Idaho Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, November 21st, 2019, 5:10 PM 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 Idaho. (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

Telaya Winery (Boise, Idaho) -- The winery hired more employees and improved its marketing because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

At Boise’s Telaya Winery, grapes are sorted by hand onto a conveyor belt heading to the destemmer. Owner Earl Sullivan said the big bunches of fruit need to be pulled apart or they can explode in the machine.

“It’s a product of the freeze we just had a couple days ago,” he said, “We’re just having to work a little bit harder to make sure the fruit is as clean as we want it.”

 Sullivan is also the chair of the Idaho Wine Commission Board. Today’s grapes are processed and barreled for aging, but won’t be bottled and taxed as wine for two years. That delay can make tax law changes difficult to prepare for. 

 “We spend several hundred thousand dollars per year on production for two years down the road, so the most likely impact in the short term would be a reduction in production,” Sullivan said. He also noted the winery has beefed up its hiring and marketing in the last two years while the tax rates have been lower. -- Oct. 22, 2019 Boise State Public Radio

Melaleuca (Idaho Falls, Idaho) – All 2,000 employees received a $100 bonus for each year they have worked at the company:

“We’re going to be able to have quite a few substantial dollars after taxes,”[CEO Frank] VanderSloot said. “I suspect we’re one of the largest taxpayers in the state, so we’re going to have some more dollars to spread around. That money should go to the people who built the company.” – Dec. 21, 2017 Associated Press article excerpt

Colling Pest Solutions (Idaho Falls) -- Tax reform bonuses for employees:

Representatives from an Idaho Falls-based pest control and lawn care company are traveling to Washington, D.C., this week to meet with President Donald Trump after the company gave its employees bonuses after Congress enacted tax cuts.

Colling Pest Solutions is sending six employees, including its owner, to the “American Workers for Tax Reform” event scheduled for Thursday afternoon at the White House.

The event recognizes small businesses throughout the country that have used tax cuts to benefit employees, whether through salary hikes or additional benefits. The company is paying for the employee’s travel to the event.

Over the past year, employees at Colling Pest Solutions have seen an 8 percent quarterly bonus due to anticipated benefits from recent tax cut legislation. Eligible employees also can receive child care assistance, where the company will pay 50 percent of costs for parents at a local child care center.

Tim Colling, owner of Colling Pest Solutions, believes it is his duty as an employer to pay added income from the business forward to his employees in order to maintain a competitive workforce. And he proposes other small businesses follow his company’s lead. -- April 9, 2018 Post-Register article excerpt

Ball Ventures (Idaho Falls, Idaho) - $100 bonuses for every year of employment.

DePatco, Inc. (St. Anthony, Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Mother Earth Brewing Company (Nampa, Idaho) -- The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allowed the brewery to almost double their production, buy new equipment, and hire new employees:

Even the largest Idaho craft brewery has a fraction of that productivity. Mother Earth's Idaho brewery (the company has a second location in California) produced 10,000 barrels in 2018, the first year of the tax cut. This year, the brewery expects to produce 18,000 barrels, according to owner Daniel Love.

 ….

Mother Earth hired two new employees and bought two Unitanks, stainless steel fermenters, with the tax savings. -- Oct. 19, 2019 Idaho Press Article

Idaho Power (Boise, Idaho) – The utility requested to pass along tax reform savings to customers:

Idaho Power has filed a settlement agreement with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) that, if approved, will result in reduced rates for customers within the company’s Idaho service area in 2018 stemming from recent federal and Idaho state tax rate changes.

According to an agreement between Idaho Power, IPUC Staff and the Industrial Customers of Idaho Power, customers will see a total benefit associated with reduced tax expense of $33.9 million, provided through: 1) a base rate reduction of approximately $18.7 million, 2) an additional $7.8 million decrease that will be provided through the 2018 Power Cost Adjustment mechanism, and 3) a non-cash annual benefit of $7.4 million in the form of an offset to other deferred costs.

If the proposal is approved by the IPUC as filed, the typical Idaho residential customer using 950 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy per month will see a monthly bill decrease of $2.15, beginning June 1. – April 13, 2018, Idaho Power Press Release

Intermountain Gas (Idaho Falls, Idaho) - The utility will pass along tax cut savings to customers:

State regulators have approved a rate decrease for customers of Intermountain Gas Company, to reflect the benefits of federal and state tax cuts.

The decision returns approximately $5.1 million to customers.

That is a 2.62-percent decrease for residential customers. It took effect June 1. - June 22, 2018 East Idaho News Excerpt

Suez Water Idaho Inc. (Boise, Idaho) - The utility will pass along tax cut savings to customers:

“A main feature of the tax law that took effect Jan. 1 was to reduce the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent,” noted one such release, from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. “Soon after the federal law took effect, Idaho Governor C.L. ‘Butch’ Otter signed into law House Bill 463, reducing the state’s corporate tax rate from 7.4 percent to 6.925 percent. Since a utility’s tax expenses are a factor in determining customer rates, the Commission directed all regulated utilities in the state with more than 200 customers to report the financial benefits of the law and how it planned to pass those benefits along to customers.”

Utility rate reductions are as follows:

Avista – 5.3 percent for electricity and 6.1 percent for natural gas

Idaho Power – 7.06 percent

Intermountain Gas – 2.62 percent

Rocky Mountain Power – 1 percent

Suez Water Idaho Inc. – 5.6 percent - June 19, 2018 Idaho Business Review Excerpt

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses for 937 Idaho 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

Avista – The utility will pass federal tax reform savings to customers:

Avista customers could collectively see a $50 million to $60 million annual benefit from federal tax reform, utility officials said Wednesday.

The savings on individual customers’ bills, however, won’t be known until later this year.

Corporate tax rates for the Spokane-based utility dropped from 35 percent to 21 percent effective Jan. 1. Savings from the lower taxes will get passed on to Avista’s utility customers in Washington, Idaho and Oregon, said Mark Thies, senior vice president and chief financial officer.

--

The anticipated $50 million to $60 million in annual savings is the result of the lower federal tax rate and changes to Avista's deferred tax liability related to depreciation costs. As the result of the depreciation changes, about $442 million will be returned to Avista customers over 35 years, Thies said. Feb. 21 2018, The Spokesman Review article excerpt

Walmart – Idaho employees at 26 Walmart stores 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.

Home Depot -- 11 locations in Idaho: Idaho Falls, Meridian, Chubbock, Twin Falls, Coeur d'Alene, Eagle, Lewiston, Nampa, Ponderay, and two in Boise -- Bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's --1,000+ employees at eight store locations in Idaho: Idaho Falls, Boise, Coeur d'Alene, Twin Falls, Nampa, Pocatello, and two in Meridian -- 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.

Ryder (Boise, Idaho) – Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Best Buy -- Six locations in Idaho: Nampa, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, Coeur d'Alene, and two in Boise -- $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees. 

Cintas (Locations in Twin Falls and Nampa) -- $1,000 bonuses for employees of at least a year, $500 for employees of less than a year.

Taco John’s (Grangeville, Lewiston, Meridian, Mountain Home, Twin Falls): All full-time and part-time crew members received a $200 after-tax bonus:

Taco John’s International, Inc. announced today that in response to the 2018 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, the company gave part of its projected tax savings to its restaurant crews, general managers, corporate staff and CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees).

On Friday, Feb. 23, Taco John’s International, Inc.’s employees received a one-time bonus, as follows:

  • Every restaurant crew member - full-time and part-time - received $200 (after taxes);
  • General managers and employees at the Taco John’s Franchisee Support Center in Cheyenne received $1,000 each; and,
  • The Executive Council of Taco John’s International, Inc. (Vice Presidents and above) donated their $1,000 bonuses (a total of $10,000) to CORE, a national not-for-profit organization that grants support to children of food and beverage service employees who are navigating life-altering circumstances.
     

“At Taco John’s International, our team is our family, so sharing the financial benefits that were a result of the recent tax reform legislation only makes sense,” said Jim Creel, CEO of Taco John’s International, Inc. “We encourage other restaurant brands to follow our example and give a portion of their savings to the people that are at the heart of what we do and to great organizations like CORE that support our crew. One hundred percent of CORE’s funds directly benefit children of restaurant employees who have been afflicted with life-threating conditions.”

“We are so grateful to the Taco John’s team for their generous donation to our CORE family members,” said Lauren LaViola, executive director of CORE. “Donations like theirs help us provide for our food and beverage service families experiencing loss, illness and other life-changing circumstances, and help us get closer to our goal of helping even more families across all 50 states in 2018.”

The total amount that Taco John’s International, Inc. gave exceeded $150,000.00. – Feb. 28, 2018 Taco John’s International, Inc. press release

Waste Management Inc. (Multiple locations in Idaho) -- $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

Chipotle Mexican Grill (Chubbock, Nampa, Meridian, Twin Falls, Coeur d'Alene, and three in Boise) – Bonuses ranging from $250 to $1,000; increased employee benefits; $50 million investment in existing restaurants.

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

Starbucks Coffee Company (67 locations in Idaho) – $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.

T.J. Maxx – (Seven locations in Idaho: Boise, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Falls, Lewiston, Nampa, Pocatello, Twin Falls) – 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

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

Dollar Tree, Inc. (Blackfoot, Boise, Burley, Caldwell, Chubbock, Coeur d'Alene, Eagle, Emmett, Idaho Falls, Jerome, Kuna, Lewiston, Meridian, Moscow, Mountain Home, Nampa, Oldtown, Payette, Pocatello, Ponderay, Post Falls, Rathdrum, Rexburg, Twin Falls) -- Increased base wages, enhanced benefits including maternity leave for qualifying employees and employee training, totaling $100 million nationwide.

Bank of America (Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene) -- $1,000 bonuses.

FedEx (Multiple locations in Idaho) – 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

Gardner Company (Boise, Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

GetFoundFirst.com (Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

EastIdahoNews.com (Idaho Falls, Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Elite Roofing Systems (Idaho Falls, Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

InUnison Inc. (Idaho Falls, Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees. 

Elite Clinical Trials, Inc. (Blackfoot, Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Willow Creek Woodworks (Idaho Falls, Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Eagle Ridge Ranch (Island Park, Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

McDonald’s (60+ locations in Idaho) – 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 

Wells Fargo (76 locations in Idaho) - 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 Idaho 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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