News Release

America's State Tax Officials

Federation of Tax Administrators
Multistate Tax Commission
444 North Capitol Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE      July 22, 2004
CONTACT: Verenda Smith
Email: Verenda Smith  

Oregon Tax Director Elizabeth Harchenko
First Winner of Wade Anderson Medal

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            Washington, D.C. - Elizabeth Harchenko, Director of the Oregon Department of Revenue, has been named the first recipient of the Wade Anderson Memorial Medal for Leadership in Interstate Tax Cooperation. The medal is awarded jointly by the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) and the Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA) and will be presented at the MTC Annual Meeting, on Thursday, July 29 in Mystic, Conn.

         Director Harchenko has been director of the Oregon Department of Revenue since May 1997 and is responsible for a $135 million budget and 1,000 employees. She began her career with the Oregon Tax Court and has also served on the staff of the state legislature and the Attorney General’s office. She is past chairperson of the Multistate Tax Commission and past president of the Western States Association of Tax Administrators.

         The selection committee praised Harchenko for her unflagging support for interstate cooperative activities, including her recent work as chairperson of the Multistate Tax Commission. The committee noted: “Elizabeth has been a leader in establishing cooperative state tax administration not only in Oregon but through both the Multistate Tax Commission and the Federation of Tax Administrators. She has provided leadership in state policy initiatives in the income, sales and use and property tax areas.  

         "She has been an energetic and effective spokesperson for the states at the federal level.  Her leadership led to the Commission's Federalism at Risk report. She has been the driving force behind the MTC's state tax compliance initiatives, work that will provide a blueprint for state tax policy makers for the next decade."

         In announcing the award, Billy Hamilton, Texas Deputy Comptroller and long-time colleague of Wade Anderson, said, "Just as Wade Anderson fostered interstate cooperation over a long period of years, Elizabeth began reaching out beyond the boundaries of her state when she worked on tax issues for the Oregon Attorney General's Office and has continued to do so throughout her career. She combines a broad understanding of tax policy challenges facing the states with an extraordinary talent for helping people from diverse states work together. Everyone who works with Elizabeth gains from the experience."

About the award. The medal honors Wade Anderson, who spent 30 years in a variety of positions with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and also served several more years as a tax attorney in the private sector. He was a founding member of the Border States Caucus of tax agencies in states along the U.S.-Mexico border and served as member of the boards of the Federation of Tax Administrators and the Multistate Tax Commission. In 1992 he was the winner of the FTA Award for Outstanding Service and Leadership. The Wade Anderson Memorial Medal was established after his death in 2003 to commemorate his tireless and creative efforts to promote interstate cooperation among tax agencies and between tax administrators and taxpayers. The award will be given annually to an individual who best exemplifies his commitment to interstate cooperation to promote fairness, simplicity and consistency in state tax administration.

            Medal winners will be chosen by representatives of the FTA Board of Trustees and the MTC Executive Committee, selected from nominations submitted by state tax agency employees. The award presentation will alternate between the MTC annual meeting and the FTA annual meeting.

About the organizations. The Federation of Tax Administrators is an association of the state tax agencies in the 50 states, District of Columbia and New York City with principal programs in information exchange, training and intergovernmental coordination. The Multistate Tax Commission is an organization of state governments that works with taxpayers to administer, equitably and efficiently, tax laws that apply to multistate and multinational enterprises.