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Aquino: Tax returns an issue of transparency, not party

aquino 042017If Donald Trump was hoping people would forget about his tax returns after he took office, he is likely very disappointed.

Last Saturday, April 15, thousands gathered in cities across the country for Tax Marches organized to demand the release of the president’s tax returns and to protest the country’s current tax system.

There is also a growing movement in state legislatures to put into law the decades-long tradition of presidential candidates releasing their returns. Lawmakers in 26 states have introduced legislation requiring returns before a candidate can appear on the ballot in their state.

Senate Democrats in Illinois are leading the charge with a measure that would require both presidential and vice presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns to appear on the Illinois general election ballot.

“This legislation came about because President Trump has been very indirect with the American people in regards to economic interests that could have serious consequences,” said chief sponsor Omar Aquino, a Chicago Democrat. “Should it be passed into law, this bill would force presidential candidates to be more transparent, helping all Americans, not just Illinoisans, to make informed voting decisions. As participants in a democracy, we all deserve to know if our presidential candidates have financial conflicts of interest.”

SB 982 passed out of the Senate Executive Committee in March and awaits a vote before the full Senate.

Other states considering similar laws include Colorado, New York and Georgia.

With public opinion and history firmly on the side of releasing returns, this is not a time for partisan bickering or obstinate adherence to party rhetoric. Recent polling shows that 80 percent of Americans, including 64 percent of Republicans, want Trump to release his tax returns. Every presidential candidate since Ford, both Democrat and Republican, has released his or her returns.

It is time to make the tradition of releasing tax returns the law.

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