Whither the New MN Revenue Commish?

Dan Salamone

Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Dan Salomone

The last detectable word on the question of who will be Minnesota’s new Department of Revenue commissioner came on Dec. 30 in an AP news report. That story indicated that new Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton will “temporarily” retain GOP appointee Dan Salomone.

“I feel assured, the Legislature should feel assured, the public should feel assured that the position is in capable, professional hands,” Dayton said of Salomone.

That may be, and it also may be that the governor is trying to demonstrate fair gamesmanship to the GOP-dominated Legislature. Salomone, after all, is not known as a staunch partisan, and shouldn’t give the governor fits while he remains in place.

But it is fair to wonder whether the governor is having trouble finding someone from his own party to take the job.

There are going to be huge demands on Revenue to rake in money through audits of the existing business and sales tax base, given that a GOP Legislature is not likely to allow any tax hikes. The department likely will be under intense pressure to hire and internally train lots of new auditors and collection officers on a limited budget, while also trying to launch the semi-automated GenTax computer system that it is gradually–and fitfully–deploying.

In other words, it might be the kind of mess only the heartiest of heart would choose to jump into–especially since, at $108,393 per year, the post does not exactly offer a private-sector-level executive salary.

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