Biden among least wealthy senators

Sen. Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, earned $319,853 last year, according to tax returns released Friday, making them one of the least wealthy U.S. Senate families.

The Democratic vice presidential nominee's income also puts him well behind the two major presidential contenders' families. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, has not released her returns.

Biden made 10 years of documents public. His most recent filing listed his Senate income of $161,708, while Jill Biden earned $66,546 from teaching English at Delaware Technical and Community College.

Joe Biden, a U.S. senator from Delaware since 1973, also earned $71,000 in royalties for his 2007 memoir, “Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics,” and $20,500 for a law course he teaches at Widener University.

The Bidens listed $62,954 in itemized deductions, including $14,912 for state and local income taxes and $11,604 for real estate taxes. They also deducted $38,712 in home mortgage interest.

All this left them with a tax bill of $66,273, but because more than that was withheld, they were entitled to a refund of $6,514.

The Bidens also paid $772 in taxes for a housekeeper in their Delaware home.

The Bidens' income is dwarfed by Barack Obama's. The Illinois senator and his wife, Michelle, reported earning $4.2 million last year, much of it from book sales.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain last year reported earning $405,509. The sum included his Senate salary, book royalties and pensions.

The McCains have filed separate returns throughout their 28-year marriage.

Cindy McCain, who is chairwoman of the beer distributorship founded by her parents, reported an income of about $6 million in 2006. She has not released her 2007 returns.

The McCain-Palin campaign says Palin will release her returns, but it has not said when they will be available.