The California State Assembly just responded definitively to President Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns. They passed a bill that would require all presidential candidates to release their tax information before they can be put on the state’s ballot.
The bill is called the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act. It had no trouble passing the state assembly with a 42-18 vote, and will now move to the state Senate for a concurrence vote. The final stage will be getting the California Governor to sign it.
“President Trump’s blatant disregard for the tradition of releasing tax returns is dangerous to our democracy,” Senator Mike McGuire (D), an author of the bill, said in a statement. “For decades, every President has put their personal beliefs aside and put our country first and released their returns. SB 149 helps to re-establish desperately needed transparency in the White House, and we are looking forward to seeing the Governor’s signature on the bill,” McGuire continued.
In the future, every presidential candidate would be required to release the last five years of their tax returns if they want to appear on the state ballot. This information would be made available to the public on the California Secretary of State’s website.
Another author of the bill, Sen. Scott Wiener (D), said that the legislation is about “giving the American people the honesty and transparency they deserve.”
“As the months continue to go by in the disastrous Trump Administration and the investigations and conflicts of interest pile up, it becomes more and more clear how critical basic transparency is in how we elect our president,” Wiener said in a statement.
There is a similar bill that was introduced earlier this year in New York state. That legislation would force the state to publicly post the state tax returns of anyone elected in a statewide election to federal or state office.
President Trump is the first candidate in decades that did not reveal his tax returns. He defended his decision by saying that he would not release them until the IRS finished their audit, but the IRS responded that an audit does not prevent people from releasing their own information.
What do you think about what California just did? Good idea or bad idea?
Credit: The Hill