New York Democratic lawmakers are trying to pass legislation that would require the state to release a president, vice president, or other elected official’s state tax returns if filed in New York.
The bill, introduced in both the Assembly and the Senate, would require the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (NYSDTF) to “release five years of state tax information” for all statewide elected officials, including the President of the United States, within 30 days of their taking office, the Associated Press reported.
The bill would also require these office holders’ returns to be released for each year going forward.
New York state “is in a unique position to change the national conversation” because President Trump is a native New Yorker, said Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), who sponsored the Senate version of the bill.
“This is drawing a line in the sand: Are you for transparency or not?” Hoylman said. “This is an issue of national security.”
The Democrat-majority Assembly is likely to support the bill, but the measure is not likely to gain much favor in the Republican-led Senate.
The GOP is “always happy to have a serious discussion about what constitutes sound public policy for the state of New York, but this sounds like a P.R. stunt,” said Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif.
The requirement would also apply to the state’s two U.S. senators and top state officials, such as Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), but it stops short of requiring all public officials at the state and local levels to release their tax returns, the Albany Times Union reported.
Schneiderman and Cuomo have released their tax returns voluntarily for years.
State and federal tax returns are considered personal information and are not subject to public scrutiny, although every president since former President Jimmy Carter has released his tax returns.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that Trump “has no intention” of releasing his tax returns to the public and that Americans already have “plenty of information” about his finances.
Trump has said that he would release his tax returns only after the Internal Revenue Service completes an “audit” of them.