California will add Governor to Presidential Tax Transparency Bill

Legislation by Senators Wiener and McGuire will now require presidential and gubernatorial candidates to release their tax returns

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Sacramento, CA – In a historic move, Senators Mike McGuire and Scott Wiener, authors of California’s Presidential Tax Transparency bill, have introduced amendments that would extend the transparency rules to the office of the Governor of California. 

“Gavin Newsom has led by example – releasing his tax returns during his run for the Governor’s office,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “He didn’t have anything to hide and he put his own interests aside in the name of transparency. It’s time President Trump does the same. The President needs to step up, stop with the obstruction, and follow through with 40 years of time-honored tradition that has made this nation’s democracy stronger, and release his tax returns.”

Transparency is a nonpartisan issue. And it’s transparency that provides the basis for accountability in government. For the past forty years, every US President – Republicans and Democrats alike – have released their tax returns. That is, until President Trump took office.

Senators Wiener and McGuire are advancing legislation this year that would require all presidential candidates to release their tax returns prior to being placed on the California primary ballot. SB 27 was overwhelmingly approved by the State Senate, and is being amended this week to include the office of the Governor of California. SB 27 is now in the State Assembly and will next be heard in the Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting.

The Presidential Tax Transparency & Accountability Act will require basic tax information to be shared with California residents and require that all presidential candidates, and candidates for the Governor, release the last five years of their tax returns in order to appear on the California ballot. The returns will be made available to the public on the Secretary of State’s website.

“Voters should have confidence that their President is in fact working for them and not to enrich himself or herself,” said Senator Wiener (D-San Francisco) joint author of SB 27. “Making a candidate’s tax returns public gives voters that confidence and builds trust. By also including the office of the Governor in this legislation, we show that we will hold our own executive to this vital standard.”

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.

“The American people are on our side, over 60% want President Trump to release his returns,” Senator McGuire said. “Voters deserve to know, for example, if the President is putting America’s security at risk through his tangled web of business dealings with corporate interests and his dealings with foreign governments and foreign banks. Here’s the bottom line: What does he have to hide?”

Contrary to President Trump’s statements in public that Americans don’t care about his tax returns, polls have consistently shown over 60 percent of Americans believe his returns should be released.

Included in this year’s Presidential Tax Transparency bill is an urgency clause so the legislation would take effect immediately, prior to the filing deadline for 2020 Presidential candidates.

SB 27 is endorsed by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.