In this Jan. 15, 2019, file photo, New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman, addresses members for the Senate at the state Capitol in Albany, N.Y. The Manhattan Democrat is one of the main sponsors of a bill that would allow congressional investigators to get access to President Donald Trump’s state tax returns, giving Democrats a potential end-run around the administration’s refusal to disclose the president’s federal returns. The bill is expected to come up for a vote before the New York Senate on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)

New York Senate OKs giving US House Trump state tax return

Bill would authorize officials to release returns by seven types of state and federal officeholders

New York’s Democrat-controlled Senate approved a bill easily Wednesday that would allow three congressional committees to get access to President Donald Trump’s state tax returns, giving Democrats a potential end-run around the administration’s refusal to disclose the president’s federal returns.

The bill, which now goes to the Democrat-led state Assembly, doesn’t target Trump by name, but would authorize state tax officials to release returns filed by seven different types of state and federal officeholders if requested by the leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee or the Joint Committee on Taxation.

The law would apply to returns filed by the U.S. president and vice-president, U.S. senators, or the state’s governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general or comptroller.

It would include filings related to personal income taxes, real estate taxes and corporate income taxes and cover up to five years of returns before the person took office.

READ MORE: Trump awards medal to Tiger Woods, calls him ‘true legend’

“What has happened this week in Washington makes it all more important that the state of New York steps into the constitutional void and provides Congress with what it’s entitled to know, in this case the tax return of the president,” said Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat who is one of the main sponsors.

State Sen. John Flanagan, leader of the chamber’s Republican minority, called the legislation a “blatant political act” and said he wished New York Democrats were more focused on tax relief and creating new jobs for New Yorkers.

Ed Cox, chairman of the state Republican Party, called the proposal “a bill of attainder, aimed at one person.”

White House officials didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Federal law allows Congress to demand the president’s tax returns under certain circumstances, but on Monday Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declined to disclose Trump’s federal returns to the Democratic-controlled House, saying the request “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.”

That refusal set the stage for a possible legal battle. Any law passed in New York might also be destined for a court challenge.

Trump’s home state is New York, where many of his business enterprises are based. Financial information in state returns is likely to mirror much of what is in his federal returns.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Trump’s businesses lost more than $1 billion from 1985 to 1994, based on tax information the newspaper acquired. New York’s proposed law wouldn’t authorize the discloser of Trump’s returns in any of the years described in the Times report.

Previous efforts to bring the legislation to a floor vote in the Senate were blocked by Republicans, who lost control of the chamber in the November elections.

The measure, which would amend state laws prohibiting private tax information from being released, isn’t scheduled for a vote yet in the state Assembly, where more than 90 Democrats in the 150-seat chamber support the legislation.

The New York bill wouldn’t make Trump’s returns public, but Congress could potentially decide to do so.

“Americans have the right to know if the president is putting his business empire, or the interests of the public, first,” said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause New York, a group that supports the legislation.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has said he supports legislation allowing the president’s tax returns to be made public, but only if it also applies to all state lawmakers and statewide elected officials in New York. Cuomo, now in his third term, recently released his federal and state tax returns, something he has done every year since becoming governor in 2011.

In legislative action ahead of the vote on the tax returns bill, the Senate approved legislation designed to ensure that a presidential pardon doesn’t cover similar criminal charges filed at the state level. The bill was crafted to eliminate an unintended loophole in the state’s double jeopardy law that prosecutors say could undermine New York’s ability to prosecute anyone pardoned by Trump.

The Assembly hasn’t scheduled a vote on that bill.

Chris Carola, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UBC Okanagan to host Festival of Ideas with BC’s lieutenant governor

The inaugural event will feature a panel discussion with Janet Austin, B.C.’s lieutenant governor

AlleyCATS Okanagan: Pet of the week

Meet Softy a five-year-old Himalayan cat available for adoption

Largest aircraft to operate at YLW begins service to Toronto this summer

The Boeing 767-300ER will increase seat availability for flights to Toronto by 40 per cent

B.C. budget fails to ‘excite’ Kelowna business community

Chamber says Budget 2020 lacks a clearly defined competitiveness strategy

Kelowna divers ready to take on 2020 B.C. Winter Games

The athletes have been training four days a week

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

COLUMN: Democracies don’t always have to agree

In no democratic system of governance is there ever 100 per cent agreement on any issue

EDITORIAL: Revisiting cannabis regulations

Recent retail license application has brought up concerns about present policy in Summerland

Guidelines regulate Summerland cannabis stores

The municipality’s policy, 300.6 establishes the 50-metre buffer zone around schools and parks

Penticton MLA urges government to address fatal stretch of Hwy 97

“People are being injured and lives are being lost on this stretch of highway.” - MLA Dan Ashton

Most Read