TRENTON – The Senate today approved legislation to restore the tradition of transparency typically honored by presidential candidates by requiring any future presidential and vice presidential candidates to submit their tax returns to the State Division of Elections in order to run on New Jersey’s ballot.
The bill (S-3048) is sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Senator Shirley K. Turner and Senator Linda Greenstein.
“By failing to disclose his tax returns, Donald Trump has ignored a long tradition of transparency supported by presidents of this country for the last 40 years. The people of this country deserve better,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “New Jersey is joining other states in taking an appropriate stand to require that candidates for president and vice president submit their tax information to the state in order to get on the ballot.”
“With Congress refusing to act, states across the country are moving to implement standards for candidates to our nation’s highest office,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon, Mercer). “Transparency regarding their financial dealings should be among the very basic thresholds met by those seeking the presidency or vice presidency. We have the ability to control ballot access in our state and we should use that power to force the public disclosure of tax returns by those who want to lead the free world.”
“The refusal by the President to submit his tax returns for public scrutiny has helped fuel rumors and concerns about conflicts of interest, undue foreign influence, and fiscal and financial mismanagement,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “The American people deserve information that could help resolve these kinds of questions, and requiring that candidates for the highest office publicly disclose tax documents is a part of that process.”
Under the bill, in order for a candidate for President or Vice-President of the United States to have their names printed on New Jersey’s ballot, they must submit their federal income tax returns to the State Division of Elections for at least the five most recent taxable years for which the candidate has filed such a return with the Internal Revenue Service.
Each candidate would also submit written consent to the division for the public disclosure of the income tax returns. The income tax returns and the written consent for disclosure must be filed with the division no later than 50 days before the general election.
The division would then post the income tax returns on its website no later than seven days after the candidate has filed the income tax returns with the division. The bill requires the division, in consultation with the Attorney General, to redact any information contained in the income tax returns that the division deems necessary before it posts the income tax returns on its website.
The legislation was approved by a vote of 24-11. It next goes to the Assembly for consideration.