Over 40 Assembly members sign onto Buchwald’s legislation
In less than two weeks, over 40 members of the New York State Assembly have signed on as co-sponsors of Assemblyman David Buchwald’s bill to force the release of New York State income tax returns for statewide elected officials, including the President of the United States. With these quick pledges of support, the bill (A.7462/S.5572-A) is already over halfway towards obtaining the 76 votes needed to pass on the Assembly floor.
On April 26, State Assemblyman David Buchwald and State Senator Brad Hoylman introduced the legislation that would direct the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (NYSDTF) to release the tax returns within thirty days of enactment of the bill, going back five years, and then continuing each year the elected official is in office.
The legislation doesn’t just apply to the President of the United States. It applies equally to any Vice President that files New York State income tax forms, as well as the U.S. Senators representing New York, and the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and State Comptroller. Most of these officials, including Governor Cuomo, Senator Schumer, and Senator Gillibrand, routinely make their tax returns available. And with respect to the Presidency, for over 40 years, transparency of the President’s tax returns the norm as well. The tax returns released by New York State under the legislation would redact social security numbers and other personal information the disclosure of which would violate federal law.
The Buchwald-Hoylman Bill ended up being introduced the same day the White House released its one-page handout on its tax reform proposals.
“This bill is essential for New Yorkers to have confidence in our tax system, to understand the potential motivation for tax reform proposals from our top elected officials, and to gain insight into potential conflicts of interest,” said Assemblyman Buchwald (D-Westchester).
When introducing the bill Assemblyman Buchwald said, “This bill recognizes that a personal interest in secrecy can be outweighed by the public’s right to know the tax and financial interests of its top government leaders.”