New Jersey Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, March 5th, 2019, 9:00 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 New Jersey (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)
 

New Jersey Families See Increased Tax Simplification and Tax Reduction. Americans at every income level have seen significant tax reduction. 90 percent of families and individuals are seeing increased take-home pay across the country. There are numerous reforms in the bill that benefit taxpayers in New Jersey and across the country:

  • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child. 563,170 New Jersey families took the Child Tax Credit in 2015.
  • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the standard deduction for an individual from $6,000 to $12,000 and for a family from $12,000 to $24,000. 2,574,770 New Jersey families and individuals took the standard deduction in 2015.
  • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act raised the threshold of the Alternative Minimum Tax so fewer taxpayers are forced to comply with the provision. 279,740 New Jersey families paid the Alternative Minimum Tax in 2015. 
     

New Jersey Middle Class Families See Increased Take-Home Pay. In 2018, New Jersey taxpayers will see average tax reduction of $1,490 and around 6 in 10 New Jersey taxpayers see an average federal tax cut of $2,740.    

  • 90 percent of New Jersey taxpayers with annual income of between $48,300 and $77,300 will see an average federal tax cut of $930 in 2018.
  • 84 percent of New Jersey taxpayers with annual income between $77,300 and $135,800 will see an average federal tax cut of $1,390 in 2018.
  • 80 percent of New Jersey taxpayers with annual income between $135,800 and $314,500 will see an average federal tax cut of $3,070 in 2018.    
     

New Jersey Families See Relief From the Individual Mandate Tax Penalty. Obamacare imposed a tax penalty of $695 for an individual and $2,085 for a family of four for failing to buy “qualifying” health insurance as defined by the federal government. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act repeals this unfair tax.

The individual mandate tax penalty is one of the most regressive taxes in the code as it disproportionately impacts low and middle-income families:

  • 188,570 New Jersey individuals and families paid a total of $93,342,000 in individual mandate tax penalties in 2015. 
  • 37.56 percent of New Jersey taxpayers (70,830 households) that paid the individual mandate made less than $25,000 in annual income.
  • 77.91 percent of New Jersey taxpayers (146,910 households) that paid the individual mandate made less than $50,000 in annual income.
     

Tax Reform Benefits Businesses and Workers in New Jersey. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the federal corporate tax rate to 21 percent and established a 20 percent small business deduction. Businesses across the state have responded by announcing pay raises, bonuses, 401(k) match increases, and expansions. For example:

  • Tingley Rubber Corporation – based in Piscataway, New Jersey - announced one-time bonuses of $1,000 because of the recent tax reform passed by Congress. 
  • Quest Diagnostics Incorporated – based in Secaucus, New Jersey – has announced bonuses of up to $500 for 40,000 employees. 
  • Amicus Therapeutics – based in Cranbury, New Jersey – will build a $200 million facility in the U.S. instead of Europe because of tax reform. The factory will produce a new drug designed to treat Pompe, a rare, fatal disease. The facility will employ at least 200 people with an average salary of $100,000. 
  • Lowe’s – (5,000 employees at 39 stores and two distribution centers in New Jersey). 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. 
  • Amboy Bank – based in Old Bridge, New Jersey – is increasing its employee base wage to $15 per hour and giving $1,000 bonuses for non-executive employees. 
     

New Jersey companies of all sizes give powerful testimonials to the power of tax reform:

Metallix (Shrewsbury, New Jersey) - Employee bonuses, investing in business growth:

First order of business? Giving each of Metallix’s 98 workers a $1,000 bonus, an unexpected surprise that came just days after tax reform took effect.

“From the outset, the company wanted to share the benefits of tax reform with our employees,” said Maria Piastre, president of Metallix. “On February 14, every employee received a net $1,000 after-tax bonus in response to tax reform. Coming so soon after our usual end-of-year bonuses, it was completely unexpected by Metallix employees, and we were all very happy to receive it.”

Metallix wasn’t shy about tying these bonuses directly to tax reform. Each employee also received a letter from Metallix owner Eric Leiner, who explained that tax reform was going to mean a big boost to the company—and that he wanted to make sure employees were receiving their share of the good fortune. Metallix employees clearly took this sentiment to heart.

Piastre said that, months after the bonuses were given out, many employees still had Leiner’s letter hung proudly at their desks.

Piastre also explained that Metallix was using some of the benefits of tax reform to grow their business—and that significant investments were now more feasible because the company’s taxes had been so substantially lowered. - August 2, 2018, National Association of Manufacturers article excerpt

Atlantic City Electric (Atlantic City, New Jersey) - The utility will pass along tax cut savings to customers:

Atlantic City Electric will provide $23 million in annual tax savings to its customers. The company made a filing this month with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, which was approved on March 26, 2018. Customers will begin to see reductions on their bills around April 1, 2018. - April 3, 2018, Exelon Utilities press release excerpt

Honeywell (Morris Plains, New Jersey) – increased 401(k) match:

“I am confident in Honeywell’s future, and our ability to continue to deliver for our shareowners and our employees. Our strong performance in 2017, together with the enactment of new U.S. tax legislation, has enabled us to increase our 401(k) match in the U.S. This is a sustained, annual benefit that will provide a more secure retirement for our employees. We believe that enhancing this benefit is extremely valuable and important to our employees over the long term,” Adamczyk concluded.—Jan. 26 2018, Honeywell press release

Flemington Car & Truck Family of Brands (Flemington, New Jersey) -- $500 employee bonuses:

The new tax reform law is giving some benefits to New Jerseyans. The Flemington Car and Truck Country Family of Brands, a new and used car dealership in Flemington, is awarding each of its full-time employees a $500 bonus because of the recently passed federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

As a result of the corporate tax rate cut under the new law to 21 percent from 35 percent, the company will also look to upgrade its facility and hire additional workers. The dealership is 41 years old and has 17 brands in eight different locations.

“We believe this is the right thing to do,” said company chairman Steve Kalafer, in a written statement. “Reinvesting tax savings in our employees and our businesses will make our communities and America stronger. We call on all of the auto manufacturers we work with to help drive economic growth by giving back to the communities where they employ and invest with appropriate employee bonuses and by creating new jobs with their new capacity for additional capital expenditures.” – Jan. 8, 2018 NJ Biz article excerpt

Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (Secaucus, New Jersey) -- Bonuses of up to $500 for 40,000 employees:

Tax Reform Benefit

In 2018 the company expects to realize approximately $180 million in tax savings on an adjusted basis. Of this amount, the company plans to reinvest roughly $75 million before tax back into the business and its employees, resulting in a benefit of approximately $120 million to net earnings.  Investment initiatives include:

-Advanced diagnostics innovation through new tests and high-touch concierge services;

-Investments to deliver a consistently excellent consumer experience both online through the MyQuest mobile patient application and patient service centers; and 

-A bonus of up to $500 for nearly 40,000 employees to be paid based on the company's performance in 2018. -- Feb. 1 2018, Quest Diagnostics Incorporated press release

New Jersey American Water (Swedesboro, New Jersey) – The utility will pass along tax cut savings to customers:

New Jersey American Water customers also recently had a rate decrease as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. On April 1, 2018, most customer water rates were reduced by 5.9 percent (and 2.3 percent for former Shorelands Water Company customers). The water bill for the average residential customer using 6,000 gallons a month decreased approximately $3.36 per month ($1.00 per month for former Shorelands customers), and the average residential wastewater bill decreased between $1.49 and $5.81 per month, depending on service area.

The BPU is continuing their review of the overall impact of the new tax act, and further rate adjustments are anticipated in the coming months. – May 11, 2018, BusinessWire article excerpt

Merck (Kenilworth, New Jersey) -- Bonuses (details to be announced); increased charitable donations; increased capital expenditures:

“The recently enacted U.S. tax legislation improves Merck’s financial flexibility to invest in sustainable long-term value creating opportunities. In addition to the company’s ongoing investment in R&D, business development and continued support of the dividend, as well as share repurchases, the company also:

  • Plans to invest approximately $12 billion over 5 years in capital projects including approximately $8 billion in the United States
  • Made a contribution to the Merck Foundation in the fourth quarter of 2017
  • Plans to provide a one-time, long-term incentive award for its eligible non-executive employees in the second quarter of 2018” – Feb. 2 2018, Merck press release
     

Tingley Rubber Company (Piscataway, New Jersey) -- $1,000 bonuses:

New Jersey based Tingley Rubber Corporation will be issuing all U.S. based employees one-time bonuses of $1,000 because of the recent tax reform passed by Congress.

Tingley’s ownership announced Thursday its plans to share some of the tax benefit directly with their employees to express the company's gratitude. The 122-year-old, fifth generation family owned business joins many businesses across the country in giving employee bonuses after Congress passed a sweeping tax cut for businesses and individuals.

President Donald Trump signed a bill on December 22nd overhauling the nation's tax code. One of the biggest changes included in the bill cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent for qualifying corporations. The bill also restructures and lowers the seven personal income tax brackets.

Based in Piscataway, NJ the privately held Tingley Rubber Corporation announced the bonuses during an employee luncheon held on March 22nd. The $1,000 bonuses will also be eligible for the company’s 401(k) plan deferral with the standard corporate match.

"The economic development that should come as a direct result of the new tax reform legislation and deregulations will positively affect Tingley’s ability to grow its business.  The tax reform package will allow Tingley to invest more into our strategic initiatives, and better serve our customers, as well as our employees and shareholders," said Owner and Chairman of the Board, Bruce McCollum.  Bruce’s son and owner JB McCollum said "We are excited for the opportunity to reward our dedicated and hard-working employees with this special bonus as a token of our gratitude."

President & COO, Mike Zedalis, expressed his gratitude to the McCollum family and sees the new tax plan as a major boost to Tingley: “Our company continues to grow, and enhanced investment into our operations will always bring benefits to our customers, employees and shareholders.” 

Tingley Rubber Corporation is a leading supplier of protective footwear and clothing and has been protecting generations of workers since 1896. -- March 26, 2018 Tingley Rubber Corporation press release

Public Service Enterprise Group (Newark, New Jersey) – the utility will pass along tax reform savings to customers:


Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G) today proposed to lower customer bills by approximately 2 percent on April 1 to pass on the benefits of the federal tax reform legislation enacted earlier this year.


In its filing with the NJ Board of Public Utilities, PSE&G will reduce rates by approximately $114 million on an annual basis effective April 1 to reflect lower federal taxes the utility will pay. The typical residential combined electric and gas customer will save nearly $41 per year.  – March 2, 2018, PSE&G Press Release

Amicus Therapeutics (Cranbury, New Jersey) – In order to find a cure for a rare disease, the company is building a $200 million facility in the United States instead of overseas. The facility will employ at least 200 people who will earn an average of over $100,000 per year:

Specialty drugmaker Amicus Therapeutics, Inc. has decided to spend as much as $200 million on a new production facility in the U.S. instead of Europe.

--

At Amicus Therapeutics, the new tax law solved a geographic dilemma. The Cranbury, N.J., company is developing an experimental drug to treat Pompe disease, a rare inherited disorder that causes muscle weakness and can be fatal.

After early results for a new drug proved promising, Amicus wanted to increase production for further clinical testing and potential commercial sales.

Amicus, which has been using Chinese contract manufacturer WuXi Biologics to supply the drug, decided in August to build its own facility. The U.S. was at a disadvantage to Europe, due to its 35% statutory federal income-tax rate for companies. Ireland’s corporate tax rate, by contrast, is 12.5%.

Those financial considerations threatened to overshadow other advantages that a U.S. plant would offer, including the ease with which company officials could visit it, and the availability of talented workers in some regions.

“Our strong assumption was that it would be very challenging to establish a new bio-manufacturing facility in the U.S.,” Chief Executive John Crowley said in an interview.

As the tax legislation advanced in Congress last fall, however, building in the U.S. began to look more attractive. On Dec. 21, a day after Congress passed the final measure, which lowered the statutory corporate rate to 21%, Mr. Crowley recommended to his board the company focus on finding a U.S. site. The company has narrowed its choice to three East Coast cities Mr. Crowley declined to identify, and expects to decide in the next month or two. It expects the plant to cost $150 million to $200 million, and to employ at least 200 people at an average pay of $100,000 a year.

“With the changes in the tax law, it now makes the U.S. competitive with these geographies we’re looking at,” he said. – Jan. 26, 2018 Wall Street Journal article excerpt

Somerset Savings Bank (Bound Brook, New Jersey) -- $750 bonuses for employees excluding senior management:

Somerset Savings Bank announced today that, following the enactment of the new federal tax reform legislation, it will distribute a special cash bonus to its employees.  Every employee, excluding senior management, will receive a one-time $750 bonus. – Jan. 23, 2018 Somerset Savings Bank press release

OceanFirst Financial Corp. (Toms River, New Jersey) – base wage increase to $15 per hour:

OceanFirst Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:OCFC) the holding company for OceanFirst Bank, today announced a commitment to increase the Bank's minimum hourly pay rate to $15.00 within 30 days of the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which has been approved by Congress and is expected to be signed into law in the near future." -- Dec. 22, 2017 OceanFirst Financial Corp. press release

Advanced Sciences and Technologies, LLC (Berlin, New Jersey) – increased 401(k) match for employees.

Unity Bank (Clinton, New Jersey) – all 200 non-executive employees will receive a $750 bonus:

In response to Congressional approval of tax reform legislation, Unity Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNTY), parent company of Unity Bank, announced today that its Board of Directors has elected to provide all employees excluding executive management with a one-time $750 bonus.

“The bank’s Board and executive management felt strongly that the anticipated benefit of the corporate tax rate reduction should be shared with our employees,” said Unity Bank President & CEO James A. Hughes. “Unity’s employees constantly demonstrate their commitment to our customers and the community, not only in their work responsibilities, but by donating their personal time and resources to benefit those in need. We foster an entrepreneurial culture at Unity where the employees and bank can grow together and this decision fits perfectly with that philosophy.”

The corporate tax rate in the recently passed legislation will drop from 35% to 21%. Unity Bank intends to pay the bonuses to its approximately 200 employees in January. – Dec. 26, 2017 Unity Bancorp Inc. press release

Amboy Bank (Old Bridge, New Jersey) – Base wage raised to $15 per hour; $1,000 bonuses for non-executive employees:

The New Jersey Bankers Association said Amboy Bank was "sharing the benefits of the recent tax reform."

"They are joining the growing group of banks across New Jersey and the country that are rewarding employees with increased wages, special bonuses and enhanced benefits programs as well as increased funding for charitable giving," president and CEO  John E. McWeeney, Jr. said in a statement. – Feb. 8, 2018 NJ Advance Media article excerpt

Apple (There are 12 Apple stores in New Jersey: Atlantic City, Bridgewater, Cherry Hill, Edison, Freehold, Lawrence Township, Marlton, Paramus, Rockaway, Short Hills, Wayne, Woodcliff Lake) -- $2,500 employee bonuses in the form of restricted stock units; nationally, $30 billion in additional capital expenditures.

Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick, New Jersey) – New investments due to tax reform – details will be released in April.

“Now regarding tax reform, what we said from the very beginning is that one of the major reasons, in addition to lowering the rate, is just frankly the flexibility that it provides us, and we think it actually helps make us more competitive, particularly on an international level if we happen to be in a competitive situation with other companies because now we have greater flexibility on how we can access that cash. So we think net-net, it's a positive for us. As you heard Dominic [J&J CFO] mention earlier, regarding the more immediate tax reform impact, we think that the -- the wise thing to do is to invest a good portion of that back into R&D. If you look over the past several years, the output, the productivity, particularly in our pharmaceutical pipeline, but also in others of our investments in R&D, we think, have been at the high end. And we think ultimately doing that, we'll have the greatest impact on our business, will help us get out to better serve underserved needs around the globe, and that's where we're heading in that direction.” – CEO Alex Gorsky

"We are pleased by the final passage of the U.S. tax cuts and jobs act.” – CFO Dominic Caruso

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

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

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

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

Home Depot -- 72 locations in New Jersey, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000

Lowe's -- 5,000 employees at 39 stores and two distribution centers in New Jersey. Employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service; expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance.

Ryder (13 locations in New Jersey) – Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Starbucks Coffee Company (Multiple locations in New Jersey) – $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 – 39 stores in New Jersey – 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

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

Wal-Mart – 63 locations in New Jersey -- Base wage increase for all hourly employees to $11; bonuses of up to $1,000; expanded maternity and parental leave; $5,000 for adoption expenses.

Wells Fargo  279 locations in New Jersey; raised base wage from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour; nationally, $400 million in charitable donations for 2018; $100 million increased capital investment over the next three years.

Note: If you know of other New Jersey 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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