Tax Commission News Release
New Tax Commission Chairman Hopes to be Catalyst for Change
The following is an editorial response from new Tax Commission Chairman Robert Geddes.
A recent editorial called on me to make clear that I will not “tolerate favoritism or special deals” in my newly-appointed role as chairman of the Idaho State Tax Commission. I could just state my intention in a few words, but that would not explain the depth of the commitment I have made to ensuring equitable and fair treatment for all taxpayers in Idaho.
Nearly a month ago, Governor Otter appointed me to serve as an Idaho State Tax Commissioner. The last four weeks have flown by as I embraced the steep learning curve to understand and fulfill my duties and responsibilities.
Here are some of my most significant activities since accepting this appointment: I resigned from the Idaho State Senate; severed my fulltime employment of nearly 26 years as a geologist/environmental engineer and project manager; completed Idaho State Tax Commission security and confidentiality training; met with the Tax Commission’s front line supervisors, policy managers, and deputy attorneys general; received input from my commissioner colleagues and many of the agency’s employees; relocated my residence of 31 years from Caribou to Ada County; appeared before the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee and was subsequently confirmed by the entire Senate, as required by the State’s constitution; joined the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee’s tour of the Tax Commission’s facilities and processes; helped present the FY2012 Tax Commission budget request to the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee; met with numerous legislators to discuss commission- related issues and concerns; attended my first Governor’s Cabinet meeting; and attended an Idaho Association of Counties conference, where I reaffirmed the Tax Commission’s desire and need to strengthen working relationships.
My involvement in setting Idaho’s tax policy over the past 16 years as a legislator will be invaluable, as I am now responsible for applying the state’s tax laws. My impression has long been that the Tax Commission is made up of dedicated and capable individuals who perform their responsibilities well. That observation has not changed.
So what is next for the Tax Commission? We will continue to meet our mission: To provide courteous, quality services and to administer the state’s tax laws in a fair, timely, and cost-effective manner to benefit Idaho citizens.
I will use my management experience and influence to build on the successes of the past, while pursuing opportunities for improvement. There is a great need to restore credibility regarding how this organization functions and is perceived. Any improvements will be less tangible than implementing major changes, but my experience tells me that the best fix will be to inspire healing that is needed both internally and externally. My commitment is to be a catalyst to make that happen as soon as possible.
Commissioner Robert L. Geddes served eight terms in the Idaho State Senate, two years as the Majority Caucus Chairman, and 11 years as the Senate President Pro Tempore.
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