New York State Legislature Passes "TRUST Act", Enabling Congress to Request Trump's State Tax Returns

Brad Hoylman

May 22, 2019

Senator Hoylman’s TRUST Act, passed by the Assembly today and the State Senate before, now proceeds to Governor Cuomo’s desk for a signature

Senator Hoylman: “We are affirming Congress’s role as a co-equal branch of government and the sacred constitutional principle that nobody is above the law, not even the highest elected official in the land.”

 

ALBANY, NY - Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WF-Manhattan)’s TRUST Act (S6146/A7750) passed the Assembly today, sponsored by Assemblymember David Buchwald (D-Westchester). The legislation now heads to Governor Cuomo’s desk, where it is expected to be signed into law. Hoylman and Buchwald’s TRUST Act would authorize the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to share tax return information with a requesting Congressional committee.

Senator Hoylman said: “New York has a unique role to help head off the constitutional crisis brewing between Congress and the White House over refusal to comply with the request for Donald Trump’s tax returns. With today’s vote in support of the TRUST Act, the State Legislature will allow the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to cooperate with Congressional tax committees requesting the state returns of public officials, including the president.

We are affirming Congress’s role as a co-equal branch of government and the sacred constitutional principle that nobody is above the law, not even the highest elected official in the land. I’m extremely grateful to my partner in the Assembly, David Buchwald, for his leadership, and look forward to this bill being brought to the Governor’s desk for a signature as soon as possible.”

Assemblymember Buchwald said: “The New York State Legislature has stepped up to promote transparency while the U.S. Treasury Department has instead denied  lawful requests for tax records from the House of Representatives. Our state and federal governments have endured for over 200 years thanks to the system of checks and balances provided in our Constitution, and this bill is consistent with that tradition. I want to thank my friend Senator Brad Hoylman and my Senate and Assembly colleagues who voted to ensure that no one is above the law.”

Last week, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin refused to comply with a congressional subpoena to hand over Trump’s tax returns on the grounds that the request lacked a “legitimate legislative purpose.”  This comes after Ways & Means Chair Richard Neal initiated a request for President Trump’s federal tax returns last month.

Federal law gives three Congressional tax committees the unqualified right to obtain and review the otherwise confidential federal tax information of any taxpayer from the U.S. Department of Treasury.  Under New York State tax law, sharing state tax return information is prohibited, except under certain delineated circumstances. The TRUST Act would create a new exception to authorize the sharing of state tax returns filed by top government officials at the federal, state, and local levels with a requesting Congressional committee when the request is made in the furtherance of a legitimate task of Congress.

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