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

Music trivia tournament in Duncan a hit on World Alzheimer’s Day

More than $13,000 raised by people naming that tune

Climate strike draws huge crowd in Duncan

Millions strike for climate worldwide

‘Youthful exuberance’ or ‘grievous deed’: opinion is divided on Trudeau’s ‘brown face’ costume

Local Liberal candidate asks voters to concentrate on Prime Minister’s political record

North Cowichan stands by decision to have building demolished

Structure source of compaints for 10 years

VIDEO: A moment to remember during the World Lacrosse Men’s Indoor Championship in B.C.

Diego Hernandez Valenzuela’s team lost, but he felt like a winner Saturday

B.C. Lions hype-man marks 15 years of cheers

Crazy P cheers, chants, bangs his drum and spreads a message of love

PHOTOS: Steller sea lion with plastic around neck rescued on Vancouver Island

Rescue staff determined the plastic band cut the protected animal’s neck approximately two inches

B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-free ‘climate strike’

Students, public get distorted picture of greenhouse gases

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Most Read