Florida Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, April 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 Florida. (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

Magellan Transport Logistics (Jacksonville, Florida) - Expanding facility operations, hiring more employees:

“Just last month, Mr. Speaker, I toured Magellan Transport Logistics, a service-disabled, veteran-owned logistics company in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. They are adding at least 100 new jobs in the next 5 years and were able to acquire a new 47,000- square-foot facility. During the tour of the facility, we were told by the company’s CEO that this expansion is a direct result of the tax cuts that the business received from the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. This is just one example of the differences that these cuts are making to improve the way of life for countless Americans in Florida and across the Nation. I have heard from many small businesses throughout my district who are thriving unlike never before because of these landmark reforms.” - May 17, 2018, Rep. John Rutherford statement on U.S. House Floor

Florida Concrete Unlimited (Miami, Florida) – Pay raises for all employees and higher year-end bonuses due to tax reform:

“My father and I decided, once this tax bill passed, the first thing that we should do is reinvest in the company. So we have extra cash available to give back to the employees instantly before we even felt the effects of the tax bill, we increased the bonuses for the year-end. So everybody got a little bit more in their paycheck at the end of the year for their Christmas bonus, about 20 percent more. And everybody got a raise based on tax reform.” – Feb. 2018 statement by President and COO Jason Goff

Don Ramon Restaurant (West Palm Beach Florida) -- The Cuban restaurant gave bonuses and pay raises and in addition to installing new coffee machines and refrigerators will renovate and expand:

As the owner of Don Ramon Restaurant in West Palm Beach, I know the positive impact of small business better than most.

Because of the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we will pay lower taxes and qualify for higher deductions, leaving Don Ramon in a better position than ever before. We plan to open a takeout window and set up a customer bar, which would generate up to eight new jobs. We will also install new refrigerators and coffee machines, in addition to making much-needed renovations to better serve our customers.

Perhaps most important, all of our key employees received generous bonuses in December, and they will also see pay increases in the coming weeks. We take great pride in rewarding our workers, and the new tax code makes it much easier to do so. -- Feb. 3, 2018 Palm Beach Post op-ed excerpt

Biscayne Bay Craft Brewery (Miami, Florida) – Hiring two new employees and purchasing new equipment:

Consider the story of Jose Mallea, owner of Biscayne Bay Craft Brewery, who participated in President Trump's event. The tax cuts have allowed him to purchase $100,000 more in equipment and hire two new employees. – April 29, 2018 Tallahassee Democrat article excerpt

Benada Aluminum Products LLC. (Sanford, Florida) - Increased production capacity:

“It’s given us relief. We’re able to get some margins back,” said Jim Piperato, president of Benada Aluminum LLC, a Florida-based producer of aluminum framing for patio and pool enclosures.

Mr. Piperato said the company, owned by private equity firms Big Shoulders Capital and ABGB Capital, recently increased production capacity by 50% to expand into the door and window frame market.

“Our business has been extremely strong.” he said. “Most of the customers I’ve spoken to say there’s no end in sight.” - July 17, 2018, Wall Street Journal article excerpt

Our Town America (Clearwater, Florida) – Raise wages, hire new employees, and purchase new equipment:

There's no small business owner I talk to who isn't thankful to be able to protect one-fifth of his or her earnings from taxes. For some marginal small businesses, it will make the difference between staying in business and closing.

My business is no different. We're using our tax cut savings to raise wages, hire new staff, and add even more features and equipment to our brand new headquarters — a 44,000 square foot office building in Clearwater. – April 29, 2018, Tallahassee Democrat article excerpt

 

St. Augustine Distillery (St. Augustine, Florida) - Hiring new employees, purchasing new equipment and inventory:

“As a young business facing more than their share of regulatory challenges, the St. Augustine Distillery was relieved, to say the least, when the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act was signed into law. The distillery announced shortly after the bill’s passage that they would be using their savings to make further investments in their employees and increase their equipment and inventory, creating new local jobs and hiring additional staff to manufacture, market, and sell their products.” - May 17, 2018, Rep. John Rutherford statement on U.S. House Floor

Darden Restaurants (Orlando, Florida) - workforce investments:

Olive Garden owner Darden Restaurants on Monday said it would reinvest $20 million in tax savings this year back into its workforce.
 

The Orlando, Fla.-based casual-dining operator said that tax reform would lower its effective tax rate by 600 basis points in its current fiscal year, due to changes made under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December.

--

“One of the best investments we can make is in our people,” Darden CEO Gene Lee said in a statement. “This investment will strengthen one of our most important competitive advantages.” - March 15, 2019 Restaurant Business Online article excerpts

 

Massage Envy (locations across Florida) - Increased worker pay and facilities remodeling:

“I’m a manager and a massage therapist at Massage Envy. My employers own seven of Massage Envys. So for me I guess what they’ve done is what’s affected me most. They’ve really reinvested into the company. We’ve got a total overhaul remodel of everything top to bottom, front to back and that’s been great for business. They have given every single person in our clinic an increase in compensation and just have changed the quality of our lives greatly. I mean in the last three years I’ve doubled my salary with what they’ve been able to do and so personally for me how that translates into my life is that you know both of my kids have their own cars so they can drive and I don’t have to share a car with them. I’m able to finish an internship that I’ve been doing in mental health counseling. I had finished my academic requirements a year ago and just couldn’t take off work to finish the internship. I’m in it and I’ll be done in October and I’m not losing any money and not losing any time with my children or anything like that. So it’s been pretty awesome for me. I appreciate it a lot. I know my employers do as well.” - April 17, 2018 Tax Talk Roundtable, Kasey Moore, Manager at Massage Envy

 

Arthrex Inc. (North Naples, Florida) – Pay raises and $1,000 bonuses:

The company has given all of its U.S. employees either a $1 an hour pay increase or a one-time bonus of $1,000.

In the news release, Schmieding attributed the decision to boost pay for U.S. workers in part to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which lowered the federal corporate income tax rate and to the deferral of the medical device tax for the next two years nationwide. -- April 27, 2018 Naples Daily News article excerpt

Landmark Reporting, Inc.  (Orlando, Florida) — $500 bonus checks for all three employees:

“I own a small business in Orlando, Florida with three employees. It is a business that I DID BUILD and have owned and operated for over 35 years. After I saw the increase in take-home pay in all of our paychecks after President Trump’s tax cut implementation, I wrote bonus checks of $500 each to my employees. On the Memo line, it’s labeled 'President Trump Tax Cut Bonus.’ — Candy Morgan, owner, Landmark Reporting, Inc.

Crowley Maritime Corporation (Jacksonville, Florida) - Employee bonuses:

Hill, a Crowley employee for more than 24 years, extolled real-world benefits of the tax cuts, including helping her pay for her sons’ college expenses.

Crowley Maritime “used its benefit from tax reform to pay employees bonuses,” Hill said.

“Crowley Maritime is a fantastic company,” she added. “I’ve been there 24 years. I’m very honored to work for such a great company and for the company to benefit from such a great tax opportunity, which they were able to give back to the employees.” - May 29, 2018, Florida Politics article excerpt

Liberty Landscape Supply (Jacksonville, Florida) - Expanding operations and services offered to customers, hiring a new employee:

Mike Zaffaroni calls the newest piece of equipment at his landscaping company in Jacksonville, Florida, his “Tax Cut Truck.”

He had long wanted to expand the services he offers to his customers and says the tax cuts President Donald J. Trump signed into law six months ago were the motivation he needed to buy the $80,000 truck and forklift.

“Without the tax cuts, we’re not so sure it would have been the right move for us financially,” he said.

Under the new tax law, Mr. Zaffaroni will be able to write off the entire cost of the purchase this year. Along with the lower tax rates and other benefits of the law, he says his accountant estimates he’ll save 7 percent to 10 percent on his taxes this year. That’s a big saving for a small company like his, and it’s money he’ll reinvest in his business.

“We’re going to be able to expand, we’re going to add a product line, we’ll be able to deliver more materials than we were able to before,” Mr. Zaffaroni said. “We’ve actually already hired another driver, so that also adds another job.”

I toured Mr. Zaffaroni’s company, Liberty Landscape Supply, soon after he was named Florida’s National Small Business Person of the Year, and just days after the truck was delivered.

“It makes it very real,” he told me. “A lot of America doesn’t really understand the implication these tax cuts have on each individual small business.” - June 29, 2018, White House article excerpt

 

Primrose School of South Tampa (Tampa, Florida) – Salary increases; playground upgrades; educational hardware and software investments; upgraded classroom flooring:

“Primrose School of South Tampa joined the ranks of other companies in giving back to our employees as a direct result of the tax reform.  We are an educational preschool providing a premier early education and child care experience for children and families in the Tampa Bay area.  Located in Tampa, Florida, we employ 85 teachers and management staff.   Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by the Republican Congress and signed into law by President Trump, each of our full-time staff members will receive a $1,040 salary increase and our part-time employees will receive one-half of that amount.  We will invest over $75,000 in turf to improve our playgrounds for our children. We purchased 50 new Apple iPads and software for classroom/student use, and we are investing in upgraded classroom flooring. Our total infrastructure investment in our beautiful school is over $150,000 thanks to President Trump and the Republican Congress!  This would not have been possible but for the tax reform and our sincerest thanks go to President Trump and to Congress for passing this legislation. President Donald Trump is doing a great job and we appreciate the hard work on his aggressive agenda.” – Jana Radtke, Franchise Owner, Primrose School of South Tampa

Jones Auto & Towing (Riverview, Florida) – the company, which provides 24-hour wrecker service, roadside assistance, emergency towing, and fuel delivery etc. will put two additional trucks into service, which will add two more full time jobs:

“The tax cuts are putting two more tow trucks on the road for my business. This will add two more full time job openings that will help two more families. And it will put a little more money in the bank for my family. My wife is a registered nurse and has a 401k which is doing better this last year than in the previous 13 years!!

Thanks to President Trump!!!

Thankfully I will be taken delivery of my new trucks in two weeks and hitting the road! MAGA!” – Guy Jones, Jones Auto & Towing

Joseph’s Lite Cookies (Sebastian, Florida) – $3,000 - $4,200 salary increases, new computer systems, new product packaging:

"As the president and CEO of Joseph’s Lite Cookies in Florida, I run a family-owned, sugar-free cookie business. We bake more than 12 million sugar-free cookies a day, in addition to supplying other diabetic-friendly products.

I employ numerous workers who stand to directly benefit from the Republican tax overhaul. Why? Because lower rates and increased deductions leave me with more resources to expand business operations and reward hardworking staffers.

Because of the tax bill, I’m purchasing new computer systems and creating new product packaging for international expansion. More importantly, I’m giving raises to four key employees — half of our workforce — which range from just over $3,000 to nearly $4,200. My top employees have earned greater financial security, and the Republican tax package made it a reality for them.

Because of President Trump’s commitment to lowering rates and increasing deductions, we are now experiencing the largest tax-induced investment revolution ever. Never before have we seen such a frenzy of pay hikes, 401(k) increases, and bonuses due to a single piece of legislation. Democrats scoff at their own peril. – Feb. 5 2018, Washington Examiner news article excerpt

Cogent Building Group -- the firm builds homes in Santa Rosa Beach, and gave $2,000 bonuses for all four employees.

Tampa Electric (Tampa, Florida) – The utility is passing tax reform savings to customers:

Tampa Electric bills won’t rise to pay for Hurricane Irma restoration costs, thanks to new tax savings. The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) unanimously approved the measure today.

Because of recent changes made to the federal tax law, customers will directly benefit. What Tampa Electric would have paid in corporate income taxes will instead be used to cover the cost of restoring power after Hurricane Irma and several other earlier named storms. Additionally, Tampa Electric bills will reflect the ongoing benefits from tax reform starting in 2019. – March 1, 2018, Tampa Electric Press Release

Duke Energy Florida (St. Petersburg, Florida) – the utility will pass along tax savings to customers:

Duke Energy Florida today announced that customers will directly benefit from the new federal tax law and avoid a rate increase for power restoration costs associated with the company's response to last September's Hurricane Irma.

Instead of increasing customer rates, the company plans to apply federal tax reform savings toward those storm costs.

On Dec. 28, 2017, the company had filed for recovery of $513 million – $381 million for power restoration costs and $132 million to replenish the storm reserve fund. Residential customers would have seen an increase of $5.20 per 1,000 kWh of electricity on a typical monthly bill over a three-year recovery period – an average of $187.20. Commercial and industrial customers were expected to see an increase of approximately 2.5 to 6.6 percent, though bills would have varied depending on a number of factors.

Like many companies, Duke Energy has been working to analyze the benefits of tax reform.

"We are pleased that this solution will prevent a rate increase for our customers," said Harry Sideris, Duke Energy Florida state president. "Hurricane Irma was the worst storm to ever hit Duke Energy Florida and impacted many lives. Redirecting the tax reform savings against the storm costs ensures that our customers will reap the benefits of this new law." -- Jan. 24, 2018 Duke Energy Florida press release

Harris Corporation (Melbourne, Florida) -- Each of the 17,000 non-executive employees will receive 10 shares of common stock which will vest over two years. 10 shares of stock is currently worth $1,470; additional $300 million contribution to employee pension fund; $20 million in innovation investments:

Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) today announced that, as a result of the passage of the tax reform bill, the company anticipates making an additional contribution to its employee pension fund, increasing its investment in research and development, and providing a one-time stock grant to all of its non-executive employees. The actions are expected to occur within the company’s fiscal 2018.

To increase current and former employee retirement stability, Harris anticipates contributing an additional $300 million into the company’s employee pension fund.

The company also will invest an incremental $20 million in technologies to accelerate innovation and affordability initiatives for its customers. This investment in research and development will leverage and enhance the company’s strong engineering talent, strengthen Harris’ position and help it capture new market opportunities in areas such as small satellites, software defined electronic warfare systems, open systems avionics, robotics and air traffic management solutions.

In addition, the company will grant each of its approximately 17,000 non-executive employees 10 shares of Harris common stock that will vest over two years. The grants have a current market value of about $1,470 each, or approximately $24 million in total.

“We are pleased to share the benefits of our strong performance and the recent tax reform legislation with our employees,” said William M. Brown, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “This represents an investment in Harris’ greatest asset and differentiator – our talented employees. Coupled with our innovation and technology investment, we are using this opportunity to further strengthen the company and position Harris for future success.” -- Jan. 30, 2018 Harris Corporation press release

T.J. Maxx91 stores in Florida – tax reform bonuses, retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, and 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

Ryder (Headquartered in Miami, multiple retail location in Florida) – Tax reform bonuses for all non-incentive bonus eligible employees, totaling $23 million:

In connection with the anticipated benefit of the Tax Act, the Company awarded a one-time cash bonus, estimated to be approximately $23 million or $0.27 per diluted share, to all non-incentive bonus eligible employees of the Company employed on December 31, 2017. The bonus will be paid to eligible employees in February 2018. -- Jan. 29, 2018 Ryder System, Inc. filing

RGF Environmental Group, Inc. (Riviera Beach, Florida) -- $1,000 bonuses:

“We, as a privately held manufacturing firm in Riviera Beach, Florida, will benefit greatly from the Tax Reform act recently passed. Because of this savings, we have given all our employees a $1,000 Bonus (This is in addition to their 2017 year-end bonuses. – Sharon B. Rinehimer, Executive Vice President/General Counsel, RGF Environmental Group, Inc.

Spellex Corporation (Tampa, Florida) -- $1,000 bonuses for all 26 full-time employees:

"I'm the founder and CEO of Spellex Corporation located in Tampa, FL. We're a software development company which I founded in 1988. This is the first time I've done anything like this. I'm hoping there are thousands of companies like mine who gave their employees $1,000 bonuses to show our support for the new tax plan which will ultimately help the middle class." -- Sheldon Wolf, CEO, Spellex Corporation

The Flood Insurance Agency (Gainesville, Florida) -- $1,000 bonuses for 17 full time employees:

“Small businesses represent almost 75% of all jobs in the USA and the new tax laws benefit many those businesses. Their allocation of additional after tax income could be what causes a wave to turn into a tsunami of economic growth that moves the USA to a destiny defined by everyone’s hopes and dreams. 

My hope is that our insurance industry leads the way with both large public insurance corporations and small insurance agencies announcing their plans for leveraging their tax savings toward a bright American future. My hope is that news media does their part by reporting every announcement building awareness of the growing tsunami. 

I want our company to participate in that tsunami. I want our employees to help define that destiny. Our company is a mid-size insurance MGA with approximately $15 million of revenue. On Tuesday December 26th we announced a $1000 bonus for all our full time employees.” – CEO Evan Hecht

CenterState Bank (Davenport, Florida) – $1,000 bonuses to non-officer employees:

CenterState also finds itself competing more with major regional banks for customers and employees, so — following in the footsteps of other leading financial institutions — it is giving $1,000 bonuses to its non-officer employees as a result of the new tax law. About 700 workers, or 60 percent of the company’s employees as of Dec. 31, will receive the bonus, CenterState said in a Jan. 19 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. – Jan. 19 Tampa Bay Business Journal article excerpt

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 13,331 Florida employees; Nationwide, $1 billion increase in capital expenditures.

Fleet Advantage (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) – New options for customers thanks to immediate business expensing in the tax bill:

The changes to the tax law for 2018 as a result of Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017 have led more fleets to consider vehicle leasing, and many of those are smaller fleets and owner-operators who may have only sought out equipment on the used market previously.

James C. Griffin Jr., COO & CTO of Fleet Advantage, said the company has launched new flexible leasing programs in response to the tax changes to help fleets achieve more balance-sheet benefits.

“We got ahead of the tax changes and have some new lease products that take advantage of the tax changes,” Griffin said. Leases now hit the balance sheet at “net present value,” he said.

In addition to the depreciation aspect of the tax plan, Griffin said the flat 21% tax on corporations has also allowed Fleet Advantage to “do a little more predictable planning for our customers.

“A lot of organizations are looking at this as an opportunity to upgrade their fleets,” he noted. “[And] our model is really starting to resonate, so we’ve seen a huge uptick [in business].”April 30, 2018 FreightWaves article excerpt

Apple (18 Apple store locations in Florida: Altamonte Springs, Aventura, Boca Raton, Brandon, Estero, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami Beach, Miami Brickell City Centre, Miami Dadeland, Miami The Falls, Naples, Orlando Florida Mall, Orlando Millenia, Palm Beach Gardens, Sarasota, Tampa, Wellington) --

$2,500 employee bonuses in the form of restricted stock units; $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:

     Bonuses:

Apple Inc. told employees Wednesday that it’s issuing a bonus of $2,500 worth of restricted stock units, following the introduction of the new U.S. tax law, according to people familiar with the matter.

The iPhone maker will begin issuing stock grants to most employees worldwide in the coming months, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. The move comes on the same day Apple said it would bring back most of its cash from overseas and spend $30 billion in the U.S. over the next five years, funding an additional technical support campus, data centers and 20,000 new employees.

Apple confirmed the bonuses in response to a Bloomberg inquiry Wednesday. – Jan. 17 2018, Bloomberg News article excerpt

     Capital expenditures, etc:

Apple expects to invest over $30 billion in capital expenditures in the US over the next five years and create over 20,000 new jobs through hiring at existing campuses and opening a new one.

Building on the initial success of the Advanced Manufacturing Fund announced last spring, Apple is increasing the size of the fund from $1 billion to $5 billion. The fund was established to support innovation among American manufacturers and help others establish a presence in the US. It is already backing projects with leading manufacturers in Kentucky and rural Texas.

Apple works with over 9,000 American suppliers — large and small businesses in all 50 states — and each of Apple’s core products relies on parts or materials made in the US or provided by US-based suppliers.

Apple, which has a 40-year history in education, also plans to accelerate its efforts across the US in support of coding education as well as programs focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM). – Jan. 17, 2018 Apple press release excerpts

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

Walmart --​ 67,500 Floridians employed at 328 Walmart stores will receive tax reform bonuses and wage increases and expanded maternity and parental leave. Walmart employees who adopt children will be given $5,000 to help cover expenses.

Lowes 21,000 employees at 123 stores and two distribution centers in Florida. Employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service, expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; and $5,000 of adoption assistance.

Home Depot -- 153 locations in Florida, Florida-based Home Depot employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000.

Starbucks Coffee Company -- (Multiple locations in Florida) -- $500 stock grants for all Starbucks retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plan and support center employee stock grants, totaling more than $100 million nationwide in stock grants; 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 Florida) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.

Bank of America -- (Multiple locations in Florida) Florida-based employees of Bank of America will receive $1,000 bonuses.

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

FifthThird Bancorp150 locations in Florida; $1,000 bonuses; base wage will increase to $15 per hour.

Wells Fargo -- 614 bank locations in Florida -- Base wage raised from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour; $400 million in charitable donation for 2018; $100 million increased capital investment over next three years. 

Walt Disney Company -- Florida-based Disney employees will receive $1,000 bonuses and benefit from the nationwide $50 million investment in employee educational programs.

Note: If you know of other Florida 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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