Capitol Alert

Donald Trump’s tax returns prompt sparring between California lawmakers

Trump tax protest draws hundreds in Sacramento

Hundreds of people met at Southside Park in Sacramento in April for a march calling for the president to release his tax returns.
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Hundreds of people met at Southside Park in Sacramento in April for a march calling for the president to release his tax returns.

A crisp exchange this week between state senators Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, and Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, over Donald Trump’s tax returns embodied one of the key questions for California Republicans heading into 2018 – will they embrace the president on the campaign trail or keep a safe distance?

“I get it that some people hate Trump,” Anderson said on the Senate floor Wednesday night, criticizing a bill from McGuire and Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, that would require presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns in order for their names to appear on the California ballot. “We gotta get over it. I didn’t fight against Obama when he was sworn in. I tried to make things work – at some point I wish you would too.”

Though it was a response to Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, McGuire said his bill is not aimed at one president or one political party.

“Presidents are expected to put their own interests aside, whether it be business ties or relationships with a foreign government, for the greater good of our country,” McGuire said of his Senate Bill 149. “This legislation would make transparency great again.”

Anderson proposed amendments moments before the bill passed the Senate floor, with Republicans opposed. At one point, he called for requiring presidential candidates to release their birth certificates.

“It makes sense that before you run for show your birth certificate,” Anderson said. “That would take a lot of controversy out of the room.”

McGuire said Anderson’s comments evoked so-called “birther” allegations by Trump and others to undermine the legitimacy of former President Barack Obama.

Trump will be a major factor in House battleground districts in the Central Valley and Southern California and already, the California Republican Party is getting involved.

“D.C. Democrats are moving into California with the hopes of defeating OUR Republican elected officials,” the party said in an email fundraising blast this week, referring to the announcement that Democrats had added Republican incumbents Devin Nunes and Duncan Hunter to their list of 2018 targets.

WORTH REPEATING: “I would even say this is an insane move.” — Gov. Jerry Brown on President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

PRIDE MONTH: June is considered gay pride month, which has morphed over the years into a celebration for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and gender nonconforming people across the country.

Sacramento Pride is Saturday. A parade and festival are planned. San Francisco Pride weekend begins June 24.

June is widely recognized as gay pride month because of the “Stonewall riots” in June of 1969, when gay people and allies launched demonstrations protesting police raids of the Stonewall Inn in New York City. Saturday’s parade in Sacramento begins at 11 a.m. at 3rd and N Street and ends at 10th and N.

BY THE NUMBERS: Two-thirds of Californians believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, according to a Public Policy Institute poll out this week, and one-half think the U.S. will suffer next year economically.

Most also don’t like the Obamacare repeal plan advanced by Republicans in Washington, but they’re split over whether they like Obamacare.

More than one-half of likely voters say they support a proposal by two Democratic state senators (Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens and Toni Atkins of San Diego) to overhaul California’s health insurance marketplace and replace it with a universal, publicly funded system. But support dips to 42 percent, down from 56 percent, when the proposal includes higher taxes.

Senate Bill 562, which would establish a single-payer health care system in the state, passed the California State Senate Thursday.

MUST READ: Is Jerry Brown taking Trump’s place on world climate stage?

Angela Hart: 916-326-5528, @ahartreports