Time was, candidates for prominent office in Massachusetts were expected to make their tax returns public. Ted Kennedy, whose career began before that norm was established, was one of few who wouldn’t. Then, in his 2002 gubernatorial campaign, Mitt Romney refused as well. Next came Deval Patrick, who, citing Kennedy’s (bad) example, also said no.
In this campaign, however, Charlie Baker, the likely Republican nominee for governor, has bucked that lamentable trend away from transparency. He recently released three years of his tax returns and called on his rivals to join him.
The other major gubernatorial candidates have now all either released or agreed to release their returns or make them available for media scrutiny. That marks a welcome change from the Kennedy-Romney-Patrick stance. It means voters will have a chance to learn, among other things, the amount and sources of the candidates’ income, what deductions they took, and which charitable contributions they made. Kudos to Baker for setting the right example.