Municipal Elections Took Place Last Night. . .

. . .and there were tight races all over the state. A few observers have begun banging the drum for an interesting change to election laws: they would like to require candidates for public office to offer proof that they have paid their taxes. The origin of this demand, so far as I can tell, is a blend of skepticism born of Watergate and of our current president. I suspect substantial legal barriers would prevent such proposals from making it past legal challenges. Would they help or hinder our form of democracy?

 

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21 Responses to Municipal Elections Took Place Last Night. . .

  1. Patel says:

    I support the idea that people wanting to run for public office should provide proof that they payed taxes. If I am going to vote for someone to represent my state, I want to make sure that they are following all the laws. However, I do understand how some people would oppose to this, but people opposing to this might be the people breaking the law.

    • Darby Meadows says:

      I agree! I want to know about the person representing my state and me. I am uninformed about this topic, but I think it would be a good idea to show the people who these political figures are really representing. People who oppose this idea, may be hiding something!

  2. Landry Filce says:

    Anyone who claims that they wish to better our government and the state of our community, state, or nation, is a hypocrite if they do not pay taxes. After all, someone has to disagree quite strongly with the idea of bettering our nation to commit a felony and go through a ridiculous amount of effort in order to bypass improving our country through monetary contributions- even, for some of the individuals in question, “making America great again”. I believe that this is a legitimate concern and accountability and transparency should be demanded of all elected officials in order to avoid contradictory actions while in office, along with the obvious self-serving (to the point of hurting others) mentality that comes with tax evasion. I see no reason that this sort of regulation is not already in place, and certainly no reason that it should not be instated as soon as possible in order to avoid a potential national crisis.

  3. Briana Johnston says:

    It wouldn’t be a bad thing to have politicians publish their tax records because it shows the people who they are voting for and the reliability of that candidate, but requiring someone to post something as personal as taxes is a violation of privacy. I understand the openness it would offer, but do your parents, teachers, or anyone else you know show others their tax forms? Transparency is a great thing in leaders because the people believe that they know who the person they voted for really is. No leader is ever going to have true transparency, but by openly showing their tax forms, they may gain more trust from the people. Ultimately, it should be their choice, and if they choose not to allow access then the people have the right to form opinions about that action.

  4. Liam McDougal says:

    I am an advocate for government transparency and think that revealing taxes has no potential harm. It just shows what our government leaders are working with and can potentially show who they are really representing.

  5. Shuchi Patel says:

    It would help our form of democracy. As mentioned in the article, people have a right to know who they are voting for. It is not fair that wealthy individuals can avoid paying taxes, while the working class individuals break their backs to pay a tenth of what the wealthy have to pay. Trump would not have a reason to hide his tax returns if there was something that he did not want the American people to know. Releasing his tax returns could help determine who invests in his partnerships; people would also find out if he gave “millions” to charity.

  6. Amber Jackson says:

    I am once again very informed about this subject, so Im just giving my opinion on the little information I know. I think that requiring their proof of their taxes isn’t bad, because if they did then there’s nothing to worry about and there would be no speculation. I also think that this would help our democracy because it allows more trust for the people/citizes- who are essentially the core of a democracy.

    • Amber Jackson says:

      Slightly revised:
      I am once again very uninformed about this subject, so I am just giving my opinion on the little information I know. I think that requiring their proof of their taxes isn’t bad, because if they did (pay their taxes) then there’s nothing to worry about and there would be no speculation. I also think that this would help our democracy because it allows more trust to be developed for the people/citizens-who are essentially the core of a democracy. (Sorry for grammar errors.)

  7. Mary Owings says:

    When our president refused to release his tax returns in the election, it contributed to his lack of character and a possible political scandal. It is important for the American people to have confidence in the president’s current and past actions. In this case, that would require the president to release tax returns like every other presidential nominee in the past. Presidential candidates should be required to be transparent, as Steven said, because they are representing the people who would put them in office.

  8. Yousef Abu-Salah says:

    I completely agree with Meagan. While I do believe that political candidates should be highly recommended to publish their tax records, I sincerely oppose the idea that it should be forced. No matter how shady or unlikable the political candidate (Trump), every single US citizen is entitled to their right of privacy. Even if the government seems to forget about this when it comes to our privacy, we should still be good enough citizens to not allow this breach of privacy to stand. Transparency is important, yet I believe that the politician in question should be given the choice. If they refuse to do so, it will hurt them greatly, and the sheer distrust that will cloud that candidate should be enough encouragement for them to eventually release these. This, I believe, is the most “American” way that we should approach this issue.

  9. Angella Osinde says:

    Their are many questions about our current government following the 2016 election. I do agree with those earlier that their should be some transparency but it should be forced. However, in a situation where you have two candidates running for president and one releases his/her tax records and the other one doesn’t. That could help the candidate whose more transparent.

    I don’t think the tax issue alone would necessarily break down our democracy.

  10. Meagan Pittman says:

    First off, its a sad time when we have to question whether or not a political candidate (especially for president) has paid their taxes or not. If they aren’t willing to help support their country with their tax money why on earth would they be willing to genuinely support their country as their profession? It’s proof of the low quality people running for offices. Even with this being said, I don’t think that candidates should be forced to publish their tax records. I will support their right for privacy on this issue. If they want to voluntarily publish them, great, more people will probably support them after that. If they don’t want to publish them and risk loosing supporters, that’s their decision. Transparency is key, but we can’t force it, only encourage it.

  11. Harlynn Robinson says:

    Once again, I say that only a guilty man looks over his shoulder. Accountability has never been a bad thing, heck we consider it a rather flattering adjective. Democracy is supposed to be about people choosing from among themselves the one they believe to be the best leader. How are the people able to make an informed decision about the leaders they elect if the leader is hiding a number of criminal acts within their tax returns? Being able to see that a person truly upholds the ideal they preach on their campaign will allow people to make more informed decisions and elect officials that actually do uphold their shared ideals – not just an official who waves to the people with one hand and pockets the cash with the other.

  12. Samuel Patterson III says:

    If the person can fulfill their duties then I don’t care if they paid their taxes or not. This drum that Dr. E is talking about must be a really a really small drum because I have never heard of such a thing. Continuing, Mississippi shouldn’t be putting any more requirements on voting, given the restrictions already in place and the concerningly low voter turnout. This state has bigger fish to fry, like how they’re going to bring in revenue after they pass anti-revenue laws.

  13. Brianna Ladnier says:

    Transparency is completely and utterly necessary. If someone is unwilling to release their tax returns, they are hiding something. There should be no opposition if you have nothing to hide. You should be accountable for your actions, even when it is financial.

  14. Jagger Riggle says:

    I think it should not be forced, but it should be strongly recommended for a candidate to release their tax returns. As I stated in “More Cyber Espionage,” government officials are humans, too. They should have a right to privacy just like the normal citizen. I think it is wrong to force them to release their tax returns, because it could be used against them. If they understand what could happen, and still want to release them, they can, but only willingly. I agree that Trump and other politicians should release their tax returns, but, again, they should only have to do it willingly.

    I was talking to one of my one time, and he was telling me about a church he used to go to that started forcing members to show their tax returns. A member would then have to donate a certain amount of money, depending on their income and taxes. This is especially wrong. Now I know this would not happen to a politician, but it is an example of how some people could have their tax returns wrongfully used against them.

  15. Campbell Rolph says:

    Is there any problem with accountability? Requiring the release of tax forms discourages those who are lying and/or simply exaggerating their tax returns. For those who aren’t, there’s no drawback. I don’t understand why anyone would be opposed… oh wait. That’s right. The reason why a bill like this will never get passed is because the people who vote on it are the people who stand to lose the most. Politicians with too-big pockets don’t want to lose even a shavings worth of their tax-free money, and the public is being punished by it by not being allowed to see what the people who are supposed to be representing them are.

    Also I agree with Steven, Forbes sucks.

    • Kamal Bhalla says:

      I agree, because they don’t want to lose any of the money that they “worked hard” on, they’re not going to let it pass. I mean, if they had nothing to hide, then why not show the tax returns? But because all of these scandalous freaking politicians (*cough* Trump) they aren’t going to show their dirty secrets.

  16. Steven says:

    Demanding candidates to show their tax returns should be a given in my opinion. If a candidate wants to run for public office (which means represent the PEOPLE) then he/she better have some transparency. If a person is shady enough to not show whether they participate in a mandatory process, they should not be allowed to run for office.
    Speaking on Donald Trump, the whole tax return hysteria has gone past me many weeks ago. Sure, it’s questionable how Trump refuses to reveal to the public how many taxes he pays, but it doesn’t take that sort of hard evidence to expose him for the fraud he is. On the campaign trail, he made the argument that his campaign is self-funded and he did not pander to lobbyists and private donors. This is untrue. He has been acting a person opposite of the person who he promised his voters he would be and has been corroding America’s economy and foreign relations. The tax returns are important, but there are too many alternative methods of exposing whether a candidate is honest and trustworthy. If the Democratic establishment understood this, they wouldn’t be sending pundits such as Rachel Maddow to sensationalize Trump’s tax returns only to fall flat on her face again. There are countless ways to preserve democracy, and having candidates show their taxes is a great method, but I truly do not believe that democracy is either party’s main interest.

    This is unrelated but I hate Forbes. They need to suck it up and let me use my ad blocker.

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