Want to Be President? Show Tax Returns
On April 15th, Tax Day, activists from forty-eight states around the country are planning to host marches in protest of President Donald Trump’s decision to not release his tax returns to the public. While Trump is not legally required to make this information public, he is the first President in forty years to choose to keep this information private.
However, that lack of a law compelling financial disclosure of our elected officials, may be about to change. Lawmakers in several states are pushing new legislation to make this change a reality.
New York State Senator Brad Holyman (D-NY) has recently introduced a bill called the “Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public Act”, which has been known informally as the “T.R.U.M.P Act.” This legislation would require anyone who wants to run for President or Vice President to release their last five years of tax returns, if they wish to be on the ballot in New York State.
This Act, Senate Bill 26, has already gained a whopping 24 co-sponsors in So far, the New York bill is picking up unprecedented amounts of support.The Act, also called Senate Bill 26, has already gained a whopping twenty-four co-sponsors in New York. The bill is even gaining momentumoutside of the State’s lines by showing the best form of flattery — whcih is imitation. Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Virginia, and New Jersey have also adopted their own versions of the T.R.U.M.P Act. And states such as Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Colorado, and Minnesota are moving toward the bandwagon: these states have also recently made commitments to introduce copy-cat legislation.
Voter support may be a big reason for this nationwide trend in copycat bills, and partisanship doesn’t seem to matter: even a majority of voters in the often-conservative state of North Carolina, according to a Public Policy poll, are in favor this type of law. Outside of actual legislation, petition sites show other forms of growndswell support for this sort of bill. A Change.org petition in support of the T.R.U.M.P. Act garnered over 130,000 supporters. And a ABC poll found that three-quarters of respondents wanted President Trump to release his tax returns. It’s clear from many forms of evidence, inside and outside Statehouses, that many Americans across party lines would like more transparency when it comes to their elected Executive officials’ finances.
Senator Holyman, in an article on his own website, refers to this groundswell of support when he states:
“I’m sickened by the fact that voters did not have a complete picture on potential conflicts of interest before they cast their vote for president, including foreign financial influence that might be in violation of the Emoluments clause of the Constitution. The Trump Administration claims that Americans don’t care about his taxes. The nationwide interest in state legislation forcing presidential candidates to reveal their taxes clearly shows they do.”
Currently, SB26 is in the New York State Senate Committee, awaiting discussion, before it will be taken to the Floor for a vote.
Are you a supporter of the T.R.U.M.P Act, or not? Do you think your State should enact similar legislation, or quash such copycat bills? If you live in New York State, you have a special amount of clout in regard to this bill. Use the BillCam to read the bill, and tweet your view of the bill to your elected official. Have your say!