Tuesday 22 October 2019

New York puts Democrats step closer to Trump's tax returns

File photo dated 14/03/19 of Donald Trump.
File photo dated 14/03/19 of Donald Trump.

Chris Carola and David Klepper

New York lawmakers gave final passage to legislation on Wednesday that would allow US President Donald Trump's state tax returns to be released to congressional committees that have been barred from getting the president's federal filings.

The Democrat-led Senate and Assembly both approved the measures, sending them to governor Andrew Cuomo.

A spokesman has said the governor supports the principle behind the legislation but will review the bill carefully before deciding whether to sign it.

The legislation does not target Mr Trump by name, but it would allow the leaders of the US House ways and means committee, the Senate finance committee or the joint committee on taxation to get access to any New York state tax returns filed by elected officials and top appointed officials.

The legislation would apply to personal income tax returns, as well as business taxes paid in New York.

An earlier version of the proposal passed the state Senate two weeks ago that would have allowed congressional committees to get any New Yorker's returns, regardless of whether they held public office.

Lawmakers later narrowed the legislation to address concerns that it went too far, prompting the Senate to hold a second vote on the new language Wednesday.

The proposed changes to state law were made amid a battle going on in Washington over Mr Trump's federal returns.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he would not comply with a congressional subpoena seeking six years of Mr Trump's tax returns, in part because the request "lacks a legitimate legislative purpose".

Democrats are seeking six years of Mr Trump's personal and business tax returns to aid a committee investigation into whether the Internal Revenue Service is doing its job properly to audit a sitting president and whether the law governing such audits needs to be strengthened.

With New York being Mr Trump's home state and headquarters of many of his business enterprises, the legislation could give Democrats access to the president's state tax returns at a time when the White House and Democrats who control the House continue to wrangle over the president's federal tax returns.

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