Presentation of the 2018 Davie-Davis award

The Davie-Davis Public Service Award was created in memory of two long-time NTA members, Bruce F. Davie and Albert J. Davis.

The Award honors NTA members who have followed Bruce Davie and Al Davis in serving the public through the provision of insightful analyses and objective advice on issues of taxation and government finance to elected officials, other policymakers, and the general public.

This year’s recipient is Donald Kiefer.

After receiving his Ph.D. in economics from Purdue University, Don served as the Executive Director for the Indiana Commission on State Tax and Financing Policy. Don then moved on to serve as a legislative assistant for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee for a year and a half. He then joined the Congressional Research Service where he worked for twenty-three years and served as the director of the Tax Research Division, senior specialist in economic policy and chief of the Economics Division. In 1999, Don left CRS for U.S. Treasury’s Office of Tax Analysis (OTA). He spent nine years at OTA and served as director of the office. He retired almost exactly ten years ago.

Don’s work informed the debate on state and federal tax policy. His contribution to the tax community through his long tenure as a supervisor and manager is particularly noteworthy. Administrative work is an underappreciated aspect of public service. Without strong and effective managers, however, the extensive knowledge of the professional staff cannot be leveraged and used to inform public policy. During Don’s tenure as director of OTA, he provided effective leadership at a time when the office faced considerable internal and external challenges. Don was a strong advocate for professional staff. One of his colleagues at Treasury wrote me that “Don always provided calm advice under stressful situations. He helped OTA function as a team, allowing its best analysis to inform Treasury’s leaders on key policy directions.” Another wrote: “His intuition and technical advice are spot on. In addition, Don is always a real gentleman. He is calm, helpful, and polite in every circumstance. He is a train lover, and kept the trains running in OTA in a cool an efficient manner, without a lot of drama.”

Jane Gravelle from the Congressional Research Service wrote that “Don was always pursuing the Service’s goal for unbiased non-partisan research; trying to bring economic insights to the attention of Congress to, we always hope, help them make more informed decisions.”

Len Burman from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center also wrote and I will steal his words to close my presentation. Len wrote “Don embodies the knowledge, intelligence, skill, and dedication that the Davie-Davis award was meant to honor. Further, Don was Bruce’s boss for a while at Treasury.” The National Tax Association is certain that Bruce would applaud the choice of Don Kiefer to receive the 2018 Davie-Davis Public Service Award.

Rosanne Altshuler, President, National Tax Association (2017-2018)
Presented May 17, 2018