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Thursday
Sep222011

Rep. Fleming Says He Has Only $200K to Feed His Family

Fleming [dot] House [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- Republicans have decried the president's proposal to increase taxes for the wealthiest citizens, saying the move could hurt small businesses and the economy.

Rep. John Fleming, R-La., a physician and business owner, has become a lightening rod for criticism after he went on news shows to lobby against raising taxes.  He said President Obama's proposed tax increase, including the "Buffett Rule" which will raise taxes for some individuals with more than $1 million in income, is a job killer.

Fleming said "most small businesses in this country today are taxed at the individual level as Corporation LLC.  So whatever is cut out of those earnings is money taken out of capital for reinvestment for creating more jobs and opening up more locations," he said.

Fleming has a $6.3 million gross annual income, but his net income is about $600,000, he told MSNBC this week.  Fleming's net worth is $9.5 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics' research based on his personal financial disclosures.  Fleming, however, is not included in Roll Call's list of the 50 richest members of Congress.

"You can see his worth even in Congress is well above the average," Michael Beckel, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, told ABC News.

Some liberal bloggers have criticized the Congressman, saying that many American families are struggling to get by on a fraction of what he takes home.

"What happens is, in my own case -- my own LLCs -- the income flows to my personal tax return, whatever is left over after taxes are paid, I feed my family on the one hand and on the other hand I reinvest in my business," Rep. Fleming said.  "By the time I feed my family I have, maybe, $400,000 left over to invest in new locations, upgrade my locations, buy more equipment."

Beckel said spending $200,000 to support his wife and four adult children is a "sizeable safety net" at $33,333 a person.

"Most Americans don't budget $200,000 a year to feed their family.  That would be a luxury that most Americans would have to put on their table," Beckel said.  In Louisiana, where Fleming resides, the cost of living is below the national average.

Rep. Fleming did not return a request for comment.

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