Within the last month, Tennessee and North Carolina have replaced the heads of their respective Departments of Revenue. On September 20, Charles Trost was sworn in as the new Tennessee Commissioner of Revenue. Mr. Trost was a partner at a Nashville law firm, and takes over for outgoing Commissioner Reagan Farr. In Tennessee, the Commissioner is appointed by the governor, and there are four months left in the term of the outgoing governor.
Change is also occurring on the other side of the Appalachian mountains, as Ken Lay (no, not that Ken Lay, the other Ken Lay) is stepping down as North Carolina Secretary of Revenue. Governor Beverly Perdue has appointed outgoing State Senator David Hoyle as the replacement. Mr. Hoyle is the former co-chairman of the North Carolina Senate Finance Committee and has been a significant force in rewriting the tax laws of that state. Governor Perdue’s term will end in 2013.
These two changes may be the first of many changes for state taxing authorities. In 2010, 37 states will elect governors. New governors may bring new tax policy. Furthermore, in many states, the governor appoints the head of the state’s taxing authority, so there may be many new Secretaries, Commissioners, and Directors of Revenue. Taxpayers can expect to see some significant changes not only in state law and policy, but also in enforcement and collection practices.