When it comes to any kind of election, voters hope for honesty and truthfulness from candidates. It’s important for every candidate to remain transparent. In the Pennsylvania election for governor, candidate Scott Wagner is holding back from voters. For those who don’t know, Wagner made his fortune from his trash-hauling business which has made him millions. But when asked to view his tax returns, the Republican candidate refused. His opponent, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, on the other hand, did release his tax return.
Gov. Wolf has made a huge effort in transparency in this election. Because it is not law for candidates to release their tax returns, Wagner shows no signs of giving in. He believes that his tax returns are his own business and that he shouldn’t have to disclose that information. Although it is not a law, it is customary in some states to share tax returns. When a candidate refuses to disclose this information, it begins to raise suspicion.
In the 2016 presidential election, President Trump refused to turn over his tax return. This refusal sparked rumors that questioned his wealth, any debts and whether he has Russian financial ties. Voters and government officials often begin to wonder what a candidate could be hiding when they don’t give their tax return. If candidates refuse to remain transparent, it becomes hard to put trust or put faith in them to lead. Everyone has a right to privacy, but candidates must show the public that they are trustworthy enough to be elected.
Many people wonder why releasing a candidate’s tax return is so important. To put it simply, voters are able to see where their income is coming from, if taxes were paid, and the strategies used to limit or avoid tax liability. These details show how honest a candidate has been financially, and this information has the possibility to be used against them in campaign ads. Because the information from their tax return can sometimes be damaging to their campaign, some officials choose not to release it. But this shows they may have something to hide.
It’s easy to see why Wagner’s refusal to release his tax return has sparked controversy and debate among government officials. As he hopes to unseat Gov. Wolf, he remains obscure throughout the election. When questioned about his refusal to release his tax return, he said that it was “complicated.” Wagner claims he has followed the law on disclosing information, that he owes no back taxes, and promises he gives to charity through his company. Unfortunately, this did little to settle anyone’s suspicions, and many find that his word is not enough.