HELENA – The Senate Taxation Committee unanimously voted Wednesday to recommend the confirmation of Mike Kadas as the new director of the state Revenue Department.
Senate Resolution 16, to confirm Gov. Steve Bullock’s choice to head the state tax-collecting agency, now goes to the full Senate.
Both Republican and Democratic senators heaped praise on Kadas, a Democrat, who represented Missoula for 14 years in the state House, served as Missoula mayor for a decade and most recently worked for technology company.
“Director Kadas has worked with us for two months,” said Senate Taxation Chairman Bruce Tutvedt, R-Kalispell, sponsor of SR16. “It’s been a pleasure. He’s provided information. I think we’re already feeling some of the good that he’s bringing.”
Tutvedt said he believes Kadas is going to bring back the Revenue Department’s team attitude, along with being tough but fair.
“I think this new and better way is good,” he said.
Sen. Greg Jergeson, D-Chinook, said he has known Kadas since the early 1980s, adding: “He has developed the capacity to work with people to find solutions.“
Kadas outlined his philosophy to the committee.
“From an administrative standpoint, there are some basic principles I’ll operate by, and I expect the Department of Revenue to operate by: to be professional, to be courteous and perhaps most importantly to be fair,” he said.
Over the years, Kadas said he has come to learn that disagreement is good. Having different points of views clearly articulated makes the end result better.
Sen. Dick Barrett, D-Missoula, asked what criteria Kadas believes are important to judge tax policy.
Fairness, simplicity, clarity and transparency, he said.
“I think our tax policy ought to be progressive,” Kadas said. “As you are able to pay, you do contribute more. We all have some responsibility to those who aren’t as lucky as the rest of us.“
Sen. Fred Thomas, R-Stevensville, asked what Kadas’ mission statement for the department would be and what his top three goals would be.
“My mission statement is we want to be courteous, responsible and professional,” Kadas said. “We need to remember our customers are the people of Montana and the businesses that we work with. We need to build positive built on fairness.“
As for goals, Kadas said the department needs to anticipate technological changes, and, where necessary, lead and to simplify and streamline Montana’s tax system.
“The third goal is trying to develop better relationships with the Legislature,” Kadas said. “I really do believe we’ve got to have the courage to honestly disagree and then honestly listen to each other. If we do that, we end up good results. I hope I can contribute to helping change the tenor.“
Testifying for his nomination were Harold Blattie, executive director of the Montana Association of Counties, and George Olsen, representing the Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants
No one opposed his nomination.