California Presidential Tax Transparency Bill Approved in Senate Elections Committee on Tax Day

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sacramento, CA – Millions of Americans filed their tax returns this week – yet President Donald Trump’s taxes are still a mystery. This is despite the fact the President promised to release his taxes months ago during the campaign.

California is now one step closer to mandating the release of returns with the passage of SB 149 – the Presidential Tax Transparency & Accountability Act. The bill passed the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee with a 4-1 vote on Tuesday. 

Senators Mike McGuire and Scott Wiener’s legislation will require basic tax information to be shared with the American public and require that all presidential candidates release the last 5 years of their tax returns in order to appear on the California ballot. SB 149 was also approved in the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month.

“Transparency is a nonpartisan issue. And it’s transparency that provides the basis for accountability in Government,” said Senator Mike McGuire. “Hundreds of thousands of Americans marched this past weekend demanding President Trump release his taxes, just as every US President has for the past forty years. Presidents are expected to put their own interests aside – whether it be business ties or relationships with a foreign government – for the greater good of our country. And that greater good is America’s security and the protection of its people.”

Contrary to what President Trump has stated in public that Americans don’t care about his tax returns, 74 percent of respondents in the latest national poll on the issue believe President Trump should release his tax returns.

“After the inspiring tax marches all across the country this weekend, it’s even more clear that the American public is demanding that we push for transparency from this President, and anyone who wishes to serve in that office,” said Senator Wiener. “Just because this President doesn’t respect basic acts of transparency doesn’t mean we should give up on the norms of our Democracy that presidential candidates have lived up to for decades. The American people deserve to know that their security and well-being comes before any personal business interests or balance sheets.” 

SB 149 will require a candidate for President, in order to have his or her name placed upon the primary election ballot, to file his or her income tax returns for the 5 most recent taxable years with the Secretary of State. The returns would also be made available to the public on the Secretary of State’s website.

Prior to Donald Trump’s refusal to release any tax returns, every president since Jimmy Carter (over 40 years) has released at least one year of tax returns. During the 2016 Presidential election, Hillary Clinton (Democratic) and Jill Stein (Green) both released their tax returns.

Clips of Senator McGuire discussing SB 149 can be found here. Clips of Senator Wiener discussing SB 149 can be found here.