Mirroring their poll numbers for next year's possible gubernatorial race, Gov. George E. Pataki also finds himself trailing far behind Attorney General Eliot Spitzer when it comes to personal income, according to an examination of their income tax returns Friday.
Spitzer, who has been riding high in recent polls in hypothetical matchups against Pataki, saw his 2004 family income double to $1.45 million. The likely Democratic candidate's income was boosted largely by New York City real estate investments.
The governor, who sold off some state land holdings while he and his wife made real estate purchases in Florida and New Mexico, had a family income of $528,000 -- a modest increase from the $517,000 he reported in 2003.
Spitzer and his wife, Silda Wall, reported giving $74,254, about 5 percent of their income, to charitable groups. Pataki and his wife, Libby, donated $6,965, or slightly over 1 percent.
Spitzer's income shows he had about $5 million in various stock and municipal bond holdings. Real estate income -- about $1.3 million -- came from property in Manhattan he owns with his father and siblings.
The Patakis continued to expand their out-of-state real estate holdings. The couple last spring bought a Palm Beach, Fla., house for $360,000, which they rent out for about $1,000 a month. Libby Pataki also has a partnership with an old friend of the governor's for investments in a Georgia commercial building; the partnership also bought a New Mexico commercial property last year.
The governor also sold 94 acres of land for $94,000 in Washington County; he has 38 acres of the property left. He also reported a $56,000 loss on farm income -- alfalfa was listed as the crop -- on a 370-acre spread he owns along Lake Champlain.
The governor made $263,400 last year, most of it from his $179,000 state salary. But he also continued his out-of-state speechmaking. He made five speeches -- for $84,000 -- to various groups in Florida and California, including a drug company, real estate management firm and utility company interests.
The governor's wife, who in past years has made more than her husband, brought in $243,500 last year. Other than a $4,500 speech to a California women's group, the money came from her work as an adviser and consultant to a politically connected Manhattan business -- cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder -- as well as several charitable groups, including the Wheelchair Foundation.
Spitzer and Pataki split on the use of Line 56 -- which for two years in a row has asked taxpayers to voluntarily report sales taxes owed on out-of-state purchases. Pataki reported zero on the line, while Spitzer put down $200.
The Patakis paid $168,000 in state and federal taxes last year. The Spitzers paid $617,000 in taxes last year. The governor's charitable contributions include the Salvation Army and the Yale University football club; two of his children go to Yale. The Spitzers' contributions include food donation to a rescue mission in Albany.