Gov. Andrew Cuomo has reportedly signed bills to allow the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee or the bicameral congressional Joint Committee on Taxation to get their hands-on records from the state Department of Taxation and Finance.
In other words, to get President Donald Trump’s tax returns, something Democrats want more than to legislate for the betterment of their voters.
Cuomo said in a statement, “By amending the law enforcement exception in New York State tax code to include Congressional tax-related committees, this bill gives Congress the ability to fulfill its Constitutional responsibilities, strengthen our democratic system and ensure that no one is above the law.”
Cuomo signed into law S.5072-A/A.7194A and S.6146/A.7750, which amend the law enforcement exception in New York State tax code to include Congressional tax-related committees.
“Tax secrecy is paramount–the exception being for bonafide investigative and law enforcement purposes,” Governor Cuomo said. “By amending the law enforcement exception in New York State tax code to include Congressional tax-related committees, this bill gives Congress the ability to fulfill its Constitutional responsibilities, strengthen our democratic system and ensure that no one is above the law.”
Specifically, his office made clear, the bill amends section 697 of the Tax Law (Personal Income Tax) to add a new subsection directing the Commissioner of the Department of Taxation and Finance to share state income tax returns and reports upon the written request of the Chairperson of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, or the Joint Committee on Taxation. The Commissioner is required to redact any information that, if disclosed, would violate state or federal law or would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy (e.g. social security numbers, account numbers, and residential address information).
Such request must be accompanied by certification that the tax returns or reports have been requested for a specified and legitimate legislative purpose, the requesting committee has made a written request to the U.S Secretary of the Treasury for related federal returns or return information and that the returns will be treated by the requesting committee in a manner consistent with federal law authorizing the same committees to request and receive federal income tax returns from the U.S. Treasury, according to Cuomo’s office.
“As the home state of Donald Trump, New York has a special role to play to help avoid a constitutional crisis between the president and Congress in their effort to obtain his tax returns,” Manhattan state Sen. Brad Hoylman said in a statement after the signing.
Westchester Assemblyman David Buchwald, another sponsor of the bills, echoed the sentiment in his release. “Our republic has endured for over 200 years thanks to the system of checks and balances provided in our Constitution,” the Democrat said. “Consistent with this tradition, New York state now stands ready to assist Congress as it challenges the Trump administration’s refusal to provide his tax records. The legislation we passed in New York will provide Congress with a direct path to what the president clearly wants to hide from the American people. No one is above the law.”
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