New York clears way for release of Trump's state tax returns

NEW YORK, July 8 (Reuters) - New York state on Monday cleared the way for Democrats in the U.S. Congress to obtain President Donald Trump's state tax returns, raising the possibility of fresh avenues of inquiry for lawmakers investigating his finances.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an amendment to a tax law that would require the commissioner of the Department of Taxation and Finance to share state income tax returns and reports when certain congressional committees request them.

"This bill gives Congress the ability to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities, strengthen our democratic system and ensure that no one is above the law," said Cuomo, a Democrat. 

RELATED: Take a look at the U.S. states where taxpayers pay the highest state income tax: 

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States where Americans pay the highest in state income taxes
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States where Americans pay the highest in state income taxes

California

State income tax: 1% to 13.3% 

Maine

State income tax: 5.8% to 10.15%

Oregon

State income tax: 5% to 9.9%

Minnesota

State income tax: 5.35% to 9.85%

Iowa

State income tax: 0.36% to 8.98%

New Jersey

State income tax: 1.4% to 8.97%

Vermont

State income tax: 3.55% to 8.95%

Washington, DC

State income tax: 4% to 8.95%

New York

State income tax: 4% to 8.82%

Hawaii

State income tax: 1.4% to 8.25%

Wisconsin

State income tax: 4% to 7.65%

Idaho

State income tax: 1.6% to 7.4%

South Carolina

State income tax: 0% to 7%

Connecticut

State income tax: 3% to 6.99%

Arkansas

State income tax: 0.9% to 6.9%

Montana

State income tax: 1% to 6.9%

Nebraska

State income tax: 2.46% to 6.84%

Delaware

State income tax: 2.2% to 6.6%

West Virginia

State income tax: 3% to 6.5%

Georgia

State income tax: 1% to 6%

Kentucky

State income tax: 2% to 6%

Louisiana

State income tax: 2% to 6%

Missouri

State income tax: 1.5% to 6%

Rhode Island

State income tax: 3.75% to 5.99%

Maryland

State income tax: 2% to 5.75%

North Carolina

State income tax: 5.75%

Virginia

State income tax: 2% to 5.75%

Oklahoma

State income tax: 0.5% to 5.25%

Massachusetts

State income tax: 5.1%

Alabama

State income tax: 2% to 5%

Mississippi

State income tax: 3% to 5%

Utah

State income tax: 5%

Ohio

State income tax: 0.495% to 4.997%

New Mexico

State income tax: 1.7% to 4.9%

Colorado

State income tax: 4.63%

Kansas

State income tax: 2.7% to 4.6%

Arizona

State income tax: 2.59% to 4.54%

Michigan

State income tax: 4.25%

Illinois

State income tax: 3.75%

Indiana

State income tax: 3.3%

Pennsylvania

State income tax: 3.07%

North Dakota

State income tax: 1.1% to 2.9%

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Trump's attorney Jay Sekulow responded to the law by calling it an example of "more presidential harassment."

"We will respond to this as appropriate," he said in a statement.

The law, effective immediately, opens a new avenue for the Democratic majority in Congress to investigate Trump's business affairs.

New York's state legislature has had a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate since Democrats won control of the Senate in 2018.

U.S. congressional Democrats have pushed for the release of Trump's tax returns since he took office.

In May, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin denied the House Ways and Means committee's request that the Internal Revenue Service turn over six years of Trump's federal tax returns, citing his belief that the committee did not have a legitimate legislative reason for the request.

The committee sued Mnuchin and the Treasury Department last week to appeal Mnuchin's decision. (Reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York and Karen Freifeld in Washington; editing by Scott Malone and Dan Grebler)

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