Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd and his wife had $30.1 million in taxable income in the last two years, according to federal income tax returns provided to the USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee.
Just last year, Boyd and his wife Jenny had $25.3 million in total income and $17.2 million in taxable income. In 2015, their total income was $17.1 million, with $12.9 million as taxable income.
The release from the Knoxville entrepreneur — who initially declined to provide such tax information while simultaneously suggesting he might do so at a later date — provides a first-of-its-kind look at Boyd's personal wealth.
In early October, the USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee asked all seven top-tier candidates for governor for copies of their federal income tax returns from 2013 to 2016.
Boyd owns a multitude of businesses, including Radio Systems Corp., a company that owns several brands including Invisible Fence; two minor league baseball teams; and a Knoxville-based Scottish-themed bar. Radio Systems Corp. alone employs more than 700 employees and has annual revenues in excess of $400 million.
Boyd's financial standing allowed him to not take a salary when he served as the state's economic development commissioner from January 2015 to February 2017. He also personally paid for his travel as commissioner.
While Boyd did not provide his tax returns or a summary statement for 2013 and 2014, he released copies of his 1040s from 2015 and 2016.
He vowed to continue to release his taxes should he be elected the state's next governor.
"I'm not a professional politician. I'm a businessman," he said in a statement. "So I think it is a legitimate issue to see whether our elected officials are being good stewards of our tax dollars and if they are personally enriching themselves in any way while serving in public office."
Boyd also vowed to forgo a state salary and pay for his own expenses if he becomes governor.
After Boyd's release of his tax information, Williamson County businessman Bill Lee and former state Sen. Mae Beavers — both Republicans — are the only top-tier candidates still not to provide documents showing how much money they earned since 2013.
Boyd's $17 million in earnings in 2016 dwarfed the four other candidates who have previously provided tax information.
Last year, U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Gallatin, and her husband earned $7.2 million. House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, and her husband made $369,000.
House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, and his wife made $454,000 in 2016. The other Democrat in the race — former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean — and his wife earned $2.7 million last year.
Boyd's personal wealth has also provided him the ability to significantly bolster his campaign operations. In July, he put $2 million in personal money towards his run, nearly matching the amount he raised from donors during the first three months of his campaign. New campaign disclosures aren't due until late January.
Money earned through capital gains, dividends
In 2015, the majority of the Boyds' $17.1 million in gross income came from dividends. The campaign said the money came from stock in his business, Radio Systems Corp.
The vast majority of the couple's $25.3 million in gross income in 2016 derived from capital gains — the profit received after selling assets such as stocks, bonds, mutual fund shares and real estate. That year, he earned $24.9 million from capital gains. Boyd's campaign said the money came after the sale of a portion of his Radio Systems Corp. stock.
► Campaign trail: Randy Boyd sets pace in race for Tennessee governor
In the last two years, Boyd and his wife reported earning a total of nearly $331,000 in wages or salaries. A spokesperson for the campaign said the money was from Boyd's salary while with the state but it was refunded. He paid federal taxes on the salary despite never receiving it, the campaign said.
Overall, the Boyds paid $7.5 million in federal income taxes and another $1 million in state taxes in the last two years.
They also made nearly $10.3 million in charitable contributions, donating to more than 100 organizations during the same time period.
By comparison, Black and her husband had $4.1 million in charitable contributions from 2013 to 2016. The Harwells said they have annually given 10 percent of their earnings during the same time period. Dean and his wife have donated $639,000 to various organizations since 2013.
Two Republicans have yet to disclose tax records
Chris Walker, a spokesman for Lee, previously said they do not plan on releasing his tax information, citing a desire to protect Lee's business. Lee is the chairman of Lee Co., which has 1,200 employees and generates $225 million in annual revenue.
Walker reiterated the campaign's previous statement Thursday.
A spokesman for Beavers previously suggested a story about Gov. Bill Haslam's decision to not release his own tax returns while he was running for governor.
When reached via email Thursday, Beavers said if Haslam releases his tax returns for his time in office she would be "happy to release mine each year I am in the governor's office as well."
In the lead-up to the 2010 election, Haslam was the only candidate to not release his federal income tax returns, instead providing a summary of income and taxes paid.
Before Haslam, Tennessee's governors, including Republicans Don Sundquist and Lamar Alexander and Democrats Phil Bredesen and Ned McWherter, had a long-standing tradition of releasing their tax returns.
Advocates for government transparency frequently call for statewide candidates to release their tax returns to provide voters additional knowledge on individuals running for office.