New York State lawmakers are one step closer to gaining access to President Donald Trump’s state tax returns.
The New York State Assembly passed legislation on Wednesday, May 22 which would amend the law to allow the state Department of Taxation and Finance to release the tax returns of elected officials.
The bill is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo later this month if it also passes in the Senate. It was approved by an 85-49 vote in the Assembly. The legislation only applies to state returns, not federal returns, which have also been at the center of the battle between Trump and the left side of the aisle.
The legislation will allow the heads of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee or the Joint Committee on Taxation to gain access to any New York state tax returns filed by elected officials and top appointed officials. It would apply to both personal income tax returns and businesses taxes paid in the state.
"The New York State Legislature has stepped up to promote transparency while the US Treasury Department has instead denied lawful requests for tax records from the House of Representatives," Assemblyman David Buchwald of Westchester, the lead sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. "Our state and federal governments have endured for over 200 years thanks to the system of checks and balances provided in our Constitution, and this bill is consistent with that tradition."
New York Republicans have been outspoken against the bill, calling it “troubling” and “bad public policy.” It is an amended version of previously proposed legislation that would have allowed for any state tax return Congress requested to be provided, not just high-ranking elected officials.
"I don't know what's in the tax returns," New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman said Wednesday. "I don't know what Congress wants to see in the tax returns. But I do know this: that Congress has a role here in overseeing the executive and it's our responsibility as New Yorkers and legislators to make sure that happens.
"We're on the precipice of a constitutional showdown between two branches of our federal government. We as New Yorkers can step into that breach and help solve this problem.”
Republicans against the bill have argued that New York lawmakers should be focused more on local concerns, not digging up the president’s tax returns.
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