ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed a bill clearing the way for Congress to obtain state tax returns of public officials, including the returns of President Donald Trump.
The law directs the commissioner of the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance to share state income tax returns and reports if they are requested by the chairperson of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, or the Joint Committee on Taxation. Governor Cuomo’s office says any request must be “for a specified and legitimate legislative purpose”.
The commissioner is required to redact any information that may violate state or federal law or constitute “an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy (e.g. social security numbers, account numbers, and residential address information).
“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.”
Critics of the legislation say it is politically motivated.
“If we were so concerned about this, why don’t we just employ our own legislative bodies to review the tax returns,” Assemblyman Will Barclay (R-120th District) said in May. “Why we are giving that power to the congressional doesn’t make sense to me.”