Oregon Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Monday, March 4th, 2019, 4:30 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 Oregon (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

FireBird Bronze (Damascus, Oregon) – Thanks to tax reform this full-service foundry with nine employees is able to offer health insurance for the first time. They are also upgrading equipment and hiring, and building a new facility in Troutdale, Oregon:

We are a small manufacturing business casting artwork for artist in bronze, we have 9 employees and because of the tax cuts and the current business friendly climate we are for the first time offering employees health care insurance costing our company 40k per year.  – Rip Caswell, FireBird Bronze

Eagle Telephone System, Inc. & Eagle Valley Communications (Hells Canyon Snake River Corridor, Oregon) -- $1,000 bonuses; together the companies have 19 employees:

Though our Companies are small in comparison to Boeing and AT&T and others on this list, our hearts are none the less just as big or bigger, said Mike Lattin, President and CEO of Eagle Telephone System, and Eagle Valley Communications, dba Comco Construction.

Mike announced that both Eagle and Comco employees will be receiving $1000.00 bonuses by the holidays, this is due in large part to the recent tax reform bill having been passed and also the fact that President Trump has worked very hard to lessen the regulatory burdens that had been put on our industry by the previous administration. Combined these companies employ 19 people in a very rural part of Eastern Oregon; Richland. Our services include providing telephone and broadband, cellular and wireless, as well as construction services of all types. Our services are critical to the Rural market we serve. A sample of our market is Hydro Production along the Hells Canyon stretch of Snake River, Ranchers, Cattle Producers and Farmers, providing everything from beef, lamb, soy, alfalfa, hay, dairy products and more, Forest Production Practices and in large part Recreation in all four seasons.

Mike stated that he believes that this administration is looking out for us, for Rural America and that is what we need to keep our industry competitive world wide. He finished by stating that this administration and the tax reform bill just passed have been a god send to Rural Eastern Oregon. – Statement by Rusti Lattin, for Mike Lattin, President and CEO.

Pacific Power (Portland, Oregon) – The utility will pass along tax savings to customers:

The new Republican tax plan has brought a variety of tax cuts. Pacific Power says they are committed to passing the benefit of this tax cut on to customers.

“We strive to provide our customers reliable service while keeping rates low," said Stefan Bird, President and CEO of Pacific Power. “The benefit of this tax cut should  be passed on to our customers – and we will work with our regulators and stakeholders on the best way to do that.” – Jan. 3, 2018 My Columbia Basin article excerpt

Rocky Mountain Power (Portland, Oregon) – The utility will pass along tax savings to customers:

Rocky Mountain Power says it plans to pass some of its federal tax savings on to customers. But, the company isn't sure how much or when.

"We strive to provide our customers reliable service while keeping rates low," said Cindy Crane, President and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power. "The benefit of this tax cut should be passed on to our customers — and we will work with our regulators and stakeholders on the best way to do that." – Jan. 4 2018, Local News 8 article excerpt

Avista Corporation – 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

Miles Fiberglass (Oregon City, Oregon) - Hiring more employees, increasing wages, implementing profit-sharing bonuses for existing employees:

 Lori Miles-Olund, who is the president of the family-owned business that her father founded in 1963, explained how Miles Fiberglass plans to pass along the benefits to its employees:

  • “We increased our starting wage by 9 percent, which bumps everyone up the chart,” Miles-Olund said. “We’ve also implemented a new training program, ‘Learn to Earn.’ Every time employees learn a new skill, they get an hourly pay increase of $1.00, $1.50.”

  • She reported that, even as expenses like health insurance have gone up on the employer side, tax reform means that Miles Fiberglass will not be passing those added expenses along to its employees. And, since many employees commute from more than an hour away, Miles Fiberglass is also helping make these long commutes more affordable, providing a flat-rate gas stipend.

  • “We also anticipate implementing our bonus program again this year,” Miles-Olund said, noting that it had previously been on hold for quite some time due to the economic climate. Once implemented employees will start receiving a quarterly profit-sharing bonus, meaning that, as Miles continues to succeed, employees will directly benefit.

Miles Fiberglass also plans to expand its facilities and workforce dramatically. “We anticipate our sales to double this year due to the economic climate,” Miles-Olund told the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), adding that demand for composite component parts is “far more than we’d seen in the past.” – June 1, 2018, National    Association of Manufacturers Shopfloor article excerpt

Umpqua Holdings Corporation (Portland, Oregon) – Base wage raised to $15.25 per hour; $1,000 bonuses for over 15,000 non-executive employees:

Umpqua Bank, based in Portland, Ore., announced in its latest earnings call that it had paid $3.2 million in employee profit-sharing and contributed $2 million to the Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation as a result of the tax bill. – Jan. 31 2018, ABA Banking Journal article excerpt

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 637 Oregon employeesNationwide, $1,000 bonuses for 200,000 employees and a $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

Apple -- (Apple store locations in Tigard and Portland) -- $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.

Walmart – Oregon employees at 43 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 -- 37 locations in Oregon - Bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's -- 2,000 employees at 14 stores and one distribution facility in Oregon. 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 (Locations in Portland, Salem, Springfield, Tigard) – Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Best Buy -- 14 locations in Oregon; $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees. 

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

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

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

Starbucks Coffee Company (359 locations in Oregon) –$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 – (12 locations in Oregon) – 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 Oregon) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.

FedEx (Multiple locations in Oregon) – 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

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

McDonald’s (200+ locations in Oregon) – 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 

Bank of America (50 branch locations in Oregon) -- $1,000 bonuses.

Wells Fargo (95 locations in Oregon) - 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 Oregon 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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