Connecticut Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Saturday, February 23rd, 2019, 10:30 AM PERMALINK

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by congressional Republicans and President Trump, 90 percent of American wage earners have higher take-home pay. And employers of all sizes are hiring, raising pay, increasing benefits, upgrading equipment and expanding operations.

Below are several examples of tax reform good news in Connecticut. (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

Charter Communications, Inc. (Stamford, Connecticut) – Base wage raised to $15 per hour; commitment to hire over 20,000 employees by 2020:

With the resources and investment confidence resulting from historic tax reform legislation and the FCC’s removal of the 1930’s era regulatory framework for internet service, Charter is increasing our investment in our workforce by ensuring all employees are paid a minimum wage of at least $15 per hour, including target commissions, within the next year.

In addition, the reforms in Washington are allowing Charter to increase its capital investment including in its broadband network. Last year, given the general deregulatory environment and anticipating the Administration, Congress, and the FCC enacting these pro-growth policies, we announced we would hire 20,000 employees and invest $25 billion in infrastructure.

Today, with tax reform and the removal of the Title II statutory framework both a reality, Charter will continue the capital investment program we started last year and will complete it by 2020. In 2017, we extended the reach of our high-speed broadband network in rural areas like Meeker, CO, Lakeview, OR, Hawthorne, NV, as well as to more than 42,000 underserved and unserved homes and businesses in New York State. Charter remains steadfast in our commitment to continue to bring our broadband service, with a minimum speed of 100 Mbps, to more communities across the country. – Feb. 2 2018, Charter Communications Inc. statement

Kaman Corp. (Bloomfield, Connecticut) – $1,000 tax reform bonuses:

Bloomfield manufacturer Kaman Corp. says it's joining the list of U.S. employers sharing the wealth with workers in the wake of federal tax reform.

The maker-supplier of aeroparts, custom aircraft and power-distribution products disclosed Wednesday that about 2,400 workers who were on its payroll on or before Oct. 1, 2017 and who earned less $75,000 a year are eligible for a $1,000 bonus. However, each must remain on the payroll through Aug. 31 to collect, CEO Neal J. Keating told staff in a memo. – April 18, 2018, Hartford Business Journal article excerpt

Pitney Bowes (Stamford, Connecticut) – Pay raises for the majority of U.S. hourly employees:

Pitney Bowes, a global technology company that provides innovative products and solutions to power commerce, announced that, with the signing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017, the Company will make an investment commitment of more than $18 million on an annualized basis to raise wages of the majority of its U.S. hourly employees. In addition, Pitney Bowes plans to fund key investment areas within the Company to provide more value to its small and medium business clients.

“The tax reform legislation provides Pitney Bowes the flexibility to invest in our people, our clients, our company, and the communities where we live and work,” said Marc B. Lautenbach, President and CEO. “We believe that the investments we make in our employees and our clients not only strengthen our business for the long term, but ultimately benefit our shareholders.”   

In addition, Pitney Bowes plans to provide additional investments that contribute to the long-term growth of the Company, including funding the financing offerings within Pitney Bowes to support growth in its small and medium-sized business clients in the U.S.
 Jan. 31 2018, Pitney Bowes press release excerpt

Shortway Brewing Co. (Newport, Connecticut) -- Increasing wages and hiring new employees:

Mr. Shortway said the new tax plan, along with the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, also passed last year, have already helped the brewery save money. The craft beverage act greatly reduced excise taxes on small-scale brewers and the tax plan has additional provisions designed to help small businesses.

Mr. Shortway said he was able to give his employees a small raise and hire more workers as a result of the tax savings. He said although it is a bit early to know what the long-term impact of the tax plan will be, he expects it will keep helping going forward.

“Growth is picking up,” he said. - May 11, 2018, News-Times article excerpt

 

The Travelers Companies, Inc. (Hartford, Connecticut) -- $1,000 bonuses for 14,000 employees with a base salary less than $75,000:

Today, comprehensive U.S. tax reform has been signed into law. One objective of the legislation is to spur economic growth and therefore the U.S. economy.

In addition to benefiting from economic growth, Travelers will benefit directly from the legislation in two important ways. First, like all companies, our corporate tax rate will decrease from 35% to 21%. Second, the legislation will level the playing field for U.S. insurers by eliminating a loophole that foreign insurers have used to our disadvantage for decades to move their U.S. profits offshore to avoid paying their fair share of U.S. taxes.

One of the opportunities all of these benefits create for us is to make additional investments in our business. I shared at a recent all-employee meeting that our vision as it relates to investment and innovation is to strengthen our competitive advantages with two goals in mind: be the undeniable choice for the customer and an indispensable partner for our agents and brokers.  

The leadership team decided that given our confidence in our business and the way we are successfully positioned for the opportunities ahead, we should start making additional investments immediately. We also came to the conclusion that we should use the opportunity to make our first investment in our most valuable asset and greatest competitive advantage — our people.

I’m pleased to announce that we will be giving approximately 14,000 employees with a base salary of $75,000 per year or less and who meet our performance expectations a special one-time bonus of $1,000. The bonus will be paid in January to then current employees. Eligible employees will hear more shortly.

In addition, while we have only a small number of U.S.-based employees making less than $15 an hour, we will increase their hourly wage to $15. – The Travelers Companies, Inc. note to employees

AVANGRID (Orange, Connecticut) – the utility is passing savings from tax reform to customers:

AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), a diversified U.S. energy company, today issued the following statement regarding the impact of the 2017 tax reform act.

AVANGRID’s regulated natural gas and electricity companies will pass along to customers the full benefit of any tax savings that the companies realize as a result of the 2017 federal tax reform act.

Among other changes, the tax reform act reduces the federal corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent. As a matter of fairness, AVANGRID believes that any resulting tax savings should be extended to customers. – Jan. 10, 2018 AVANGRID press release

United Technologies Corporation (Farmington, Connecticut) – 35,000 new employees to be hired, and $15 billion in capital expenditures and research/development over the next five years:

The competitive tax system resulting from U.S. tax reform is encouraging global companies, such as United Technologies, to make long-term investments in innovation in America. – May 23, 2018 United Technologies Corporation press release excerpt

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (Hartford, Connecticut) -- $1,000 bonuses for employees making less than $75,000 per year. This amounts to 9,500 employees:

The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. on Friday became the latest company to announce bonuses tied to a federal overhaul reducing the corporate tax rate.

Chief Executive Officer Christopher Swift told reporters the investment and insurance company will distribute bonuses of $1,000 each to employees who are paid less than $75,000 a year. – Jan. 5 Hartford Courant article excerpt

Cigna Corporation (Bloomfield, Connecticut) – Base wage raised to $16 per hour; increased 401(k) matches:

Global health service company, Cigna (NYSE: CI), today announced that the net financial benefits of United States tax reform will allow the company to further accelerate investments in our employees, our capabilities and our customers, clients, partners, and communities.

Through a series of moves, Cigna is reaffirming the critical role of employees, further fueling the company’s commitment to be champions for its communities, and continuing its investments in innovation and capabilities that drive differentiated value for customers and clients.

“It is because of our employees that Cigna continues to deliver on our mission to improve the health, well-being and sense of security of those we serve,” said David Cordani, Cigna President and Chief Executive Officer. “Reinvesting a portion of savings from tax reform in our employees is a reinvestment in our mission.”

Effective today, Cigna is establishing a minimum wage across its U.S. employee base of $16 an hour, substantially exceeding the national minimum wage in the United States as well as the hourly rate paid at many global corporations.

Cigna will also provide salary increases above the $16 an hour level, largely to front line employees. These investments in employee wages will total more than $15 million.

Additionally, Cigna is adding $30 million to its 401(k) program to match an additional one percent of employee compensation contributed to the 401(k) in 2018. This match will benefit the retirement accounts of over 30,000 employees. – Jan. 31, 2018 Cigna Corporation press release

Information Services Group (Stamford, Connecticut) – $500 additional contribution to U.S. based employees’ 401(k) accounts, additional funds for global digital initiatives:

“Today it (Information Services Group) will earmark funds for additional investment in global digital initiatives over the next two years to accelerate growth, and make an additional contribution of $500 to every U.S. employee's 401(k) retirement account on U.S. Tax Day, April 17, 2018. The moves are in response to the recent passage of the federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act.”—Dec. 22, 2018 Information Services Group press release excerpt

Walmart –  Connecticut employees at 33 Walmart store locations received tax reform bonuses, wage increases, and expanded maternity and parental leave. Walmart employees who adopt children will be given $5,000 to help cover expenses.

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 1,272 Connecticut employees; Nationwide, $1 billion increase in capital expenditures:

Today, Congress approved legislation representing the first comprehensive tax reform in a generation. The President is expected to sign the bill in the coming days.

Once tax reform is signed into law, AT&T* plans to invest an additional $1 billion in the United States in 2018 and pay a special $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 AT&T U.S. employees — all union-represented, non-management and front-line managers. If the President signs the bill before Christmas, employees will receive the bonus over the holidays.

“Congress, working closely with the President, took a monumental step to bring taxes paid by U.S. businesses in line with the rest of the industrialized world,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “This tax reform will drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs. In fact, we will increase our U.S. investment and pay a special bonus to our U.S. employees.”

Since 2012, AT&T has invested more in the United States than any other public company. Every $1 billion in capital invested in the telecom industry creates about 7,000 jobs for American workers, research shows. -- Dec. 20, 2017 AT&T Inc. press release

The United Illuminating Company (New Haven, Connecticut) - the utility will pass tax reform savings to customers. 

Webster Financial Corporation (Waterbury, Connecticut) – Base wage raised to $15 per hour; $1,000 bonuses to full-time employees below vice-president level; $1 million in additional charitable contributions:

Webster Financial Corporation (NYSE: WBS), the holding company for Webster Bank, N.A. and its HSA Bank division, today announced an acceleration of investment in its employees and the communities it serves following the passage of new federal tax reform legislation.

These investments include:

  • Payment of a one-time $1,000 cash bonus in the first quarter of 2018 to full-time employees who are below the vice president level. This payment will benefit approximately 70 percent of all Webster full-time employees;
  • Increasing Webster's minimum wage to $15 per hour by the end of 2018;
  • Beginning in 2018, augmenting Webster's annual philanthropic and community investment by $1 million; and,
  • Enhancing Webster's investment in strategic employee development initiatives and early career programs, creating new job opportunities in our markets. – Jan. 4 2018, Webster Financial Corporation press release excerpt
     

T.J. Maxx – 28 stores in Connecticut – Tax reform bonuses, retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, and increased charitable donations:

The 2017 Tax Act benefited the Company in the fourth quarter and full year Fiscal 2018. The Company expects to continue to benefit from the 2017 Tax Act going forward, primarily due to the lower U.S. corporate income tax rate. As a result of the estimated cash benefit related to the 2017 Tax Act, the Company is taking the following actions:

Associates

  • A one-time, discretionary bonus to eligible, non-bonus-plan Associates, globally
  • An incremental contribution to the Company’s defined contribution retirement plans for eligible Associates in the U.S. and internationally
  • Instituting paid parental leave for eligible Associates in the U.S.
  • Enhancing vacation benefits for certain U.S. Associates

Communities

Made meaningful contributions to TJX’s charitable foundations around the world to further support TJX’s charitable giving – Feb. 28, 2018 The TJX Companies Inc. press release excerpt

Windsor Federal Savings (Windsor, Connecticut) – $250 bonus for all employees with the exception of upper management:

With the signing of the tax reform bill into law all employees of Windsor Federal Savings with the exception of senior management will receive a one-time special bonus of $250. This bonus will coincide with their raising the hourly minimum wage of all full-time employees to $15.00 per hour. 

George Hermann, President and CEO of Windsor Federal Savings, says the bank has a positive outlook on the economy due to the tax reform. “The relief that this tax bill provides to business should help to spur our economy, and is important to building meaningful, long-term growth in Connecticut, and beyond. The awarding of these bonuses and our minimum wage increase is our way of sharing our optimism with our most important asset: our valued employees.” – Windsor Federal Savings press release

Home Depot -- 29 locations in Connecticut, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's --2,000+ employees at 17 stores and one distribution facility in Connecticut. Employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service, for 260,000 employees; expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance.

Waste Management Inc. (Multiple locations in Connecticut) -- $2,000 bonuses:

In light of the meaningful contributions of its employees and the new U.S. corporate tax structure, the company will distribute US $2,000 in 2018 to every North American employee not on a bonus or sales incentive plan; that includes hourly and other employees.

“We are about to get a tax benefit as our U.S. corporate tax rate goes from 35 percent to 21 percent. In considering how to best spend that, we wanted to find a way to help grow our economy, which in turn, will help grow our business, and give some of the tax savings back to those hardworking employees who do not get the opportunity to participate in our salaried incentive plans,” said Jim Fish, president and chief executive officer, Waste Management.

“So, we are offering each North American hourly full-time employee and salaried employee who does not participate in any sales incentive or bonus plan during 2018, a cash bonus of US $2,000 to show our appreciation to so many of our valued employees while growing our business and returning a good portion of the tax savings directly to the overall economy,” he continued. – Jan. 10, 2018 Waste Management Inc. press release excerpt

Ryder (Eight locations in Connecticut) – Tax reform bonuses to employees.

Cintas (Multiple locations in Connecticut) -- $1,000 bonuses for employees of at least a year, $500 for employees of less than a year.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (Multiple locations in Connecticut) – Bonuses ranging from $250 to $1,000; increased employee benefits; $50 million investment in existing restaurants.

Apple (Apple store locations in Danbury, Farmington, Greenwich, New Haven, South Windsor, Stamford, Trumbull) - $2,500 employee bonuses in the form of restricted stock units; Nationwide, $30 billion in additional capital expenditures over five years; 20,000 new employees will be hired; increased support of coding education and science, technology, engineering, arts, and math; increased support for U.S. manufacturing. 

McDonald’s (150+ locations in Connecticut) – Increased tuition investments which will provide educational program access for 400,000 U.S. employees. $2,500 per year (up from $700) for crew working 15 hours a week, $3,000 (up from $1,050) for managers, and more:

McDonald’s Corporation today announced it will allocate $150 million over five years to its global Archways to Opportunity education program. This investment will provide almost 400,000 U.S. restaurant employees with accessibility to the program as the company will also lower eligibility requirements from nine months to 90 days of employment and drop weekly shift minimums from 20 hours to 15 hours. Additionally, McDonald’s will also extend some education benefits to restaurant employees’ family members. These enhancements underscore McDonald’s and its independent franchisees’ commitment to providing jobs that fit around the lives of restaurant employees so they may pursue their education and career ambitions.

The Archways to Opportunity program provides eligible U.S. employees an opportunity to earn a high school diploma, receive upfront college tuition assistance, access free education advising services and learn English as a second language.  

“Our commitment to education reinforces our ongoing support of the people who play a crucial role in our journey to build a better McDonald’s,” said Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s President and CEO. “By offering restaurant employees more opportunities to further their education and pursue their career aspirations, we are helping them find their full potential, whether that’s at McDonald’s or elsewhere.”

Accelerated by changes in the U.S. tax law, McDonald’s increased investment in the Archways to Opportunity Program includes:

  • Increased Tuition Investment:
    • Crew: Eligible crew will have access to $2,500/year, up from $700/year.
    • Managers: Eligible Managers will have access to $3,000/year, up from $1,050.
    • Participants have a choice for how they apply this funding – whether it be to a community college, four year university or trade school. There is no lifetime cap on tuition assistance – restaurant employees will be able to pursue their education and career passions at their own pace. The new tuition assistance is effective May 1, 2018 and retroactive to January 1, 2018.
  • Lowered Eligibility Requirements: Increase access to the program by lowering eligibility requirements from nine months to 90 days of employment. In addition, dropping from 20 hours minimum to 15 hours minimum (roughly two full time shifts) per week to enable restaurant employees more time to focus on studies.
  • Extended Services to Families: Extension of Career Online High School and College Advisory services to restaurant employees’ family members through existing educational partners Cengage and Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).
  • Additional Resources: Career exploration resources for eligible restaurant employees to be available later this year.
  • Creation of an International Education Fund: Grants to provide local initiatives and incentives in global markets to further education advancement programs.

“Since its inception, Archways to Opportunity was meant to match the ambition and drive of restaurant crew with the means and network to help them find success on their own terms,” said David Fairhurst, McDonald’s Chief People Officer. “By tripling tuition assistance, adding education benefits for family members and lowering eligibility requirements to the equivalent of a summer job, we are sending a signal that if you come work at your local McDonald’s, we’ll invest in your future.”

After launching in the U.S. in 2015, Archways to Opportunity has increased access to education for over 24,000 people and awarded over $21 million in high school and college tuition assistance. Graduates have received college degrees in Business Administration, Human Resources, Communications, Accounting, Microbiology and more. – March 29, 2018 McDonald’s Corporation press release excerpt

Comcast (Multiple locations in Connecticut) -- $1,000 bonuses; nationwide, at least $50 billion investment in infrastructure in next five years.

Starbucks Coffee Company (Multiple locations in Connecticut) –$500 stock grants for all retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plan and support center employee stock grants. Nationally, 8,000 new retail jobs; an additional wage increase this year, totaling approximately $120 million in wage increases, increased sick time benefits and parental leave.

U-Haul (Multiple locations in Connecticut) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.

CarMax (Retail locations in Hartford and New Haven) – $250-$1,500 bonuses depending on length of service:

“The nation’s largest retailer of used cars, announced plans to provide one-time bonuses to most hourly and commissioned full-time and part-time associates as a result of the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Bonus amounts will vary from $200 up to $1,500 based on length of service with the company.” – Feb 23. 2018, EPR Retail News article excerpt

FedEx (Multiple locations in Connecticut) – Accelerated and increased compensation; pension plan contributions:

“FedEx Corporation is announcing three major programs today following the recently enacted U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

  • Over $200 million in increased compensation, about two-thirds of which will go to hourly team members by advancing 2018 annual pay increases by six months to April 1st from the normal October date. The remainder will fund increases in performance- based incentive plans for salaried personnel.
  • A voluntary contribution of $1.5 billion to the FedEx pension plan to ensure it remains one of the best funded retirement programs in the country.
  • Investing $1.5 billion to significantly expand the FedEx Express Indianapolis hub over the next seven years. The Memphis SuperHub will also be modernized and enlarged in a major program the details of which will be announced later this spring.

FedEx believes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will likely increase GDP and investment in the United States. – Jan. 26 2018, FedEx press release

Wells Fargo   69 locations in Connecticut; Raised base wage from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour; $400 million in charitable donations for 2018; $100 million increased capital investment over the next three years.

Note: If you know of other Connecticut examples, please email John Kartch at jkartch@atr.org

The running nationwide list of companies can be found at www.atr.org/list

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