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Shirley Sicilian Receives 2013 Paull Mines Award 

 2013a Paull Mines Award
Shirley Sicilian receives Paull Mines Award from MTC Executive Director Joe Huddleston.

Shirley K. Sicilian, General Counsel, Multistate Tax Commission, was honored as the recipient of the Paull Mines Award for Outstanding Contribution to State Tax Jurisprudence at the annual meeting of the Multistate Tax Commission in San Diego, California, on July 24, 2013.

The Commission established the award to honor Paull Mines, who began his work with the MTC in 1989 and served as MTC general counsel for eight years until his death in 2002.   The award is given to an individual who exemplifies Paull's leadership, legal excellence, professional integrity, and commitment to shared knowledge among state tax attorneys.  Medal winners are chosen by an MTC selection committee from nominations submitted by state tax agency employees.  Past recipients include Jim Peters (2008), Marshall Stranburg (2009), Ben Miller (2010), and Ted Spangler (2011), and Michael Fatale (2012).

Shirley received more than one nomination for the Paull Mines Award, but the nominations all praised her excellence in pursuit of working with many states in her role as the Commission’s general counsel.  She has been a tremendous resource for states in their consideration of statutory and regulatory changes to their tax systems.  Her efforts with regard to the Commission’s Compact Article IV (UDITPA) amendments – which began with her work with the Uniform Law Commission in their consideration of possible broader UDITPA revision project – drew high praise.  Her advocacy in defense of the Compact and her counsel to the states with regard to the ongoing litigation over the Compact’s Article III election provision—was described as “expert navigation.”  Executive director Joe Huddleston noted that Shirley was highly deserving of the award this year, “Over the past several years, no one has been more involved in providing legal support for multistate tax administration than Shirley Sicilian.”

Shirley Sicilian began her stint with the Commission more than ten years ago, when she was hired as deputy general counsel.  Shirley became general counsel in July 2006. 

As general counsel, Shirley heads up a division of four attorneys responsible for providing legal advice and assistance to the Commission.  She authors, and supervises the authorship of, amicus curiae briefs in state and federal appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and also prepares analysis and comments on federal legislation affecting state taxation.  She manages the staffing for Commission committees, and personally advises the Commission’s executive committee and the full Commission.  She has served many times as an MTC public hearing officer for various proposed model statutes and regulations.  She has participated, by request, in oral arguments before the California Supreme Court and the California Court of Appeals.  And she is a regular faculty member for various MTC training programs.

Shirley is well known and regarded in the state and local tax community, due in no small part to her frequent speaking engagements:  She has presented at an average eleven national conferences annually for the last several years, including Georgetown, Hartman, ABA, FTA, AICPA, IPT, COST, TEI and others.  She also writes regularly, with publications in the State and Local Tax Lawyer, State Tax Notes, Proceedings of the New York University Institution on State and Local Taxation, and the corporate income tax chapter for State Business Taxes (a Law Journal Press publication updated semi-annually).  She has been a guest lecturer at Georgetown University Law Center’s L.L.M. Program and State & Local Taxation Certificate Program.

Before joining the Commission’s legal staff, Shirley worked for the Kansas Department of Revenue (DOR).  She started with the department as director of research, managing a group of ten professionals responsible for performing tax research, estimating fiscal impact of proposed legislation, and forecasting future tax revenues.  While director of research, she was the chief negotiator, drafter, and testifier in favor of the Kansas Tax Equity and Fairness Act which significantly improved Kansas tax administration.  She was promoted to director of policy & research, and managed a group of fourteen professionals responsible for developing tax policy through regulations, private letter rulings, and other guidance; developing legislative initiatives; performing legal and economic research as a basis for department policy deliberations; estimating fiscal impact of proposed legislation; and forecasting future tax revenues.  As director of policy & research, she instituted a policy development process and an internet-based policy library which received the 1998 Federation of Tax Administrators Award for Management and Organization.  She also served as the department’s representative to the Kansas legislature on tax issues, which required virtually daily testimony during the session.   She also became a frequent speaker at state and local conferences, something she has continued to do throughout her career.

Shirley was promoted to general counsel at the Kansas DOR, and headed up a division of seventeen attorneys responsible for litigating or otherwise resolving state tax, motor vehicle license and registration, alcoholic beverage control, personnel, and contractual issues.  As general counsel, she provided legal counsel to the Secretary of Revenue and department divisions, and provided legal analysis for the Governor and agency proposed legislation.  She personally litigated cases, including the department’s largest during her tenure.  She initiated the Annual Kansas Tax Conference co-sponsored with the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  And she also served as the Secretary’s designated alternate on the Multistate Tax Commission.

Shirley worked for the Kansas Corporation Commission before joining the Kansas DOR, where she served as assistant general counsel.  She holds an undergraduate degree in economics from University of Kansas, where she also earned her law degree and a graduate degree in economics.

Past Recipients of the Paull Mines Award