California Assembly passes Presidential Tax Transparency Bill

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Legislation will head back to the Senate this week for final vote before heading to the Governor’s desk

Sacramento, CA – California’s historic legislation that would require Presidential candidates, and candidates for the Governor of California, to release their tax returns in order to be on the state’s ballot cleared another significant hurdle today with an overwhelming 57-17 vote of approval in the State Assembly.

“Presidential candidates need to put their own interests aside in the name of 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. This commonsense legislation applies equally to all candidates, from all political parties, including the Governor of California.”

Senators Wiener and McGuire are advancing the legislation that would require all presidential candidates to release their tax returns prior to being placed on the California primary ballot. SB 27, which is supported by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, was approved by the State Assembly Monday by huge numbers. It will be heard again in the State Senate this week and if approved, will be sent to the Governor’s office for his signature.

In May, Senators Mike McGuire and Scott Wiener amended the legislation to extend the transparency rules to the office of the Governor of California as well as Presidential candidates.

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 people are on our side, over 60% of Americans 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.