OLYMPIA -- Suzan DelBene, an unsuccessful congressional candidate in this year's election, was named today as the new director of the state Department of Revenue.
DelBene takes over the state's tax-collecting agency at a time when Washington is facing revenue shortfalls for at least the next 30 months. Gov. Chris Gregoire said she'll be leading the department as it seeks to simplify the state tax code for businesses and collect money from companies that aren't paying their taxes.
To handle the latter assignment, the state will be hiring more auditors and tax examiners, contacting businesses in and out of state that are not paying taxes. Gregoire will also ask the Legislature to approve a four-month tax amnesty which would allow businesses to pay delinquent taxes in full, without penalty or interest between Feb. 1 and May 31.
The state could see an extra $44 million, and local governments a total of $6 million, from those efforts, Gregoire said.
DelBene is a former Microsoft executive who ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in suburban King County's 8th Congressional District. She lost to incumbent Republican Rep. Dave Reichert.