MN Revenue Commissioner to Resign, Start Firm

As Governor Pawlenty's term draws closer to an end, the state's revenue commissioner, Ward Einess, has announced plans to leave the administration.

Minnesota Revenue Commissioner Ward Einess plans to resign and start his own government affairs practice.

Governor Tim Pawlenty, who appointed Einess to his post in 2007, announced the planned departure on Wednesday. Einess' resignation is effective December 3.

Pawlenty praised the commissioner's commitment to sound tax policy, and his ability to work across party lines. “Ward has been a trusted advisor and highly respected advocate for our agenda since the beginning of my administration,” he said in a statement.

During his tenure, Einess oversaw the consolidation of all tax types into a single, integrated tax-processing system, and administered several successful tax compliance initiatives, Pawlenty's office said.

Einess was a key supporter of the state's enactment of Minnesota's small business investment tax credit (also known as the angel investment tax credit) earlier this year. Under the program, qualified investors are eligible for a 25 percent individual tax credit for an investment made in a qualified small business.

Einess also pushed for an expansion of Minnesota's research and development tax credit, which resulted in the credit being doubled in size and including more business entities.

Prior to his current appointment, Einess served as commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), and as senior advisor to the governor on issues related to tax policy, economic development, labor relations, and commerce. Before serving in the Pawlenty administration, Einess was director of fiscal policy for the Minnesota Business Partnership.

Einess is not the first of Pawlenty's key staffers to announce plans to leave. Last week, Commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget Tom Hanson said he would leave to join the lobbying division at Winthrop & Weinstine, a Twin Cities law firm. Hanson, whose department oversees the state budget, will leave December 1, one day before a new economic forecast is issued.