September 15, 2020
In 2006, Texas lawmakers faced a mandatory order from the courts to revamp our system of school finance coupled with growing concerns about the stability of the franchise tax as a source of state revenue. A number of alternatives to the franchise tax were considered and discarded, leaving then-Governor Perry to tap former state comptroller John Sharp to chair the Texas Tax Reform Commission to craft alternatives that could be used to reduce reliance on the school property tax. The linchpin of the commission’s recommendations was to restructure Texas’ earned surplus/capital-based franchise tax to one based on a new concept of taxable “margin.” The Commission was staffed by two former Comptroller staffers, James LeBas and Karey Barton, who crafted the concepts into statute. On Tuesday, September 15 TTARA’s Dale Craymer hosted James and Karey in a one-hour webinar to review the debate at the time, and to discuss how the margin tax was formulated into Chapter 171 of the Tax Code. If you’ve ever wondered about the inner workings of the margin tax, this is a can’t miss session.