A bill passed by California lawmakers Thursday requires President Trump and all gubernatorial candidates to release their tax returns if they want to be on the state ballot.
Bill SB-27 passed with a 57-17 vote and includes an “urgency clause,” meaning it would take effect immediately.
Reports state that Republican lawmakers argue that the move is unconstitutional, but Democrats approve of it as a way of informing voters about a candidate’s finances.
To get his name on the 2020 primary ballot, the bill requires President Trump to file his tax returns from the past five years with the California state government.
“The information would then be published online, with contact information, Social Security numbers and medical information redacted from the public,” the Sacramento Bee reported.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) said in April that she believes the public wants to see the president’s tax returns and they should get what they want.
“Let me just refer you back to the president of the United States, who has said over 16 times that he would release his tax returns. He confuses it by saying it’s under audit. It does not make any difference if it is under audit. He could release those tax returns,” she said.
“I think that’s a fight that the public wants us to fight,” Waters continued. “They want to see those tax returns. He said he would give those tax returns. Every other president has released those tax returns. And that’s a fight that we should have.”
However, former California governor, Jerry Brown reportedly vetoed an identical bill in 2017, warning that it could become a “slippery slope.”
Today we require tax returns, but what would be next? Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High school report cards? And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power? A qualified candidate’s ability to appear on the ballot is fundamental to our democratic system. For that reason, I hesitate to start down a road that well might lead to an ever escalating set of differing state requirements for presidential candidates.
A co-author of the legislation, Sen. Mike McGuire (D-CA), said it will level the playing field and encourage transparency.
“So far, our current President has done the opposite and it’s time that President Trump steps up, stops with the obstruction, and follows through with 40 years of time-honored tradition that has made this nation’s democracy stronger,” he concluded.