New Jersey Lawmakers Force Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns

Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey have passed legislation forcing all presidential candidates from the state to release their tax returns to get on the ballot, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.

The state’s legislator has approved the bill and now requires the signature of Gov. Chris Christie, who himself stood as a candidate in the 2015 Republican presidential primary before dropping out in February 2016 and endorsing President Trump.

If enacted, the bill rules that the New Jersey electoral college voters would not be allowed to cast a vote for a candidate if he or she had not disclosed his or her full tax returns.

The proposals have come about following the furor surrounding Trump’s tax returns, a portion of which was released this week, showing that he had paid $38 million in federal income taxes on a reported income of $150 million.

The tax return, dated 2005, gave him an effective tax rate of around 25 percent, well above the rates most very wealthy people paid in the same year.

This month, a letter signed by the majority of the Democratic caucus urged the chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee to demand a copy of Trump’s tax returns dating back to 2007.

However, the call was rejected, with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) arguing that the priority of Congress was to “fix America’s broken tax code – not to target the tax returns of individual citizens.”

Democratic legislators in states such as New Mexico, Hawaii, Oregon, and California are pursuing similar bills to enforce the release of tax returns.

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