May 8 (UPI) — New York State legislators will take up a bill Wednesday that would give them access to President Donald Trump‘s state tax returns — fiscal records the president has refused to make public for four years.
Trump hasn’t disclosed any tax information since announcing his candidacy in mid-2015. While he’s refused repeated calls by lawmakers to release his federal tax returns, his New York state returns could contain much of the same information. The latest refusal came Monday, when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected a request and said it lacked a “legitimate legislative purpose.”
There are enough votes in the New York State Senate to pass the bill allowing the Department of Taxation and Finance to release Trump’s returns, State Sen. Brad Hoylman said.
State legislators, who are mostly Democrats, are trying to find a balance with the effort that reduces the appearance of partisanship and won’t expose their own members to similar inquiries. Hoylman said he hopes the measure is specific enough to cross those hurdles.
“This is an issue of utmost national importance,” Hoylman said. “We could actually help avoid a Constitutional showdown if New York could actually step in and provide the state tax returns of Donald Trump.”
State Senate Republican leader John Flanagan said Democrats can’t deny the bill is partisan in nature and targets Trump on behalf of the federal lawmakers who’ve been unsuccessful so far in obtaining the president’s tax records.
“This is a blatantly political act,” Flanagan said.
“The issues that are taking place at the federal government level should be within the purview and authority of the federal government.”
The New York Times reported Tuesday it gained access to Trump’s federal returns between 1985 and 1994, which showed documented losses exceeding $ 1 billion. The information was based on data obtained from Trump’s Internal Revenue Service tax transcripts over that period.
The Times report said the documents showed Trump was so indebted that he avoided paying taxes for eight of the 10 years in that span.
“Real estate developers in the 1980’s & 1990’s, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases,” Trump answered Wednesday. “Much was non monetary. Sometimes considered “tax shelter,” you would get it by building, or even buying.
“You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes … almost all real estate developers did — and often re-negotiate with banks, it was sport. Additionally, the very old information put out is … highly inaccurate.”