Donald Trump -- and all presidential candidates -- will have to disclose tax returns to be on the ballot in the nation's most populous state soon.
California will send legislation to Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk requiring presidential candidates to submit five years' worth of tax returns in order to appear on the ballot, joining 18 other states in a jab at President Donald Trump's refusal to release his tax returns.
California joins New York, Illinois and Washington, among other states, that have introduced bills requiring all candidates to release their individual tax returns to qualify for the presidential primary ballot. Tax returns have become a key 2020 issue, with Trump refusing to surrender them and Democratic presidential candidates sharing their tax information with varying degrees of timeliness.
But it may not be a sure thing. It's failed once before.
The state's Senate passed the measure by a 27-10 party line vote Thursday, but whether Newsom, a Democrat, will sign the bill remains unclear.
Newsom spokesman Jesse Melgar told CNN, "with regard to this and all proposed legislation, should the bill reach the Governor's Desk it would be evaluated on its own merits."
While former California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed similar legislation in 2017, Newsom has shown support for tax returns in his own political career, releasing his tax returns as a candidate and promising to continue releasing them every year as governor.
Unless Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado and/or Arizona pass legislation to do this, it's meaningless, and odds are extremely low any of those seven states would pass such legislation.
Besides, red states will almost certainly counter with things like, you know, requiring birth certificates and whatnot. There's a serious chance this becomes a Jim Crow issue, even if the Supreme Court wasn't guaranteed to step in and overturn such legislation.
No, this is a waste of time in the end. Do you think Trump cares if he's on the ballot in states he'll never win? Ahh, but red states being able to block the Democratic candidate from getting on the ballot, especially Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, all with overwhelming GOP majorities in state?
It's just because they haven't figured out how to do it yet. California making this law will make that a top priority.
Let's not go down this road.