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

Just Posted

Saanich resident leads crusade against cigarettes in B.C. drugstores

Province allows drugstores to sell cigarettes and some feel policy should change, retailers disagree

Saanich councillor fears weed could crowd out food as greenhouses convert

Head of provincial association representing greenhouse vegetable farmers not worried about issue

Federal government funds 60 ‘micro-loft’ rental units set to open on Fort Street

The Sawyer Block at 840 Fort St. will house affordable units and a small amount of retail space

PHOTOS: India Mela celebrates culture, dance and food

The annual downtown event brought culture and fun together

Residential construction activity slows across Greater Victoria

Vancouver Island Construction Association warns of ‘mixed outlook’

Clean the house, prep for your next trip: Tips to nix the post-vacation blues

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Vancouver Island senior found safe with help from six search and rescue teams

Wayne Strilesky found safe in thick brush in north Nanaimo

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

Couple could go to jail for taking 88 lbs. of Italian sand

Pair said they didn’t know it was illegal to take the sand, which is protected as a public good

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Margaret Atwood talks Handmaid’s Tale sequel at UVic

Sold-out Sept. 27 event illustrates iconic Canadian author’s popularity in literary haven of Victoria

Hearings begin as Vancouver Island mom fights for allegedly abducted daughter

Tasha Brown now in Jersey in the British Isles, fundraiser being held in Nanaimo

Most Read