Paull Mines Award
The MTC established the Paull Mines Award for Contributions to State Tax Jurisprudence in 2007 to honor the memory and achievements of Paull Mines, who served as MTC general counsel for eight years until his death in 2002. Paull was a recognized authority on state taxation, with a unique and rich perspective developed over a long career involving work from multiple vantage points, including state government, tribal government, private practice, and academics. MTC’s memorial to Paull says: “He described his professional passion to be ‘Preserving Federalism’ by developing state tax systems that are understandable, administrable and fair for taxpayers and States alike, with the view to avoiding post-transactional assessments.”
The award recognizes an attorney who has made significant contributions to state tax jurisprudence, and who exemplifies Paull’s qualities of leadership, legal excellence, and professional integrity in the best traditions of the profession. Winners are nominated by state tax agency employees and chosen by an MTC selection committee.
2023 Recipient of the Paull Mines Award
Marilyn Harbur – Oregon
Marilyn Harbur serves as Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Tax & Finance Section of the Oregon Department of Justice where she has worked for almost 40 years. She has provided advice on many tax programs, including corporate excise tax, centrally assessed property tax, personal income tax, and timber tax.
Marilyn has been a leader in state corporate income tax litigation. She is a fierce advocate with several key multistate tax cases to her credit including sourcing issues under UDITPA, alternative apportionment, and economic substance. She has tried numerous cases before three different Oregon Tax Court judges, the Oregon Supreme Court, and federal district courts.
She has also been continuously and actively involved as a leader in the state tax realm by participating in many workgroups and committees for, and as a presenter to, the American Bar Association and the MTC. Marilyn has been an Oregon Bar Association representative to the ABA for many years and has served on the Board of Governors for the Oregon State Bar Association. For many years Marilyn has been a drafter and editor for the ABA Property Tax Deskbook.
According to the colleagues who nominated her for the Paull Mines Award, Marilyn’s work as a leader has taken the form of mentorship to more than a couple of generations of tax attorneys at the Oregon Department of Justice, where she has graciously shared her knowledge, wisdom, and experience with her colleagues.
Marilyn’s colleagues also noted that her fierce dedication to ensuring the collection of revenue needed to fund the important government programs of the State of Oregon has been an inspiring example to staff at the Department of Justice and her clients at the Department of Revenue.
Past Recipients of the Paull Mines Award
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2022 – Rick Handel – South Carolina
Rick received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree from Michigan State University, and his law degree summa cum laude from Ohio State University. He earned an LL.M. in Taxation from New York University.
After NYU, Rick taught tax and estate planning courses at the University of South Carolina’s School of Law, during which time he received the Outstanding Professor Award. He then became a partner in two law firms.
Rick left private practice to head the Policy Section at the South Carolina Department of Revenue. After 23 years, he retired as a Senior Administrator and the General Counsel for Policy. Rick currently teaches state and local tax at the University of South Carolina’s School of Law and assists the South Carolina Department of Revenue with training.
During his career Rick has been active in the American Bar Association, previously serving as vice chair of the State and Local Tax Committee. In 2015, the ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice awarded Rick the Mary C. Lawton Outstanding Government Service Award.
Rick has continued to be a noted author on SALT matters. He was the major author of a now out of print BNA Tax Management Portfolio, South Carolina’s Corporate Income Taxes, and continues to write “Both Sides Now,” a recurring column for State Tax Notes.
2021 – Robert D. (Rob) Plattner – New York
Rob started working on tax issues in 1981 while working for the New York State Assembly, eventually serving as Counsel and then Director of the Legislative Tax Study Commission. He joined the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance in 2007, serving as the Deputy Commissioner for Tax Policy when he retired in 2018. He currently serves as senior adviser to the chair of the New York State Senate Finance Committee.
Rob is a visionary in his field, earning a reputation among public and private sector tax attorneys across the country for finding practical solutions to difficult tax issues. He was Tax Analysts State Tax Person of the year in 2014. He has written dozens of articles and has presented in numerous forums. Rob is open to ideas, willing to share his perspective with other states, and unfazed by criticism.
Rob was instrumental in overturning the Quill case, advocating for the limitation of that case through insightful legal writing. He was co-author of an influential 2010 State Tax Notes article which eschewed seeking federal legislation and instead advocated, presciently, that the states aggressively take on Quill through action under their own laws. In 2007, he courageously pioneered the innovative associate “click-through” nexus statute that was passed in 2008 and unsuccessfully challenged in the Overstock.com case.
Rob also pioneered the concept of requiring marketplaces to collect tax on behalf of their marketplace sellers. That all states with sales and use taxes have adopted marketplace laws is monumental and owes much to Rob. In 2021, Rob crafted a proposal to tax companies that collect digital information—an idea that may help to initiate further major state tax reform. Rob was also instrumental in corporate tax reform that led to the enactment of combined reporting and market-based sourcing, as well as other major initiatives that are very influential in the states.
2020 – Clark Snelson – Utah
Clark devoted nearly his entire career to state taxation, representing the Utah State Tax Commission for 30 years as a member of the Utah Attorney General’s Office and retiring in August 2020. He consistently handled complicated tax matters and was involved in both tax policy work and tax litigation. He served as section chief of the tax litigation section in the Utah AG’s office for a number of years, and argued tax cases at all levels, from administrative hearings to the Utah Supreme Court. Clark has long had a passion for sharing knowledge and promoting cooperation among state tax attorneys, serving as a member–and eventual chair–of the MTC Litigation Committee. He was always willing to engage in the most complicated tax litigation matters, devising new ideas based on a firm grasp of the subject matter and legal practice.
2019 – Donita (Dee) Wald – North Dakota
Dee Wald is one of those state tax attorneys who has seen it all. Upon graduation from college, she worked for the North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner from 1984 until 1988. She left to go back to attend University of North Dakota Law School where she received her J.D., with Distinction, in 1991. As Dee tells it, the day after graduation her car broke down so the then Tax Commissioner, Heidi Heitkamp, offered her a job as an Assistant Attorney General with the Tax Department so she could buy a car, get back to Bismarck, and do the dirty work on Quill v. North Dakota. It was also as part of the Quill litigation that Dee began to work closely with the Multistate Tax Commission and its Litigation Committee, on which she has long served, including in the role of Vice Chair. Dee has worked as General Counsel for the North Dakota Tax Department for six different (elected) Tax Commissioners. Because their legal office has a total of three attorneys, Dee’s focus has been on all state taxes (income, sales and use, property, etc.). She has worked closely with industry groups in the state and with state lawmakers on tax policy issues. She has also provided support to the North Dakota’s Legislative State-Tribal Taxation Committee. And, in addition to participating in the MTC Litigation Committee, Dee has served on the Uniformity Committee and in various work groups, providing insight and expertise on a host of state tax issues—including heading up a group to study the effectiveness of the committee’s work in 2014.
2018 – Sheldon Laskin – MTC
Sheldon worked for the Commission from 1998 to 2017, at which time he retired and ran a grassroots campaign for Maryland State Senate. He garnered 30% of the votes despite having no political experience. His former coworkers at the MTC were unsurprised by his passion and appeal, because they had seen it in action for almost the past decade. Sheldon held various positions within the MTC—Director of Nexus, Counsel, and Interim Acting General Counsel—and he approached all of them with diplomacy and a level head. Tax law was not Sheldon’s initial pursuit: he has represented migrant and seasonal farmworkers, litigated employment discrimination cases for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, argued and won an employment discrimination case in the US Supreme Court, and served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Maryland. At the 2018 annual meeting, Sheldon’s friends and former coworkers celebrated his drive, tenacity, and devotion to fairness.
2017 – Alan Friedman – MTC
Alan worked for the Commission from 1983 to 1995, serving as general counsel for more than half of that period until his retirement. He was a leader and a driving force with respect to sales tax nexus, and was actively involved in the efforts behind Quill. He was also involved in other important cases of that period including Wrigley, Allied Signal and Barclays. In addition, he shepherded several uniformity projects, including the first model financial institution rules, undoubtedly the most complicated set of special industry rules that the Commission has ever issued. On that project, Alan proved his political skills as well as his management and legal acumen. And he was instrumental in establishing the process for the Commission’s alternative dispute resolution—an idea that he was clearly well suited to champion. In 2017, at its 50th annual meeting, the Commission honored Alan for his passion for state tax policy.
2016 – Phil Horwitz – Colorado & Wood Miller – Missouri
In 2016, the Commission gave the Paull Mines Award to two deserving individuals, Phil Horwitz of the Colorado Department of Revenue and Wood Miller of the Missouri Department of Revenue. Wood Miller took over as chair of the Uniformity Committee when Ted Spangler retired. Prior to that, he was the chair of the Income and Franchise Tax Subcommittee. Under his leadership, the Commission completed The Sales & Use Tax Notice and Reporting statute, the model for Administration of Telecommunications Transaction Tax, the Compact Art. IV amendments, the Section 18 Model Regulation (for Distortion Relief), the Withholding for Multistate Employee model, the rule for Entities with Affiliates that are Not Subject to Corporate Income Tax, the Financial Institutions Allocation and Apportionment rules, the Add-back Statute for Captive REIT Payments, and the Combined Reporting Tax-Haven Provision. The most common words used to describe him were professional, courteous, and effective. According to Phil Horwitz, our other award recipient, Wood “has always been a steady hand at the tiller, doing the best anyone could be expected to do both to extract comment from the teeming multitude and keep the committee or subcommittee on course.” Phil Horwitz is perhaps best known for being the mastermind behind the DMA case and the statute that gave rise to that case. Both Michael Fatale and Nancy Prosser wanted to give Phil special credit for his general contributions over the years to matters involving policy and litigation strategy. Phil was celebrated for his knack for just the right kind of disruption – that is – for looking at an issue and seeing what no one else sees—at least until he points it out—and for saying the thing that, as it turns out, needs to be said at a time when it needs to be said, even if it means that we have to adjust or make changes.
2015 – Joe W. Garrett, Jr. – Alabama
The Litigation Committee selected Joe W. Garrett, Jr., Deputy Commissioner for the Alabama Department of Revenue for the Commission’s 2015 Paull Mines Award, citing his long commitment to the Uniformity Committee and the ALAS project and his willingness to travel and speak publicly at seminars and conferences on the perspectives of state tax administrators. Joe was a fixture at MTC meetings for over ten years. He made substantial contributions to the uniformity process and participated in litigation committee meetings and attorney trainings. He devoted significant amounts of time heading up the MTC’s SITAS project, working with other interested states, Executive Director Greg Matson, and past Executive Director, Dan Bucks, on a project of substantial importance to the states: how to deal with complex intercompany pricing issues. Joe was hailed as not only a strong advocate for the states, but an example of a thoughtful and reasonable public servant.
2014 – C.A. Daw – Montana
On July 30, 2014, the Commission awarded the 2014 Paull Mines Award for Contribution to State Tax Jurisprudence to the late C. A. Daw, chief counsel for the Montana Department of Revenue, who lost a battle with cancer in May of that year. His wife, Mari, was present to accept to the award. Helen Hecht, MTC’s general counsel, presented the award, and drawing from the nomination letter, noted that “C. A.’s leadership in state taxation was based on the same foundation as Paull’s: incredible intellectual ability and curiosity, an open and egalitarian spirit toward people, an encyclopedic knowledge of taxation at all levels, and a bedrock commitment to tax fairness matched by an equally strong commitment to taxpayer rights.”
Dan Bucks, former director of the Montana Department of Revenue and former executive director of the Commission was also present, and provided some remarks on C. A.’s work in the state tax field. C.A.’s legal career began with the Idaho Tax Commission and continued for more than two decades in private practice defending states in centrally assessed property and 4-R Act cases. Dan pointed out that C. A. “could easily have chosen the other side of the courtroom, but he chose instead to use his considerable talents for what he believed was the greater public good. In 2007, he joined the Montana Department of Revenue as chief counsel.”
2013 – Shirley Sicilian – MTC
On July 27, 2013, Shirley Sicilian, General Counsel of the Multistate Tax Commission, was presented with the Paull Mines Award for Contribution to State Tax Jurisprudence. The nominations universally praised her excellence in pursuit of working with many states in her role as the Commission’s general counsel. 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 been 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.”
2012 – Michael T. Fatale – Massachusetts
Michael T. Fatale, Chief, Rulings & Regulations Bureau, Massachusetts Department of Revenue, was awarded the Paull Mines Award for Outstanding Contribution to State Tax Jurisprudence at the annual meeting of the Multistate Tax Commission in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on August 1, 2012.
Mr. Fatale’s outstanding contributions include a number of influential law review articles, several of which have been cited for important propositions in landmark state appellate decisions, such as Kmart Props., Inc. v. Taxation & Revenue Department, Tax Comm’r v. MBNA America Bank N.A., and KFC Corp. v. Iowa Department of Revenue. His most recent publication, Common Sense: Implicit Constitutional Limitations on Congressional Preemptions of State Tax, like his earlier publications, contributes an insightful and sophisticated analysis that moves forward the discussion on an important topic in a constructive way. Mr. Fatale’s willingness to share his insight at national conferences and during Commission meetings, teleconferences, and training sessions has helped shape the debate and the resolution of some of today’s most complex issues in state taxation. In 2005, his leadership role in a significant multistate bankruptcy matter on behalf of a large number of states was recognized in a feature article by the Boston Globe titled “Hooray for the Taxman,” a sentiment rarely expressed and truly deserved by Mr. Fatale.
Mr. Fatale joined the Massachusetts Department of Revenue in 1992. He has been the Chief of the Rulings and Regulations Bureau, the Bureau responsible for public pronouncements on the state’s tax laws, since 2006. Before joining the Department, Mr. Fatale worked in private practice. He holds an undergraduate degree from Columbia University and a law degree, with honors, from Boston College Law School.
2011 – Ted Spangler – Idaho
When Ted Spangler won the Multistate Tax Commission’s 2011 Paull Mines Award, it was the culmination of four distinguished decades in the state and local tax field. Spangler, who earned his law degree from the University of Idaho College of Law after doing undergraduate work at Boise College (now Boise State University), joined the Idaho state administration in May 1974 after three years in private practice. While technically employed by the attorney general’s office, he was assigned to the Idaho State Tax Commission full time, a position he held until retiring as the commission’s deputy attorney general on March 30, 2010. During his tenure, Spangler not only argued 25 cases before the Idaho Supreme Court but also served as the chair of the MTC’s Uniformity Committee from 1989 until his retirement. Spangler’s MTC affiliation, however, stretched back to the year he accepted a position with the Idaho tax commission, making him one of the longest-serving officials (36 years) in the commission’s history.
2010 – Ben Miller – California
Ben Miller is widely considered one of the national pioneers in the unitary method for taxing corporations. Ben joined the California Franchise Tax Board in 1970. During his tenure with the FTB, Ben has represented the state of California before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Department of Treasury, and other venues at the state, federal and international levels concerning issues in state taxation of multistate and multinational income. He served the Multistate Tax Commission in a number of capacities, such as California’s designated alternate on the Executive Committee as well as the Commission, as an advisor to the Commission’s legal staff in drafting amicus briefs, as Chair of the Uniformity Committee’s Subcommittee on Income and Franchise Tax, as California’s representative in the Commission’s lobbying efforts before Congress, and as faculty for the Commission’s training courses. His especial contribution to the work of the Commission was as a founding member of the Litigation Committee, established in 1989, for which he served as its Chair from the Committee’s inception until 1992. The Commission expressed its gratitude and admiration for Ben’s work, and acknowledged that the knowledge and expertise Ben has shared with the Commission has played a significant role in this organization’s evolution into a nationally and internationally known resource on multistate tax policy.
2009 – Marshall Stranburg – Florida
On July 29, 2009, Marshall Stranburg, General Counsel for the Florida Department of Revenue, was presented with the second annual Paull Mines Award for Contribution to State Tax Jurisprudence. The Florida Department of Revenue described Marshall as a recognized expert on even the most complex tax issues and the calm voice of reason and compromise in a room full of passionate views. Marshall was celebrated for the generosity of his time and intellect in multistate venues. He provided leadership in the streamlined sales tax effort and, as chair of the MTC Litigation Committee, directed his talents and energy to fostering cooperation and shared knowledge among state tax attorneys.
2008 – Jim Peters – California
On July 30, 2008, Jim Peters was presented with the first annual Paull Mines Award for Contribution to State Tax Jurisprudence. The Commission recognized Jim’s outstanding contributions to state and local tax legal practice. Jim began his career as a private practitioner. He then worked 28 years for AT&T, spanning the period of the AT&T breakup. Later, Jim was counsel with McDermott, Will & Emery. He then worked for the California Franchise Tax Board for a number of years before retiring. Throughout his career, Jim gave selflessly of his time and intellect as a professor at New York University Law School, Editor of the Journal of Taxation, and chairman of many state tax committees and organizations, including Tax Executives Institute, Counsel on State Taxation, and the American Bar Association’s State and Local Tax committee. Jim also served on several advisory boards, including State Tax Notes and Prentis Hall.
Jim’s thoughtful research and commentary—through more than one hundred publications—has been illuminating the nooks and crannies of the state and local tax field for more than five decades and has raised the level of discourse across the entire tax profession. Jim continues to devote his enormous talent and energy to fostering cooperation and shared knowledge among state tax attorneys.