On December 15 State Tax Notes released its annual Person of the Year issue. It’s a fun issue for the magazine staff. We get to take a break from the news of the day to think back about what happened during the year. Of course, that often leads to a discussion of what might happen in the coming year, but that’s fun too.
For 2014, the person and tax administrator of the year is Robert Plattner, deputy commissioner of the Office of Tax Policy and Analysis for the New York State Department of Finance and Revenue. I had the pleasure of speaking with Plattner for this issue of the magazine and can wholeheartedly say that he deserves the honor. In my conversations with practitioners about their interactions with Plattner, I was impressed by the unanimous acclaim for Plattner’s dedication to his job and to his goal of creating good tax policy in New York State.
Admittedly, New York is known for imposing a heavy tax burden on those living and working within its borders, but the state accomplished something this year that many states and the federal government should envy – corporate tax reform. New York enacted a comprehensive tax reform package designed to improve the competitiveness of the state’s tax code by merging the bank tax into the corporate franchise tax, adopting single-sales-factor apportionment with market-based sourcing, broadening the corporate tax base, and lowering the rate.
Plattner deserves recognition for consistently championing tax reform. He understands that tax reform is only as good as the work done to achieve it, and he also knows that major legislation will pass only if the timing and political atmosphere are right. Plattner acknowledged that a lot can go wrong to derail the tax reform process along the way and that there is still work to do in implementing the sweeping changes that were made to the New York tax code, but he confirmed that the overall process was very rewarding.
Perhaps Washington officials should take note that tax reform can be more than just a pipe dream.