NYC’s tax office lands new leader

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Tom Youngkin and his team have done a lot to bring New York City’s troubled tax office out of the gate, and in a major way. In the almost one-and-a-half years he’s been leading the department, his team has cut the city’s $2.1 billion in tax debt by more than $1 billion and expanded the tax payer base by nearly a half a million individuals and businesses.

In light of that, Youngkin said it was time to start a new term. He has decided to move on and take over for New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as his successor on April 1.

First came the announcement that Youngkin is the New York City Public Advocate nominee, a position that is expected to be confirmed by the City Council on Wednesday, March 21.

“In 2014, I joined the City Tax Division, set the fastest-growing open files on the Internal Revenue Service at record levels and installed a cadre of hundreds of new tech and data specialists, resulting in dramatic savings and customer service improvement,” Youngkin said in a statement. “As the City’s top tax official, I will ensure the agency can continue its historic progress as well as create the workforce and technology necessary to deliver the best tax services possible in the future.”

When Schneiderman announced in November that he wouldn’t seek re-election, Youngkin began work as the director of Schneiderman’s Economic Crimes and Tax Bureau, a role that is to be expanded to focus on individual tax fraud.

It is unclear if Youngkin will work in Schneiderman’s office once elected, but he might already have a personal connection there. Youngkin used to be Schneiderman’s chief investigator when he was a district attorney, and said he considers his successor a friend.

The next leg of Youngkin’s career will be in state government, and he will need to perform no less well than he did in his current job to earn the job.

New York City’s political parties must first agree on a nominee for the position, as required by law. The City Council can pick a candidate the political parties like best or it can choose someone else. If the council picks someone else for Schneiderman’s vacancy, then Youngkin would have to go through a process.

A spokesman for the New York State Assembly said it is no certainty if they will consider candidates picked by the City Council.

Typically New York City public advocate candidates run on a third party line. Unlike a campaign for governor, the City Council only picks a candidate if the two main parties agree on one.

The Democratic party endorsed Youngkin because of his work leading the tax bureau in his time at the agency.

It remains to be seen if the Queens and Bronx county Democratic parties will back Youngkin over candidate Scott Stringer, who was Schneiderman’s county chair until last week.

The City’s Tax Counsel Norman Siegel was the first to jump into the race and has some supporters in some party organizations, but he is not a candidate officially.

Democratic Council members Julissa Ferreras, Jimmy Van Bramer and Mark Weprin endorsed Schneiderman in his 2014 re-election bid.

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