Joe W. Testa was appointed Ohio Tax Commissioner by Governor John Kasich in January 2011. He is the 18th Tax Commissioner to lead the Ohio Department of Taxation.
Testa leads an agency of about 1,000 employees and is successfully pursuing a mission to reduce staff and department expenditures while improving service to taxpayers by leveraging technology. Since taking office, Testa has reduced staff size by more than 350 people and cut the department’s general revenue fund spending by more than 23 percent. Technologies including an automated call distribution system, webinars for tax professionals, telecommuting for audit and enforcement staff and expanding electronic communications with taxpayers have all contributed to better service, greater efficiencies and lower costs.
The Tax Commissioner is responsible for administering and enforcing most state and many local government taxes, including the state income tax, state and local sales taxes, and several business and excise taxes. All told, these taxes provide approximately $30 billion in revenues to support funding of Ohio’s schools and colleges, Medicaid, law enforcement, transportation and a myriad of other public services.
Testa joined the department with nearly 30 years of public service, including a 25 year record of accomplishment as an elected official. He was first elected Franklin County (OH) Recorder in 1985, and held that office until 1992. As Recorder he was responsible for the recording of all real estate transactions, liens and various other documents as prescribed by Ohio law.
Testa was then elected to the office of Franklin County Auditor, a position he held for 17 years until stepping away from office in 2009. As Auditor, he was responsible for managing an office with approximately 185 employees and entrusted with the appraisal of all real estate in the county, various fiscal services, involvement with personal property and estate taxes, and providing for Information Technology services for county government. Testa received numerous awards in office including the Outstanding Auditor Award by the Auditor of State (OH) twice, and he is the only two-time recipient of the Richard J. Makowski Outstanding County Auditor Award by the County Auditor’s Association of Ohio (CAAO), and is a past president of the CAAO.
During and after his tenure as an elected official, Testa taught undergraduate courses in management, business analysis and technique, ethics, and organizational systems. Before entering public service, Testa worked in the private sector in management with a food products company.
Testa earned a Master of Human Resources degree from The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration from the University of Central Florida.
Testa is a veteran having served in the U.S. Navy (1968-72) from which he received a Vietnam Service Medal.
He is married, the father of two sons, and has three granddaughters.