How the Trump Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Kentucky

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, July 1st, 2020, 1:09 PM PERMALINK

Kentucky is benefiting greatly from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by congressional Republicans and President Trump:

317,100 Kentucky households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

Every income group in every Kentucky congressional district received a tax cut. Nationwide, a typical family of four received a $2,000 annual tax cut and a single parent with one child received a $1,300 annual tax cut.

1,408,110 Kentucky households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the standard deduction. Thanks to the tax cuts, nine out of ten households take the standard deduction which provides tax relief and simplifies the tax filing process.

54,310 Kentucky households are benefiting from the TCJA’s elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate tax. Most households hit with this tax made less than $50,000 per year.

Lower utility bills: As a direct result of the TCJA’s corporate tax rate cut, Kentucky residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, Atmos Energy, Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company, and Duke Energy Kentucky, Inc. (see below) all passed along tax reform savings to their customers. 

Thanks to the tax cuts, Kentucky businesses of all sizes are hiring, expanding, raising pay and increasing employee benefits:

Owl’s Head Alloys (Bowling Green, Kentucky) - Hiring new employees, expanding facilities:

“Owl’s Head Alloys in my hometown of Bowling Green recently announced a $3 million expansion which would create 17 new jobs, bringing their total employment in the Second District to nearly 100 good-paying jobs. When I visited their facility in March, Owl’s Head owner and president, David Bradford, told me that the economic outlook resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act helped lead to their decision to expand. This is exactly why we passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: to give American businesses the confidence to grow and expand right in our communities, and to help individual taxpayers keep more of their money.” - May 8, 2018, Rep. Brett Guthrie statement on House floor

Glier’s Meats (Covington, Kentucky) - New hires, wage increases, increased benefit packages, new equipment:

Tax reform means big things for Glier’s Meats of Covington, Kentucky—including multiple wage increases for its employees since the law was passed.

Dan Glier, president of Glier’s Meats, explained the impact on his employees.

“We put in some rather nice wage increases since the first of the year,” he said, explaining how he was handing much of the company’s tax savings back to the 29 employees who help make the company strong.

Glier also added that, for the first time in six years, Glier’s Meats was successful enough to offer comprehensive health benefits to its employees—something it had offered since the 1950s, but had to roll back in recent years due to the economic climate and burdensome health care regulations.

But Glier plans to use his tax savings not just to reward his employees, but to grow and expand his business. Glier’s Meats plans to invest in critical new equipment that will help better position the company for the future—including a $250,000 sausage-stuffing machine that Glier said wouldn’t have happened in 2018 without the savings from tax reform.

More machines, which will double productive capacity while shortening the workday for employees, are also being purchased. Glier also plans to replace all the piping in its Kentucky facility with stainless steel—which Glier said isn’t cheap but will last virtually forever.

These projects are made possible because of the savings Glier’s Meats will see under the tax reform bill. “We had a number of projects that were seen as something we could consider doing down the road,” Glier told us. “But because of tax reform, it’s possible to reinvest in the plant and in new equipment now.”

The big investment in the business also means more hiring: in 2018 alone, Glier’s Meats has grown from 25 employees to 29 employees—and still plans to hire another five in the coming months. That’s an increase of 36 percent.

“Tax reform has changed the economics,” Glier said. “With the ability to recoup taxes, big changes are now possible.” -
June 13, 2018 National Association of Manufacturers Shopfloor Main article

Brown-Forman Corporation (Louisville, Kentucky) – $120 million contribution to the employee pension fund; creation of a charitable foundation with an initial $60 - $70 million contribution.

Paul Varga, Chief Executive Officer of Brown-Forman, said, "These capital deployment actions underscore the strength of the company’s balance sheet and health of our business, and are augmented by the anticipated benefits due to tax reform. – Jan. 23, 2018 Brown-Forman Corporation press release

Atmos Energy (Owensboro, Kentucky) - The utility will pass along tax cut savings to customers: 

“Atmos Energy, which serves western Kentucky, announced in March that it will be cutting the average residential bill by just over 3 percent. Other savings from tax reform will fund infrastructure upgrades across the Commonwealth. Companies in Kentucky have been able to expand their operation because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” - May 8, 2018, Rep. Brett Guthrie statement on House floor

The Housing Partnership Inc. (Louisville, Kentucky) -- The company announced they are building senior housing units in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A vacant West Louisville property on the National Register of Historic Places will receive much-needed new life under a fresh proposal.

The Housing Partnership Inc., a Louisville nonprofit dedicated to providing affordable homes and apartments in the Louisville region, plans to close on the five-story former candy and tobacco warehouse at 1405 West Broadway in West Louisville in early December and turn it into a mixed-use development.

Under the plan, the building would house up to 51 senior housing units as well as the agency's corporate office, said HPI President Andrew Hawes.

HPI plans to close on the property by Dec. 7, but he declined to disclose the negotiated purchase price. The seller is Florida-based Cross Land Development LLC, according to Jefferson County property records.

The current owners have now controlled the property for a number of years but have been unable to find a new user for the site, Hawes said. HPI became interested in buying and rehabbing the property in May.

"We had worked with the current owner for a couple of years [on finding a use] but that didn’t pan out," Hawes said. "We offered to purchase the property in hopes of doing something with it."

The proposed senior housing would be mostly one-bedroom units. Hawes said HPI wants to create some replacement housing for those at the Beecher Terrace housing complex in Russell, which is currently undergoing a massive overhaul.

"We feel it's a great fit," he said.

The bottom three floors of the warehouse would be set aside for other commercial uses, including HPI's corporate offices and community resource center, where the organization offers home buyer education, homeowner training and credit counseling. HPI also specializes in foreclosure intervention, real estate development and property management. According to its website, it has provided more than 9,300 affordable houses and apartments.

HPI would relocate about 35 to 40 staff from its current offices at 1512 Crums Lane under the proposal, he said.

Hawes said he is talking to other nonprofit agencies who may want to either relocate their offices to the building or expand programs within the space, noting that Catholic Charities has expressed strong interest in hosting some programming inside the building.

"We could collaborate on activities and leverage our resources together," Hawes said.

He also is looking to some potential retail uses, such as small grab-and-go food providers and a retail bank branch. A basement level floor will be converted into parking, he added.

The cost of the development has been pegged at $32 million, and Hawes said the organization will look to pull from a variety of financial funding sources, from historic and new markets tax credits to the new federally designated opportunity zone funds in which investors can put money into economic development projects in distressed areas in exchange for certain tax breaks and benefits on capital gains. -- November 28, 2018 Louisville Business First article

 

Weyland Ventures (Louisville, Kentucky) -- The company is building an apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.:

Weyland Ventures has partnered with Louisville developers Gill Holland and Gregg Rochman to redevelop about 100,000 square feet of vacant warehouse space into a mixed-use complex with apartments and commercial tenants.

The project will be located in multiple buildings at 1409, 1417 and 1427 Lytle Street that are owned by 4 Blokes LLC, an ownership group that includes Holland and Rochman. The property falls in a federally-designated opportunity zone, which allows investors with capital gains to reinvest those funds into real estate and economic development projects in economically distressed areas.

A development plan filed this week with Louisville Metro Government states the property will be transformed into The Audubon, a mixed-use space with 61 apartments, an 1,886-square-foot coffee shop and nearly 40,000 square feet of proposed office space. -- June 18, 2020 Louisville Business Journal article

Aviation Safety Resources (Stanford, Kentucky) -- The company is moving their corporate headquarters to a new location within an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

In a move that signals an expanding national presence, Aviation Safety Resources, Inc., (ASR) announced that it will move its corporate headquarters to Stanford, Kentucky and open a new 12,000 square-foot manufacturing and assembly facility. The new facilities will create 12 new high-paying jobs this year and more than 40 full-time positions in the next three years.

ASR designs, tests and produces whole-aircraft emergency recovery parachute systems designed to safely bring down an entire aircraft and its occupants in the event of an in-air emergency. The company is poised to disrupt the market for whole-vehicle recovery systems with an innovative approach and new technologies that will revitalize, reinvent and transform aviation safety with a series of new products and engineering services.

"ASR is the first company to offer the next generation of vehicle recovery systems specifically designed to meet the safety needs of the emerging flying car market," said Larry Williams, ASR president and CEO. "Our expansion into central Kentucky represents an important step in our continued growth and we are extremely proud of the talented team that will launch these new facilities."

Lincoln County Judge-Executive Jim Adams said, "We are extremely excited that a company with such an innovative product and worldwide profile has chosen to locate its headquarters and final assembly operations in Lincoln County. ASR's decision is a testament to the vibrant community and supportive business environment we've worked so hard to create. We can't wait to welcome them to their new home."

The ASR facilities will be located at the Lincoln Business Park and is scheduled to open in September 2019. The location is within a designated Opportunity Zone, a new federal community investment program that connects private capital with undercapitalized communities across America and offers significant federal tax benefits for investors.

George Leamon, executive director at the Stanford-Lincoln County Industrial Development Authority, said, "We are building strong relationships with a number of exciting industrial partners and have significant projects underway. The aviation and aerospace industries are key to Kentucky's future, so this new Aviation Safety Resources' facility is great news for Lincoln County residents and business community."

The new jobs created include engineering, assembly and administrative positions. The ASR workforce consist of industry leading engineering professionals with extensive design-build experience in both parachutes and aircraft.

"We have been in conversations with city, county and state officials for many months now and are in the final stages of negotiating an incentive package, which has been key in our final decision," Williams said. "Relocating our headquarters to Kentucky was a natural step as Kentucky has a very strong presence in the aerospace market. As we continue to invest in our company, we are confident this new location in Lincoln County will help us attract and retain top talent and provide a new and improved environment for all ASR employees, vendors and customers

"We look forward to working with the county judge-executive, the Stanford-Lincoln Industrial Development Authority and other community leaders as we embark on our next chapter of growth. We also want to thank the State EDC, Stanford-Lincoln IDA and the local business community as they continue to support the growth and investment in our manufacturing operations," Williams added.

ASR continues to seek investors for its life-saving technology. -- May 20, 2019 The Messenger Advocate article

Computer Services, Inc. (Paducah, Kentucky) – $1,300 cash bonuses for non-executive full-time employees with more than 12 months of service; $650 for part-time employees; additional contribution to employee retirement plan:

As a result of the reduced corporate tax rate effective with the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (TCJA), Computer Services, Inc. (CSI) (OTCQX: CSVI), a provider of end-to-end financial technology solutions, is using its financial savings to reinvest in its employees and infrastructure.

Recognizing the opportunity brought about by the TCJA, CSI is investing a portion of its corporate tax savings with its employees. Non-executive full-time employees with the company more than 12 months will receive a one-time $1,300 cash bonus in March. Part-time and other employees with the company less than 12 months will receive a one-time cash bonus of $650 also in March. The company also stated that all eligible employees will receive an additional one-time contribution to their retirement plan. – March 5, 2018 Computer Services, Inc. statement

Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company (Louisville, Kentucky) – the utilities will pass tax reform savings to customers:

If approved by the commission, customers would see nearly $180 million in savings in the form of a reduction on the Environmental Surcharge line item on their bill in March, followed by a new line item credit on the bill based on energy consumption starting in April.

“We had been supportive of the Tax Act all along because of the savings for our residential and business customers, so we are pleased that the commission acted quickly to enable us to deliver these savings so expeditiously. The other parties to this case — the Kentucky Attorney General and the Kentucky Industrial Utility Customers — truly had the customer in mind and a willingness to work together to reach a mutually acceptable solution,” said Kent Blake, chief financial officer at LG&E and KU. “With the colder-than-average winter, and subsequent high energy use, these savings will come at a key time for our customers.”—Jan. 29 2018, Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company, part of the PPL corporation press excerpt

Suburban Painting Co. (Lexington, Kentucky) – The painting company was able to create four new jobs and invested in a new truck because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Suburban Painting Co., out of Kentucky, recently hired four additional workers and bought a new truck to help it expand its services. April 14, 2019, Fox Business Network article.

Humana (Louisville, Kentucky) – base wage increased to $15 per hour; acceleration of annual performance-based incentive program; additional community investments; accelerated investment in technological and operational processes; earnings benefits for shareholders; more to be announced:

One change with immediate consequences is the new tax reform law which took effect January 1. Like many U.S. companies, Humana will begin benefitting this year from one element of this law: a lower corporate income tax rate. Our steadfast commitment to simplifying the healthcare experience and improving health outcomes for seniors, for TRICARE beneficiaries, and for employer group members remains our top priority, and will guide our decisions as to how to allocate tax-reform proceeds.

We have long recognized that our ability to carry out our commitments to those we have the privilege of serving depends on the collective contribution of every associate. And when Humana achieves sustainable success, we have a greater opportunity to share that success. To further this important connection, it’s my pleasure to let you know that we are:

-Accelerating the previously announced participation of associates in our annual performance-based incentive program from 2019 to 2018. Associates participating in the program will have a minimum incentive target of 4% of their base salary for 2018, with payouts to occur in March 2019.

-Raising the minimum hourly rate in the continental U.S. for full- and part-time Humana associates to $15.

These measures represent our faith in your ability to continue to contribute meaningfully to the health of our members and the growth of our company for many years to come. They also increase your opportunity to participate in being rewarded for our business performance and recognize outstanding contributions that we make to those we serve.

Details on the implementation of these measures will be forthcoming soon. In addition, we will also be sharing with you additional investments that will align around three important Humana priorities:

-Community investments to assist in addressing the social determinants of health for seniors, such as food insecurity, social isolation, and transportation

-Accelerated investments in technology and operational processes to reduce consumer and clinician friction points, increase engagement in health-related activities and increase productivity

-Earnings benefit for our shareholders (including, of course, thousands of Humana associates) – Excerpt from Jan. 15, 2018 letter to associates

 

Aptitude Development (Louisville, Kentucky) -- The company is building a student housing complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

With all eyes this month on The Kentucky Derby, the executive team at Aptitude Development has found a winning bet.

The Marshall student housing community in Louisville broke ground Oct. 18 to reportedly be the first property to take advantage of the Opportunity Zones program. The 10-story, 231-unit community sits on a 1.5-acre lot near the University of Louisville, offering a unique, unobstructed view of race track Churchill Downs.

As groundbreaking approached, its Principal and Co-Founder Jared Hutter restructured the deal to leverage the program's valuable tax benefits, Student Housing Business first reported.

"No one has been able to show us a project that broke ground earlier," Hutter says. "We planned to build at University of Louisville, anyway, and this financing certainly made that decision even easier. Opportunity Zones is great because it encourages development, and given the tax break's 10-year horizon, it encourages a higher-quality product. More care is taken in the entire construction decision-making when you plan to hold the property because it's not a build-and-flip project."

Hutter is positioning the $40 million, 591-bed community's 8,000 square feet of amenity space on the penthouse floor, facing south, to take advantage of the view of the track. The Marshall also will have a 2,500-square-foot outdoor terrace.

"We wanted to try something new and exciting in how we designed this community," he says. "There's nothing else like it in this market." -- May 1, 2019 National Apartment Association article

Duke Energy Kentucky, Inc. The utility will pass along tax reform savings to customers:

Across the Ohio River in Kentucky, state regulators continue to review the company's proposals that recommend allocating more than $15 million of tax act benefits to Duke Energy Kentucky customers. – April 13, 2018, Duke Energy Press Release

Verst Logistics, Inc. (Walton, Kentucky) -- $500 bonuses to all full-time employees:

Verst Logistics confirmed today that they distributed $500 bonuses to all full-time employees on December 29, 2017.

As part of an internal communication, President and CEO Paul Verst wrote that, as a result of the approved tax reform legislation, "Verst Logistics will realize reduced tax obgligations going forward."  Speaking directly to employees, he added, "The combination of the efforts of our employees to meet and exceed our customer's requirements, coupled with a more favorable tax environment, makes for a great future for our company. I want to be sure that you and your families share in the benefits of your accomplishments and the new tax reform legislation."

In a more recent statement, Paul Verst commented, "We are excited to be included in the growing list of organizations that believe the new tax plan will help our economy by creating new opportunities for business and putting more money in the hands of hard-working people across the U.S." – Jan. 24, 2018 Verst Logistics, Inc. press release

Smithfield Foods (Perryville, Kentucky) -- The food company is opening a distribution center in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Smithfield Foods, a $15 billion global food company, is opening its latest distribution center in Principio Business Park, bringing 240 jobs once it opens its doors.

Gov. Larry Hogan made the announcement Monday afternoon that Smithfield Foods, based out of Virginia, would build a 420,000-square-foot, state-of-the art facility in the Cecil County business park to better access the Northeast market through Interstate 95.

"It's a tremendous win for the state and for Cecil County that a global company like Smithfield Foods, which has worldwide brand recognition, has chosen to continue its growth in Maryland," Hogan said in a statement. "This new facility and the 240 new jobs it brings underscores our administration's promise to make Maryland more business friendly and create job opportunities for our citizens."

Smithfield Foods, founded in Smithfield, Va., in 1936, is the largest pork producer in the world, owning hundreds of farms in the United States and contracting with thousands more. The company is a market leader in several categories of packaged meats, with dozens of brands spotted in grocery stores like Smithfield, Nathan's Famous and Healthy Ones, among others.

In 2013, Smithfield Foods was bought out by WH Group, a Chinese meat and food processing company, for $4.7 billion. The company has 54,000 employees and offices and facilities around America and in Europe.

When Smithfield's latest distribution center opens in Cecil County, it will be the first in Maryland. It also will be 130 miles south of the closest plant in New Jersey and 270 miles north of the three plants in Virginia.

"This new distribution center is an essential part of our efforts to streamline our national logistics network to optimize our operations, while advancing our ambitious sustainability goals," said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and CEO for Smithfield Foods, in a statement. "We are proud to become part of the business community in Maryland, a location that provides strategic advantages for our business and improves our ability to provide high-quality product to our customers and consumers."

The Maryland Department of Commerce has agreed to provide Smithfield Foods with $720,000 in loans from the Advantage Maryland program — also known by its earlier name, the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF). The agreement spells out that the food company must spend $74 million on construction and hire 240 employees by Dec. 31, 2020.

Cecil County is expected to put up a $80,000 match for the state's offer, which will need the approval of the Cecil County Council.

"The parameters of when the employees are hired may change, depending on construction and if they get behind on building the facility," MDC spokeswoman Karen Glenn Hood said. "They also have to maintain those jobs through the life of the loan."

Construction should not hold up the terms of the loans, since building on the site has been ongoing since mid-2018, according to Chris Moyer, the county's economic development director.

"It's another great company that's learning that Cecil County is a great place to do business," he said Monday. "We're expecting that Smithfield will have a hiring event this summer."

Smithfield Foods will also see the benefits of Hogan's More Jobs for Marylanders Act, which allows companies that create a set number of jobs to be eligible for state income tax credits. Cecil County was elevated to Tier 1 status last year in part because the General Assembly passed an amendment that changed the requirement from the county's income per capita to median household income.

Due to the Tier 1 status, Smithfield Foods will see an income tax credit worth 5.75 percent of wages for each qualified position, for each five new jobs created.

Smithfield Foods can also claim extra benefits, as Principio Business Park is also an enterprise zone. Businesses in an enterprise zone can claim a 10-year credit on local property taxes on a portion of property improvements. That credit is 80 percent of the tax assessment during the first five years, and later decreases 10 percent annually until it hits the floor of 30 percent in the 10th year.

Businesses in enterprise zones can also claim one-year or three-year credits for wages paid to new employees in new positions, like Smithfield Foods plans to introduce once it opens in Cecil County. The general credit is a one-time $1,000 credit per new worker, although it increases to $6,000 per worker distributed over three years if they are deemed economically disadvantaged.

There could also be future tax breaks down the line, as the Principio Business Park is in an opportunity zone, which created investment funds for certain census tracts. If an investment stays in a qualified fund for a certain period of time, investors would see a reduction in tax liability. The entire post-acquisition gain is excluded from taxable income if held in a fund for 10 years or more.  -- April 1, 2019 press release

LongTail Building (Louisville, Kentucky) -- The bar was converted into an office building located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

After extensive restoration, a neighborhood bar that served bourbon for nearly a hundred years sees new life as a space designed for early-stage companies and events. Walking distance to Churchill Downs, the LongTail Building is located at 2532 S 4th St, Louisville, KY 40208, in an opportunity zone blocks away from the University of Louisville and surrounded by new student housing. The LongTail Building is a multi-use entrepreneurial event space reimagining the building's history as the Whirlaway Tavern. Triple Crown-winning horse Whirlaway was nicknamed Mr. Longtail. The term "long tail" also represents part of a distribution curve, one that drives technology adoption and creates markets at scale.
 
The LongTail Building hosts offices for early-stage funds, the 6ixth Event, and Narwhal Ventures. These funds invest in early-stage companies and working with startups and investors located around the country. The building holds LongTail Ventures, a business incubator focused on creating early-stage companies outside traditional venture models. The space is available for corporate events and community functions.
 
The space showcases the region's rich history and culture with quintessential regional experience. Designed by an award-winning architect, the building boasts historic brick, block glass, hand-cut timbers, hand-painted signs, and details with spaces that feel like a Kentucky barn complete with hookups for food trucks to support a jamboree. Designers gave primary importance to the outdoor spaces with dozens of trees planted along with botanical gardens, all designed to create a flow between the outside and inside of the location. The LongTail Building boasts modern technology such as super-fast internet access from fiber run on a Ruckus network, ultra-short-throw projection screens with next-gen teleconferencing, and a Helium based IoT / LoRaWAN Network.
 
The LongTail Building restoration was a team effort in reimagining the use of historic indoor and outside spaces. Studio Mayo Architects (American Institute of Architects | 2018 KY Merit Award) did the project, along with Lichtefeld Construction, Sweet Carpentry of Kentuckiana (boutique carpenter), and Slugger City Signs (artist at Kentucky College of Art & Design) and Mighty Fine Signs (Ghost Sign specialist). Historic signs on the building's exterior were restored and reinterpreted by hand, based on archival photos, all commemorating the history of the city and space. -- March 24, 2020 company press release

 

 

Turning Point Brands, Inc. (Louisville, Kentucky) -- $1,000 bonuses for 107 employees:

"We are giving $1,000 bonuses as a direct result of tax reform becoming law. These employees would not normally get a bonus like this. Our dedicated employees are responsible for our success, and we are very pleased to announce this bonus for them during the holiday season. We are extremely happy with tax reform and wanted our valued employees to feel the benefits. We can attest that this tax package is directly benefiting working people, just as our national leaders promised when they started this effort."

“We especially want to thank President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Speaker Paul Ryan for pushing to get tax reform done this year, which allowed our people to immediately feel the impact. Every leader who pushed for and voted for tax reform made these bonuses possible," Wexler said. “Senator McConnell has personally toured our facility in Louisville and we appreciate his interest in our employees and our business as well as his interest in all Kentucky businesses.”

Novelis, Inc. (Guthrie, Kentucky) – Construction of a 400,000-square foot automotive aluminum facility in Guthrie, Kentucky. The facility will create approximately 125 jobs:

Since 2008 manufacturing in the United States has added more than a million new jobs, and today that momentum continued with a major announcement by Novelis, Inc.—spurred on, in part, by the recently enacted tax reform legislation.

The global leader in aluminum rolled products and the world’s largest recycler of aluminum broke ground this week on its $300 million automotive aluminum sheet manufacturing facility in Guthrie, Kentucky. This new investment, made possible due to tax reform and a “favorable economic environment,” will create approximately 125 new jobs. – May 14, 2018 National Association of Manufacturers ShopFloor.org blog post

Community Trust Bancorp (Pikeville, Kentucky) -- $1,000 bonuses for full time employees and $500 bonuses for part-time employees (exact number receiving bonus unknown at this time):

“The bonus will be paid to employees as soon as the new tax tables are released in 2018 so that employees may receive the full benefit of the reduction in tax rates.

“Management and the Boards of Directors continue to believe that our most valuable assets are our employees and are pleased that changes in the tax laws facilitate our ability to recognize their hard work and dedication to the success of CTBI.” – Dec. 22, 2017 Community Trust Bancorp press release

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 2,524 employees in KentuckyNationwide, $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 

Wal-Mart – Kentucky employees at 96 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 -- 14 locations in Kentucky, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's -- 6,000+ employees at 42 stores in Kentucky. 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 (8 locations in Kentucky) – Tax reform bonuses.

Taco John’s (9 locations in Kentucky): 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

T.J. Maxx – 16 stores in Kentucky – 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

CarMax (Locations in Lexington and Louisville) – $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 excerp

Apple (Apple store locations in Lexington and Louisville) -- $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.

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

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

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

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

Lowe's -- 6,000+ employees at 42 stores in Kentucky. 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 (8 locations in Kentucky) – Tax reform bonuses.

Starbucks Coffee Company (116 locations in Kentucky) –$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 Kentucky) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.

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

FedEx (Multiple locations in Kentucky) – 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

McDonald’s (250+ locations in Kentucky) – 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

Fifth Third Bancorp – 92 locations in Kentucky; Nationally $1,000 bonuses for 13,500 employees and base wage raise increase to $15:

Newly passed tax legislation includes a reduction in corporate tax rates designed to spur economic growth.  Carmichael said the tax cut allowed the Bank the opportunity to reevaluate its compensation structure and share some of those benefits with its talented and dedicated workforce.

Carmichael said the higher wage is an important step to help support individuals, their families and the communities in which we operate. Fifth Third has a history of investing in its 18,000 employees.

Once the legislation is signed into law, nearly 3,000 hourly employees will see their pay increase to $15 an hour. The one-time $1,000 bonus is expected to be distributed by the end of the year, assuming the president signs the bill before Christmas. Senior managers and executive leadership are excluded from this compensation.

“It is good for our communities, employees and Fifth Third Bank,” [President and CEO Greg] Carmichael said. – Dec. 20, 2017 Fifth Third press release

First Financial Bancorp (Kentucky locations in Burlington, Fort Mitchell, and Hebron) -- Base wage raised to $15 per hour; $3 million charitable contribution:

First Financial Bancorp (Nasdaq: FFBC) will raise the starting wage for all new and existing hourly associates to $15 an hour effective immediately. Additionally, the bank has made a $3 million contribution to its newly established charitable foundation. This announcement comes as a result of the recently passed tax legislation, which includes a reduction in corporate tax rates.

First Financial strives to provide fair and competitive salaries and benefits to its associates. Approximately 1,335 associates are employed throughout the First Financial footprint in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. The increase will affect 220 of these associates. – Jan. 3, 2018 First Financial Bancorp press release

MainSource Financial Group (15 locations in Kentucky) – Base wage raised to $15 per hour:

MainSource Financial Group (NASDAQ: MSFG) will raise the starting pay and minimum hourly rate to $15 an hour effective immediately for all of its non-exempt, non-commissioned employees. This announcement comes as a result of the recently passed tax legislation, which includes a reduction in corporate tax rates.

Approximately 1,000 associates are employed throughout the MainSource footprint in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. The pay increase will affect over 200 employees.

Archie M. Brown, Jr., President and CEO, stated, "The recently passed tax legislation is anticipated to create significant savings for our company. We are pleased to direct a portion of this savings back to many of our employees with a meaningful increase in pay." – Jan. 3, 2018 MainSource Financial Group press release

Note: If you know of other Kentucky 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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