March 2, 2018 — U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady on Friday assured attendees at the Houston Business and Tax Law Journal's 18th Annual Symposium, "Energy Investment Tax Issues Around the World," that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act approved by Congress in December, although not perfect, will benefit middle class families and small businesses.
"We had to deliver," Brady told the gathering at the Houstonian. "The American people and our workers were counting on us to find a way to make this law."
Since 1997, Brady has represented Texas' 8th congressional district, which includes The Woodlands and other parts of Montgomery and Walker counties. Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said while the new tax code will eventually require improvements, he felt it accomplished some fundamental goals.
"We got it right for middle class families," he said. "The way we did that was to lower tax rates at every level. It doesn't matter if you make $20,000 a year or $520,000. It was top to bottom tax relief."
Brady also noted that small businesses that file taxes as a sole proprietor will also benefit from the tax cut.
"We were determined not to leave small businesses behind," he said. "In the House we took a different approach than the Senate, but at the end of the day we landed on a small business deduction. We gave them a 20 percent discount on their taxes with the goal being to have them send less to Washington and invest more on their workers, their company and their success."
Denney Wright, a professor of practice at the Law Center, followed Brady with a presentation on how U.S. tax reform affects energy. Wright served as moderator throughout the conference.
Additional speakers included Mario Barrera, a partner at Thompson & Knight's Mexico City office, and Salvador Ugalde, the head of the hydrocarbon income unit in Mexico's Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, who discussed energy tax issues in Mexico. Robert Morris, co-head of tax at Norton Rose Fulbright, led a talk on U.S. energy tax litigation. The final speaker was Dr. Fiane Kraal, a senior lecturer in business law and taxation at Monsah University in Australia, who discussed energy tax issues in that country.
Sponsors for the event included BakerHostetler, ExxonMobil, Haynes and Boone and Norton Rose Fulbright.
Brady, Krall and Wright also spoke at the International Fiscal Association USA Branch 46th Annual Conference, a two-day conference held concurrently with the symposium.
Wright led the opening panel discussion where the topic was income taxation and tax reform in the energy industry. He also led a panel of six energy tax experts and government officials including Krall, representatives of the Ministry of Finance offices from Mexico and Norway, the Treasury Office of the U.K., and law firm experts from Brazil and the U.K.