California Passes Bill Requiring Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns or Else

| SEP 15, 2017 | 5:30 PM
Trump in USA hat

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While President Donald Trump and Capitol Hill lawmakers continue to debate everything from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), to health care, to tax reform, California legislators have something far more “important” on their minds:

Donald Trump's tax returns.

As reported by The Hill, the California State Assembly passed a bill on Thursday requiring presidential candidates to release their returns. And if they refuse? They won't be on the state ballot when 2020 rolls around.

The Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act passed the Assembly, 42-18, and will now move on to the state Senate for a vote, and then on to Gov. Jerry Brown (D) for his signature.

State Sen. Mike McGuire (D), a co-author of the bill, released a blistering statement against Trump after the legislation passed:

President Trump’s blatant disregard for the tradition of releasing tax returns is dangerous to our democracy. For decades, every President has put their personal beliefs aside and put our country first and released their returns.

SB 149 helps to reestablish desperately needed transparency in the White House, and we are looking forward to seeing the governor’s signature on the bill.

Another author of the legislation, state Sen. Scott Wiener (D), tore into Trump as well:

“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.”

While there are no laws requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns, SB 149 would require the release of five years of returns, which would then be published online.

Trump bucked tradition, becoming the first presidential candidate in 40 years to refuse to release his returns, with the exception of former President Gerald Ford, who instead released 10 years of summary data.

If the California State Assembly gets its way, that'll change in 2020 — assuming Trump decides to seek reelection, that is. Then again, given his disdain for being boxed in a corner, things could get interesting.

As noted by Washington Examiner, while nearly 30 states introduced similar legislation in early 2016, California would become the only state to approve the legislation.