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Tax Problem Epidemic

The RNC caught a break — just in time. The Congressional seat (NY-20) opened by Kirsten Gillibrand’s elevation to the Senate has been identified by Michael Steele as a top priority. The Democrat Scott Murphy has a tax problem. Yeah, seriously. From a local news paper:

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Monday released documents showing liens the state Department of Taxation and Finance placed in 1999 on a computer software firm that Murphy founded.

The documents show the state placed a $20,805 lien on Small World Software — the company Murphy founded — on July 22, 1999, for taxes due at the end of February 2008. The debt, for unpaid sales tax, was paid on Dec. 29, 1999, according to the documents.The documents also show two other liens — one for $446 for unpaid withholding taxes and another for $298 in unpaid corporate taxes — dating back to 1997. The two smaller liens were still in place as of Monday afternoon, according to state Department of Taxation and Finance Spokeswoman Susan Burns

[. .   .]

Records show the tax liability in question dates to before Murphy’s sale of the company, however, and Murphy was employed by the new owners after the sale until 2000, said Paul Lindsay, another NRCC spokesman.

Murphy said in a subsequent statement that, while he did work for the company that bought Small World Software, he did not have “responsibility for things like taxes and filing various forms with the government.”

The good news for the Democrats: the special election has not yet been set and there may be time to dump Murphy. But will they? Without an op-ed from the New York Times reminding them how bad it looks to nominate tax scofflaws in a recession they might be inclined to tough it out. Then we’ll have our first electoral contest in which voters can register their view on the “taxes for thee but not for me” mindset which seems to be a fixture in Washington D.C. In upstate New York that might not go over so well.


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