California Democrats are hoping that the second time is the charm, with the passage of a State Senate passing a bill on Thursday that would require any presidential candidate, seeking to be in a primary race, to release five years of tax returns in order to be included on the ballot.
The Senate passed the bill along a partisan 27-10 vote, with every GOP senator voting against the measure, the Associated Press reported. Republicans allege that the bill is a partisan measure targeting President Donald Trump, who didn’t release his own tax returns in 2016 despite 40 years of tradition of presidential candidates doing so.
“I get that playing the resistance card may be good politics for the majority party, but I would submit that it’s bad policy for Californians,” Republican State Sen. Brian Jones said.
The California state senate has approved a bill to require Trump (and other candidates) to disclose their tax returns in order to appear on the ballot. https://t.co/n3V8mRThJf
— Derek Cressman (@DerekCressman) May 3, 2019
The bill would require every candidate, not just singling out Trump, to release their returns. Still, there’s hardly any denying from the Democratic aisle of the chamber that the bill is in response to Trump.
“We believe that President Trump, if he truly doesn’t have anything to hide, should step up and release his tax returns,” State Sen. Mike McGuire, the Democratic co-author of the bill, said.
Trump had promised during the campaign to eventually release his tax record but never did so, citing a supposed audit he was under that prevented him from doing so. According to Congressional testimony from IRS head Charles Rettig, however, such audits don’t prevent individuals from being able to release their records, per reporting from Axios in early April.
Lawmakers and everyday American citizens alike want Trump to release his income tax returns to ensure that there are no business conflicts of interest within them that would impair his ability to serve as president of the United States.
Trump has often said, since he’s been elected, that the American people do not care anymore about seeing them, but every major poll asking the question consistently finds that they do, in fact, want his tax returns made available for review, per reporting from Slate.
It’s unclear what will happen next with the measure in California. A similar bill passed the state legislature in 2017, but was uncharacteristically vetoed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat himself, who didn’t release his own tax records while making a run for office.
The current governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom, has not said one way or another how he will act on the measure.