This Thursday, the New Jersey state Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill that seeks to keep President Trump (and other candidates) off the 2020 state ballot if he continues to refuse to release his tax returns.
The Courier Post reported that the Democratic-controlled Senate passed the measure along party lines in a 23-11 vote. The bill will now go to the full legislature for a vote and then to the desk of the state’s Democratic governor, Phil Murphy.
Trump has remained defiant in the face of repeated calls to make his returns public. Last year, he declared that he won’t release his tax information as long as it’s under audit.
“They’re under audit. They have been for a long time,” Trump said in November of 2018, claiming that the documents are “extremely complex” and that people “wouldn’t understand” them.
“If I were finished with the audit, I would have an open mind to it,” he added. “When that happens, if that happens, I would certainly have an open mind to it.”
Although not required by law, Trump is defied decades of tradition by not making his tax returns transparent during his candidacy and ensuing presidency. In regards to his ‘they’re being audited’ claims, the IRS has said that audits don’t prohibit people from making their tax information public.
Some have argued the bill is unconstitutional and is a slippery slope towards more unreasonable demands of candidates in the future.
“Today we require tax returns, but what would be next?” former California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) asked in a 2017 veto of a similar measure that was introduced in his state, according to The Hill.
“Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High school report cards? And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power?” he asked.
According to the bill’s sponsor, New Jersey Democratic Senator Loretta Weinberg, voters likely wouldn’t have propelled Trump to the presidency if they saw his tax history.
“It is so obvious with this president that had voters known some of what seem to be his business interests, he may not have been elected president,” Weinberg said.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr