The California State Legislature recently passed Senate Bill 27, which requires presidential candidates of any political party to publicly disclose their tax returns in order to qualify for inclusion in California’s official ballot.
The bill, if approved by California Governor Gavin Newson, will require Donald Trump and any Democratic presidential nominee in the forthcoming 2020 General election and every four years thereafter, to make public their most recent tax returns for a 5-year period.
Actually, this is the second time that the bill entitled as the “Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act”, originally introduced by Senator Mike McGuire (Dem-Healdsburg) in 2017, had passed the California State Legislature. The first time though, the bill was vetoed by former California Governor Jerry Brown, who himself did not submit his tax returns for public scrutiny.
This time, approval of said legislation lies in the hands of incumbent California Governor Gavin Newson, who submitted six (6) years of his previous tax returns when he ran for governor. It is widely expected therefore that Governor Newson will affix his signature to signify approval of the bill’s official enactment as a state law.
The 2017 proposal was amended to broaden coverage by including future gubernatorial candidates. Moreover, the amended bill has an urgency clause that will see to its implementation ahead of the deadline for filing of candidacy for the 2020 Presidential Election.
The greater significance of California’s Senate Bill 27, otherwise known as the “Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act” is that California is only one of the 19 states in which legislators had proposed the same legislation. Although, there are some variations to what a state requires or includes on who else will be required, what else are required and how their tax information will be made public.
In giving justification to California’s Senate Bill 27, Senator Scott Wiener (Dem-San Francisco) said
“Voters should have confidence that their president is working for them and not to enrich himself or herself.” “Making public the tax return of a candidate gives voters that confidence and builds trust.’
In the event that the other 18 states follow suit and succeed in enacting such a law, Donald Trump can either file a lawsuit in every state to challenge each legislation, or make it less costly, by simply releasing his tax returns before the deadline for filing of candidacy for the 2020 presidential election. Otherwise, he will not be included in the official ballot of every state that has enacted such a law.
Below is a complete list of the 19 states that have introduced or have pending legislation aimed at enacting a law that will require presidential, vice presidential and/or gubernatorial candidates to release previous income tax returns. The roster qualifies as an all time list, because whether or not the proposed bills are enacted, they will always be regarded as significant aspects of America’s political history.
List of the 19 States that Introduced a Bill Requiring Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns
(Source: National Conference of State Legislatures-NCSL)
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
(Source:National Conference of State Legislatures-NCSL