California legislature passes bill requiring presidential candidates to release tax returns

The California State Assembly on Thursday passed a bill that would require all presidential candidates to release their tax returns prior to being placed on the state’s ballot.

The bill, called the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act, passed the state Assembly on a 42-18 vote and will now head to the state Senate for a concurrence vote before being sent to the governor for his signature.

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“President Trump’s blatant disregard for the tradition of releasing tax returns is dangerous to our democracy,” state Sen. Mike McGuire (D), one of the authors 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 reestablish desperately needed transparency in the White House, and we are looking forward to seeing the Governor’s signature on the bill.”

The bill would require all presidential candidates to release the last five years of their tax returns in order to appear on the California ballot.

The tax returns would be made available to the public on the California Secretary of State’s website.

State Sen. Scott Wiener (D), another author of the bill, said the bill 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,” he said in a statement.

Earlier this year, a New York state lawmaker introduced a similar bill that would force the state to publicly post the state tax returns of anyone elected in a statewide election to federal or state office.

Trump became the first presidential candidate in decades to not disclose his tax returns. He said during the campaign that he wouldn’t release them because of an IRS audit, but the IRS has said that audits don’t prevent people from releasing their own tax information.