:26:15 AM PDT by CurlyDave
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To: familyofman

Yes,

But Given Horsefaces Statements:

"reverse Robin Hood, taking from the middle class and giving to the wealthiest Americans.''
And
"We need to ask the wealthiest people in our country,'' Sen. Kerry said last September, ``to bear some of the burden.''

There Is Nothing Wrong With The Way She Invests Her Money,Either Legally Or Morally,But If J.F'n K. Wants To Stumble Around The Country Calling Himself "The Man Of The People",it Looks Slightly Hypocritical.


13 posted on 05/14/2004 6:30:36 AM PDT by Redcoat LI (What Is Man That Thou Art Mindful of Him)
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To: conservative in nyc

But her Heinz stock yields 2.9%.

I suspect that she enjoys very substantial write-offs from real estate investments.

The article notes that income taxes totalled $750K, but fails to note that this includes state income tax.

Her average Federal income tax rate was just over 10% ...
that's the average rate paid by wage earner with taxable income less $7000 per year. For married individuals filing separate returns, wage earners making taxable income between $7000-$28,000 per year pay a marginal federal income tax rate of 15% -- a rate almost 50% higher than the widow Heinz' average rate!

The article's slam on tax-exempt status of municipal bonds is largely bogus, though. Municipalities pay interest rates much lower than the market rate because of the tax-exempt characteristic of municipal bonds.

But it's thesis is absolutely correct: Kerry and his ilk are slimy, hypocritical demogogues.


14 posted on 05/14/2004 6:31:52 AM PDT by RBroadfoot
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To: Redcoat LI

"I am Elmer F. Dudd .... my wife owns five mansions and a yacht."

15 posted on 05/14/2004 6:38:05 AM PDT by mikrofon (He-he-he-he-he-he)
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To: proxy_user

In addition to what others have said, I gather about half her income is from tax-free municipal bonds, which usually have a lower rate of return than taxable investments because they're tax-free.


16 posted on 05/14/2004 6:38:44 AM PDT by maryz
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To: RBroadfoot

Her average federal rate was 11%, only if you don't take into account that interest on tax-exempt bonds is not taxable. She paid federal and state taxes on her taxable income at a rate of 32%, which is not too unusual. The AMT rate would be 28% for her, but only 15% on dividends. She had both interest and dividend income.

I didn't know the Kerry financial disclosure statements were on-line. When I have more time (perhaps this weekend), I'll look to see if there's any there there.

I doubt the story of her refusing to release her full returns with attachments has anything to do with the income shown on it. It more likely has to do with the income that doesn't show up on it due to estate planning, tax shelter and other related possibly legal, possibly dubious --- but definitely difficult to explain to the Democratic base --- items that you'd only be able to tell from looking at the attachments to the returns. She has promised to release the first two pages of her 1040 when filed in October.


17 posted on 05/14/2004 6:41:22 AM PDT by conservative in nyc
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To: Redcoat LI
And their hard-earned dollars go to finance the lavish lifestyles of gold diggers and gigolos who made their money the old-fashioned way - they married it.

I hate to be on Teresa's side, but what incentive would there be to buy such low yielding bonds unless they were tax-exempt? How would a town or state finance their debt without rich people willing to buy it?
18 posted on 05/14/2004 6:46:41 AM PDT by LetsRok
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To: Redcoat LI
Don't knock this form of investment. To Invest in local and state bonds is highly encouraged by the feds. It helps fund projects at a lower interest cost.

The bond market has tanked and those holding bonds must keep them at the low interest rate. Saying that the holders are tax shirkers is wrong. Any person who can invest over millions is really dumb to invest in securities that could be taxable or loose capital that you invested. If Inron let its people invest for themselves, they would have money today
19 posted on 05/14/2004 7:08:55 AM PDT by primatreat (Go mac and you will never go back!)
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To: mountaineer; Timeout; Dog; lysie; prairiebreeze; Peach

Woo Woo! Take a look at this.


20 posted on 05/14/2004 7:39:42 AM PDT by Iowa Granny (Impersonating June Cleaver since 1967)
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To: Iowa Granny

"Only the little people pay taxes" said one of the wealthiest women in America.

As Barbara Bush famously said, I have a word for her and it rhymes with rich.


21 posted on 05/14/2004 7:43:00 AM PDT by Peach
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To: Redcoat LI
That 5.1 million is only reportable income. It would be interesting to see the deductions to that income. She likely had more like $7-10 mil before she deducted the Gulfstream and various toys. Yaaaawn never raised taxes on himself, only us.

Pray for W and Our Troops

22 posted on 05/14/2004 7:47:10 AM PDT by bray (Diversity Divides, Jesus Unites!)
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: willstayfree
Wonder if she had any OFF SHORE shelters??? Like the Heinz Megacorp isn't an offshore shelter to begin with. Do those slave laborers have healthcare???

Pray for W and Our Brave Troops

24 posted on 05/14/2004 8:21:42 AM PDT by bray (Diversity Divides, Jesus Unites!)
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To: CurlyDave
Some of it is unrealized capital gains (assets went up in value, but she didn't sell them, so no tax is due).

The wealthy play by a different set of rules...

So since my Condo has appreciated 300K in 8 years I'm one of those "different set of rules" guys too? I don't think so...

Just because someone owns an asset that increases in value doesn't mean they need to become a class warfare target, even if they are liberal\socialist scum...

25 posted on 05/14/2004 8:26:00 AM PDT by Axenolith
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To: Axenolith
Nobody here has a problem with the rich, since most of us want to join that club. What we have a problem is the "do as I say not as I do" Limolibs or Gulfstreamlibs in Yaaaawn's case! Let's see their tax returns since filing separately is only an accounting gimmick.

Pray for W and Our Brave Troops

26 posted on 05/14/2004 8:32:53 AM PDT by bray (Diversity Divides, Jesus Unites!)
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To: Redcoat LI

"There Is Nothing Wrong With The Way She Invests Her Money,Either Legally Or Morally,..."

Period, end of discussion. If there is nothing wrong with her actions, drop it. Unless you are proposing a different standard for her.


27 posted on 05/14/2004 8:51:57 AM PDT by familyofman
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To: proxy_user

Unless she rents out the manions, cars, clothes, etc. they produce no income.


28 posted on 05/14/2004 8:56:11 AM PDT by cinFLA
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To: Redcoat LI; proxy_user
What I don't get is that if her fortune is $550 million, why is her income only $5 million? As Usual,I'm Clueless...Perhaps A More Financially-Savvy Freeper Could Explain This.

Lousy investment advice or very good tax advice. No way of knowing without the tax forms.

29 posted on 05/14/2004 9:04:50 AM PDT by SJackson (Arab leaders don't give a damn whether the refugees live or die, R. Garroway, UNWRA director, 8/58)
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To: RBroadfoot; CurlyDave

I didn't bother to go back to the stories, but my recolection is that the $5 million figure described in the "summary" was her adjusted gross, which would be pre-deductions.


30 posted on 05/14/2004 9:06:17 AM PDT by SJackson (Arab leaders don't give a damn whether the refugees live or die, R. Garroway, UNWRA director, 8/58)
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To: RBroadfoot; newgeezer

But Rush says the rich people are paying most of the taxes!!


31 posted on 05/14/2004 9:14:41 AM PDT by biblewonk (No man can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them.)
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To: biblewonk

"But Rush says the rich people are paying most of the taxes!!"

Look at it this way - the rich and powerful write the tax laws. Who do you think they favor when writing them, themselves or the poor/working class? If you wrote the tax laws - who would you favor - me or you? Face it folks, if you're not wealthy & have power - say hello to the short end of all the sticks.


32 posted on 05/14/2004 9:23:02 AM PDT by familyofman
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To: bray
Nobody here has a problem with the rich, since most of us want to join that club.

I agree. If I had the wealth of Teresa, I'd probably invest in a few tax-free bonds myself. Who wants to pay more taxes than are absolutely necessary? (Truth be told, my decidedly middle-class spouse and I have invested in a tax-free bond fund through our stock broker). The point is "what does she do with her money"? If I had her $500-600 million, I'd probably give away at least 99 percent of it immediately, without buying a single Gulfstream or multi-zillion dollar mansion. But that's just me.

33 posted on 05/14/2004 1:39:52 PM PDT by mountaineer
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