That tax day march, protest or whatever it was produced pretty much nothing in terms of results if people were expecting President Trump to suddenly serve up all of his tax returns. The standard line coming out of the Press Secretary’s office hasn’t changed one iota, stating that nobody cares about this except the media (and liberal activists) and the nation elected him without seeing them. That hasn’t stopped a number of blue states from considering new and highly dubious laws requiring candidates to provide such documentation to appear on the ballot in 2020. Those efforts will no doubt be challenged in court and we won’t know the results for quite a while.
In the meantime, however, New York State is opting for a more… direct approach. They’re working on a bill which would reveal multiple years of state tax returns for any President, Vice President, governor, attorney general or senator who filed in New York. (NY Daily News)
New York Democrats have hatched a plan to get a look at Donald Trump’s taxes by crafting legislation designed to get at his state returns that does everything but mention the President by name.
The bill introduced in New York’s Senate and Assembly would require the state to release five years of state tax information for any President or vice president who files a New York state return.
While Trump’s state return wouldn’t include all the details from his federal return, it would offer the public much more information about the Republican President’s potential conflicts of interest or how his finances would be affected by his own tax cut proposal, according to supporters.
Maybe it’s just me, but this sounds pretty much insane. Keep in mind that they’re not talking about forcing Trump, Andrew Cuomo, Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand and all the rest to turn over the forms on their own. This bill, if signed into law, would require the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to release the returns without needing the permission of the officials in question. The problems with such a law are numerous and could easily be tied up in the courts until long after Trump is out of office.
Right off the bat, this law sounds an awful lot like a Bill of Attainder. That puts it in trouble with Article I section 10 of the Constitution. The bill also appears to fly in the face of generations of rulings regarding privacy as well as existing state laws which have been on the books for ages. On their own web site under the section on audits, the NYS DoTF reminds taxpayers of the following. (Emphasis added)
You have the right to know why we are requesting certain information, how we will use the information, and the consequences if you fail to submit the information. The Tax Law prohibits the disclosure of information obtained from a tax return or during the course of an audit to any unauthorized person. The Tax Law, however, does permit us to share your tax information with the IRS and other government agencies, within defined standards of secrecy and reciprocity.
And finally, federal law requires confidentiality of information on federal tax returns. Right on the forms for how to complete your New York State tax returns it instructs you to copy over the same W2 information and other data on your federal tax form. All in all, it sounds like this bill should be dead on arrival. But that assumes that it arrives at all. The Democrats in the assembly cooked this up but they still don’t have control of the state senate. It would have to make it through there before Governor Cuomo had a shot at it.
This looks like a tremendous waste of the legislature’s time designed only to score political points. But in a way, I’d almost like to see them pass it. The subsequent court challenges would be fascinating to observe.