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Bill Requires Trump & 2020 Candidates To Release Tax Returns To Be On Cali Ballot

The California State Assembly voted on Thursday to pass a bill that requires all presidential and gubernatorial candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the primary state ballot, The Hill reported.

If signed into law, this new bill will take effect immediately, forcing all candidates running for presidency in 2020 to share their financial disclosures, including President Trump.

The IRS audits presidents every year since Congress first caught then-President Richard Nixon underpaying his taxes in the 1970s.

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During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised to publicly release his tax returns.

However, after he was elected, he refused to disclose such things and has repeatedly avoided doing so despite Democrats in Congress attempting to retrieve his returns. He is the first president since Nixon to refuse to disclose his personal tax information.

In the past, Trump has attacked states pursuing his tax records and claims voters "don't care" about the documents.

In May, he tweeted in response to New York's proposal to allow Congress to access his state taxes, a proposal which Govenor Andrew Cuomo signed on Monday.

"I won the 2016 Election partially based on no Tax Returns while I am under audit (which I still am), and the voters didn't care," he wrote. "Now the Radical Left Democrats want to again relitigate this matter. Make it a part of the 2020 Election!"

Now, California's bill SB 27 has passed overwhelmingly with a vote of 57-17.

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In accordance to the legislation, all presidential hopefuls will have to share their income tax returns with the California government from the previous five taxable years. That information will then be made available to voters on the state's Secretary of State website.

The bill was co-authored by Senators Mike McGuire and Scott Weiner and will be heard once again in the State Senate this week.

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If approved, it will head over to Govenor Gavin Newsom's desk for his signature to make it law.

"Presidential candidates need to put their own interests aside in the name of transparency," Sen. McGuire's office said in a statement. "So far, our current President has done the opposite and it's time that President Trump steps up, stops with the obstruction, and follows through with 40 years of time-honored tradition that has made this nation's democracy stronger."

"This commonsense legislation applies equally to all candidates, from all political parties, including the Governor of California."

Unsplash | Elliott Stallion

Dubbed the "Presidential Tax Transparency & Accountability Act," the measure includes an urgency clause, which would see it take effect immediately prior to the filing deadline for 2020 presidential candidates. As such, all hopefuls vying for the presidency, including Trump himself, would be required to follow the legislation.

Eighteen other states in the country have legislation similar to that of California's.

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These states, which include New York, Illinois, and Washington, introduced bills this year requiring presidential candidates to hand over their tax returns in order to appear on the ballot. However, none have been enacted into law.

Speaking to the president's refusal to share his tax information, McGuire asked, "What does President Trump have to hide?"

YouTube | Fox 10 Phoenix

He also said his bill was written carefully, keeping in mind the legal challenges that it will undoubtedly face, particularly by Trump's legal team.

As such, the bill only applies to the primary election because the state Constitution allows for political parties to nominate their own presidential candidates in the general election.

McGuire said he believes SB 27 will be upheld because it creates "an even playing field for all candidates, regardless of party."

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Not only does this bill apply to Republican candidates, but it also requires Democratic presidential hopefuls, like Joe Biden, to submit their own tax returns.

Biden has recently released his last three years of returns, but will have to release the remaining two in order to appear on the ballot.

h/t: The Hill, San Francisco Chronicle

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