NY senator plans measure requiring presidential candidates to release tax returns
A New York state senator will offer legislation that would require presidential candidates to make their tax returns public after President-elect Donald Trump broke decades of precedent by refusing to disclose how much he paid in taxes.
State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D) will introduce the Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public Act — the TRUMP Act — when New York’s legislature convenes next year. The bill would require candidates to submit five years’ worth of federal taxes with New York’s state Board of Elections 50 days prior to a general election.
New York’s electoral college members would be prohibited from voting for any candidate who did not file their tax returns. Any candidate who refuses to submit the returns would be barred from the state’s ballot.
“For over four decades, tax returns have given voters an important window into the financial holdings and potential conflicts-of-interest of presidential candidates,” Hoylman said in a statement. “Sadly, President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly refused to release copies of his federal income taxes prior to the election, denying voters this crucial information. This isn’t normal.”
Presidential candidates, like any candidates for federal office, are required to file personal financial disclosure reports with the Federal Election Commission. Those forms show a candidate’s assets and liabilities, though in broad financial ranges that offer fewer hints than a tax form. Trump’s disclosure form claimed his net worth was in excess of $10 billion.
Polls conducted before the election showed voters wanted to see Trump’s tax returns. Documents published by The New York Times showed Trump declared a loss of $916 million on his 1995 income taxes, which meant he could have legally avoided paying taxes for as many as 18 years.
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