More Working-Class Jurors

Chris Daniel has a great idea (Chron.com) for broadening the jury pool:

[T]here are ways for government, without being intrusive, to provide businesses with incentives to pay workers absent because of jury service. Lawmakers will consider passing House Bill 433, which would allow employers to claim a 15 percent discount when calculating their state margins taxes if they pay workers who are out for jury service.

Employers don’t have to pay their employees for time spent serving on juries. HB 433 would reward employers that do by reducing their taxes. In essence Daniel has found a way to boost juror pay for those who need it without giving a raise to jurors who are at more leisure to skip work.

Consider again the problem of the working poor. Working-poor defendants who can’t afford not to make bail but can’t afford to hire competent counsel are the same as those jurors who can’t afford to take an unpaid day off work. HB 433 would give those folks a better chance of having a jury of their peers.

About Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett got his letter of marque from the Supreme Court of Texas in May 1995. He is famous for having no sense of humor when it comes to totalitarianism.
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4 Responses to More Working-Class Jurors

  1. Ric Moore says:

    Mark, this notion makes too much sense. I wonder if it actually has a snowball’s chance?

    • Randall Villarreal says:

      Did some light-digging.
      The proposed bill may not have much effect, sadly.

      -Most Texas businesses don’t actually pay a margin tax, whether due to being sole-proprietorships, certain types of partnerships, or just not having enough revenue.
      -1099 workers wouldn’t be covered.
      -If I’m reading the data correctly, the companies most likely to benefit would be in capital-intensive industries, not labor-intensive industries. Capital-intensive industries are usually higher paying.
      -The costs of margin tax compliance are probably fixed, as well.
      -Due to the above, I can imagine pushback by some that this is just a corporate handout.
      -There also happens to be senate bill recently filed that’s looking to repeal the franchise tax(Although, I’m not sure what the chances are of it passing)

      I can definitely see it having a positive effect, but I’m not sure how substantial it would actually be.

  2. Lee Stonum says:

    Just saying “hi, Mark”, hope all’s well. Haven’t been by in forever, glad the great work continues. I’ll try to keep up more often.

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