Presidential Taxes & Politics

Presidential Taxes & Politics


>>GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO “METROFOCUS.” I’M JENNA FLANAGAN. IT’S TAX DAY, AND LAWMAKERS BOTH HERE IN NEW YORK AND IN WASHINGTON, D.C. ARE TRYING TO GET THEIR HANDS ON SOMETHING THAT’S PROVEN TOUGH TO GET. PRESIDENT TRUMP’S TAX RETURNS. AS MEMBERS OF CONGRESS SPAR WITH THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, TWO STATE LAWMAKERS ARE SPONSORING A BILL IN THE DEMOCRATIC-CONTROLLED LEGISLATURE THAT COULD FORCE THE PRESIDENT TO RELEASE HIS STATE TAX RETURNS. BUT WILL THEIR EFFORTS LEAD TO A WATERSHED OF INFORMATION ON THE PRESIDENT’S FINANCES, OR COULD THE MOVE BACKFIRE POLITICALLY? FOR A DEEPER DIVE INTO THIS ISSUE AND MORE, LET’S BRING IN CITY AND STATE ALBANY REPORTER ZACK WILLIAMS. ZACK, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.>>THANKS FOR HAVING ME.>>FIRST, LET’S START OFF WITH THE NOTION OF GETTING TRUMP TO RELEASE HIS STATE TAX RETURNS. WHERE DID THIS COME FROM? HOW DOES IT WORK?>>WELL, IN THE 2016 CAMPAIGN, TRUMP, OF COURSE, SAID THAT HE WAS UNDER AUDIT AND COULDN’T POSSIBLY RELEASE HIS TAX RETURNS. HE SAID HE WOULD EVENTUALLY, AND EVER SINCE THEN DEMOCRATS HAVE BEEN LOOKING BOTH AT THE STATE AND FEDERAL LEVELS TO FIND A WAY TO ACCESS THEM. AND NOW THAT HE IS REFUSING TO GIVE THEM OVER TO SOME HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEES, DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO HELP HIM OUT AT THE STATE LEVEL BY CHANGING THE STATE LAW THAT PREVENTS THE RELEASE OF STATE TAX RETURNS, PERSONAL AND CORPORATE, AND OTHERWISE TO ANY OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL THAT ASKS FOR THEM.>>REALLY? BECAUSE WE SAW IN NEW JERSEY RECENTLY WHERE THEY EVEN WENT AS FAR AS SAYING YOU CAN’T BE ON THE BALLOT UNLESS YOU RELEASE YOUR TAX. ARE THESE THE KIND OF TACTICS THAT WE’RE GOING TO BE SEEING OUT OF AT LEAST DEMOCRATICALLY CONTROLLED STATE LEGISLATURES IN TERMS OF HELPING DEMOCRATS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.?>>WELL, THAT’S BEEN THE WAY THAT DEMOCRATS IN NEW YORK HAVE PURSUED IT THUS FAR, UNTIL LAST WEEK. SO THERE WERE TWO BILLS THERE WAS THE TRUMP ACT AND THE TRUTH ACT, BOTH OF WHICH MADE EITHER BEING ON THE BALLOT CONTINGENT ON RELEASING YOUR TAX RETURNS, OR EVEN SERVING AS PRESIDENT, VICE PRESIDENT OR STATEWIDE OFFICE HERE IN NEW YORK. BUT NOW STATE FAR BRAD HOILEMAN AND ASSEMBLYMAN BUCHWALD IN THE ASSEMBLY HAVE COME UP WITH A DIFFERENT STRATEGY, WHICH IS TO RELEASE THEM TO CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES THAT ASK FOR THEM. THIS SETS UP ALL SORTS OF TRICKY NEW ISSUES, NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH CAN THE STATE DO THIS, DOES THIS VIOLATE STATE LAW THAT PROHIBITS RELEASING THEM, PRIVACY ISSUES. WE’LL SEE WHAT HAPPENS.>>WELL, SPEAKING OF ALL THOSE ISSUES AND POSSIBLE PUSHBACK, WHERE DOES GOVERNOR CUOMO STAND ON ALL THIS?>>HE HAS SAID HE SUPPORTS IT AS LONG AS IT APPLIES TO EVERYONE. SO ESSENTIALLY TWEAKING THE BILL LANGUAGE SO THAT IT ISN’T NARROWLY TARGETED AT TRUMP HIMSELF.>>ALL RIGHT. SO FAIRNESS FOR EVERYONE UNDER THE LAW. SO DO WE HAVE ANY INDICATION AS TO WHAT SOME OF THESE LAWMAKERS MIGHT BE HOPING TO FIND IN HIS TAX RETURNS?>>CERTAINLY PEOPLE WANT TO DIVE INTO HIS BUSINESS DEALINGS. SO THAT MAKES HIS CORPORATE AS WELL AS PERSONAL TAX RETURNS VERY TEMPTING FOR ANYBODY THAT WANTS TO DIVE INTO THE PRESIDENT. I THINK THE IMPORTANT THING HERE IS TO REALIZE A LOT OF THE INFORMATION WILL BE ON A FEDERAL TAX RETURN IS ALSO ON A STATE. SO WE’LL SEE HOW THAT WORKS WITHOUT THE IRS. BUT THERE COULD BE ANYTHING. THERE COULD BE ANYTHING FROM WHO HE IS SELLING APARTMENTS TO, WHO IS HE IS GETTING MONEY FROM, HOW MUCH MONEY HE OWES, AND OF COURSE IS HE REALLY A BILLIONAIRE.>>THE MILLION DOLLAR, BILLION DOLLAR QUESTION. LET ME ASK THEN, COULD THIS MOVE BACKFIRE ON THE DEMOCRATS? IS THERE PUSHBACK THAT WE’RE SEEING FROM REPUBLICANS?>>THERE CERTAINLY IS A PUSHBACK. REPUBLICAN STATE PARTY CHAIR ED COX HAS BASICALLY SAID THIS IS JUST TRYING TO PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT, IF YOU WILL, THAT THE DEMOCRATS JUST WANT TO GO AGAINST TRUMP. SOME PEOPLE ARE WARNING THAT IF THE REPUBLICANS EVER COME BACK TO POWER, THIS COULD BACKFIRE, RIGHT BACK ON DEMOCRATS AS WELL. WE DON’T KNOW WHERE THIS RABBIT HOLE REALLY ENDS.>>LET ME TURN FROM THIS PARTICULAR RABBIT HOLE TO THE ONE THAT SO MANY PEOPLE FIND THEMSELVES IN, AND THAT IS, OF COURSE, DOING YOUR TAXES. WE’VE SEEN THAT A LOT OF NEW YORKERS, PARTICULARLY IN UPSTATE HAVE BEEN HIT REALLY HARD WITH THIS NEW CHANGES TO THE TAX LAWS. DO WE KNOW WHAT, IF ANYTHING IS BEING PROPOSED TO BE DONE TO MAKE THIS A LITTLE BIT MORE PALATABLE FOR THE NEXT TAX SEASON?>>WELL, GOVERNOR CUOMO HAS REALLY BEEN BEATING THE DRUM ON THIS ISSUE. ESPECIALLY POST BUDGET HAS BEEN ONE OF THE BIG THINGS HE IS ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT. HE HAS MET WITH TRUMP. HE HAS MET WITH TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS. BUT THUS FAR, IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE THEY’RE INTERESTED IN REVISITING THE ISSUE. IT REALLY WOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH CONGRESS TO GET AGAIN AND WITH REPUBLICANS IN CONTROL OF THE SENATE AND THE DEMOCRATS IN CONTROL OF THE HOUSE, IT’S NOT LIKELY THAT’S GOING TO BE CHANGED ED ANY TIME SOON.>>GREAT. SO THE DEDUCTIONS THAT NONE OF US GOT TO DEDUCT FROM OUR FEDERAL TAXES IS GOING TO STAY.>>PROBABLY GOING TO STAY. BUT THE GOVERNOR WILL SAY AT LEAST THERE IS A CAP ON INCREASES IN STATE PROPERTY TAXES. SO A LITTLE BIT OF RELIEF AS OF LATE, BUT THAT’S PROBABLY NOT GOING TO COME INTO EFFECT UNTIL NEXT YEAR.>>WE’RE ALSO SEEING SOME DIVISIONS WITHIN THE STATE LEGISLATURE WITH THE DEMOCRATS. WE’VE SEEN THIS WAVE OF PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS, EVEN AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL. BUT EVEN IN THE STATE COME INTO OFFICE, AND NOW THEY’RE BUTTING UP AGAINST THE WAY MORE TRADITIONAL DEMOCRATS DO BUSINESS.>>YEAH. THERE WAS 15 NEW STATES’ DEMOCRATIC SENATORS. A LOT OF THEM HAD A LOT OF ENERGY COMING OUT OF THE ELECTION. REALLY WANT TO SEE A LOT OF PROGRESSIVE CHANGES, AND THEY FOUND OUT THINGS DON’T ALWAYS HAPPEN AS QUICKLY AS YOU LIKE IN ALBANY. THE LATEST ERUPTION, DEMOCRATS BEING DEMOCRATS, OF COURSE, ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN A CONFERENCE MEETING OF THE STATE SENATE DEMOCRATS WHERE STATE SENATOR KEVIN PARKER AND STATE SENATOR ALESSANDRO BIAGGI KIND OF WENT AFTER IT AFTER PARKER BROUGHT UP THAT A LOT OF YOUNGER MEMBERS ARE SPEAKING OUT ON SOCIAL MEDIA OUGHT TO BE CAREFUL BECAUSE THEY DON’T REPRESENT EVERYTHING. THAT REPORTEDLY SET BIAGGI OFF. SAYING HE IS THE LAST PERSON THAT SHOULD DISPENSE ADVICE AMONG DEMOCRATS. IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN IF THIS WILL AFFECT THE ACTUAL LAW MAKING, BUT NEEDLESS TO SAY THE PROGRESSIVES AND THE CENTRISTS AREN’T GETTING ALONG AS WELL AS THEY COULD IN ALBANY.>>ALL RIGHT. WELL, PASSION ALWAYS LOOKS GREAT ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, BUT THIS ACTUAL GOVERNING CAN BE A LITTLE DIFFERENT. I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US ON THE PROGRAM AND FOR GIVING US SOME INSIGHT INTO WHAT IS AND WHAT IS NOT HAPPENING IN ALBANY. THANK YOU.
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>>THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.