Government

State revenue director to resign

Courtney Kay-Decker appointed by Branstad in 2011

Courtney Kay-Decker, director of the Iowa Department of Revenue, discusses her agency’s state budget request with Gov. Kim Reynolds and members of her administration Monday at the Iowa Capitol building in Des Moines on Nov. 19. (Rod Boshart/The Gazette)
Courtney Kay-Decker, director of the Iowa Department of Revenue, discusses her agency’s state budget request with Gov. Kim Reynolds and members of her administration Monday at the Iowa Capitol building in Des Moines on Nov. 19. (Rod Boshart/The Gazette)

Courtney Kay-Decker, who has served as Iowa Revenue Department director since 2011, announced she will step down to return to the private sector.

Kay-Decker told employees in an email Monday she will resign effective Jan. 2.

“It is with mixed emotions that I share with you that I am stepping down as director ...,” she wrote in an email the agency provided to The Gazette Tuesday.

“It has been the honor and privilege of my professional career to work with you on behalf of the taxpayers of our great state. I am so proud of the things we have accomplished together.”

Kay-Decker, appointed by then-Gov. Terry Branstad, previously worked as a lawyer with the Davenport law firm of Lane and Waterman.

She was approached in December 2010 by Jeff Boeyink, Branstad’s chief of staff at the time, about leading the department that collects taxes, processes tax returns, conducts audits and reviews tax policies, The Gazette reported in 2012.

Some lawmakers at the time criticized Branstad’s decision to give Kay-Decker more than $8,000 in relocation expenses that included $1,700 in closing costs on a $210,000 Des Moines condo that she lived in when not commuting to Davenport.

Kay-Decker told Boeyink she would take the job only if she could spend half her time in Davenport with her husband and two children.

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“She made it clear she still is a working mother,” Boeyink said in 2012. “Some level of telecommuting has to be part of it. We said, ‘We can make it work.’”

In 2015, Iowa had more than 10,000 fraudulent tax returns, causing the Revenue Department to increase security measures, such as using government information system data and analytics to better define fraud rings, officials said.

The department also looked more closely into bank accounts before depositing checks. This led to major slowdown in refunds, which frustrated Iowa taxpayers.

It’s unclear what led to Monday’s resignation. Kay-Decker said last month she was excited to implement in 2019 the first phase of Iowa’s largest-ever income tax cut.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing that we all get to do,” she told Gov. Kim Reynolds Nov. 19 at the start of a budget hearing. “It’s so fun. This is stuff that we don’t see very often.

“You see bits and pieces of it come along, you don’t see major reform like that very often in the tax world.”

The email Kay-Decker sent employees does not say what she plans to do after leaving the Revenue Department.

l Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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