How the Trump Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Tennessee

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, July 7th, 2020, 1:20 PM PERMALINK

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

467,290 Tennessee households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

Every income group in every Tennessee 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.

2,420,850 Tennessee 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.

83,440 Tennessee 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, Tennessee residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, Chattanooga Gas Company, Piedmont Natural Gas Company, and Tennessee American Water Company (see below) all passed along tax reform savings to their customers. 

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

Excel Boat Company (Ridgely, Tennessee) - Opening a new manufacturing plant:

“In Lake County, Excel Boat Company announced they will be opening a manufacturing plant that will bring 200 good-paying jobs and a total economic development investment of $9 million.” - May 8, 2018, Rep. David Kustoff statement on House floor

Tractor Supply (Franklin, Tennessee) - Increased wages at stores and distribution centers, invest in new stores, share repurchases:

Tractor Supply's CEO Greg Sandfort underscored the need to pay workers competitively in a January conference call and said the Brentwood-based company will advance wages at stores and distribution centers as a result of the new tax law. The company employs 1,200 in Middle Tennessee.

"Given some of the tax advantages that we have, we're going to stay not only very competitive on wages, but in many cases, we're going to be probably the person maybe leading up in the wages because we need to make sure we've got the best people, period," Sandfort said.

Tractor Supply, which had an income tax expense of $250 million in 2017, also plans to invest in new stores and online sales, and return money to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends. The company did not elaborate on how much will be allocated to those investments or the size of the wage increases. - July 29, 2018, Tennessean article excerpt

Maxus Reality Trust (Kingsport, Tennessee) -- The company is building an apartment complex in an Opporitunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

According to the Mastered in Tennessee website, there are currently four Opportunity Zone projects in the Tri-Cities area. The projects, business type, and value are:

Town Park Lofts – Kingsport – $39.4 million. This reflects the developer’s sale of The Lofts to Maxus Realty Trust. The Lofts is a luxury apartment complex on the edge of downtown Kingsport. -- November 22, 2019 DonFenley.Com article

Ole Smoky Distillery (Gatlinburg, Tennessee) - bonuses for non-senior management employees, purchasing new equipment, opening a new distillery, hiring new employees:

“We are very supportive of the new tax programs, as they are providing an opportunity for us to further invest in our team and business activities,” said Robert Hall, CEO of Ole Smoky Distillery. “We greatly value all our very talented employees, and are always striving to do what is best for them and the surrounding community. We will be using some of our tax savings to reward many of these hardworking individuals, as well as increasing our investment in new business endeavors. We couldn’t think of a better day to make this announcement.”

The moonshine distillery will be using some of the tax cut savings to provide bonuses for all employees below senior management, proportional to their tenure with the company. Additionally, because of its rapid business growth, the company has created many more jobs, particularly in East Tennessee, and plans to continue that growth by investing further in its Sevier County distilleries and expanding its footprint to Nashville, where it plans to open a 4th distillery and retail/entertainment location in the fall. New equipment has already been installed at the company’s largest distillery, the Holler, in order to expand production capacity. More equipment is on order for its Pittman Center bottling facility to continue the capacity expansion of that facility. - April 17, 2018, Ole Smoky Distillery press release excerpt

Sugarlands Distilling Company (Gatlinburg, Tennessee) – The Craft Beverage Modernization Act – a key part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – helped Sugarlands Distilling Company plan a new 42,000 square foot distillery and barrel house. Sugarland is also investing $2 million in new equipment:

“We’re a small distillery, and this is a huge risk, one that we couldn’t have taken without the Craft Beverage Modernization Act. That’s given us the capital and the confidence that we needed to make a big bet on the future of our company. This month, we are breaking ground on a 42,000 square foot distillery and barrel house. We’re purchasing over $2 million worth of equipment, including one of the biggest pot stills Vendome has ever made. Each year, we’ll be buying almost $3 million pounds of corn and rye, and thousands of handcrafted American Oak barrels to produce our Tennessee whiskey.” -- Ned Vickers, President and CEO of Sugarlands Distilling Company

Sugarlands has a wonderful new video telling the story of the expansion. Here is an excerpt from the video:

“Our business is our passion. But just like every other business, we have our share of challenges. The Craft Beverage Modernization Act has allowed us to plan expansion, buy new equipment, create more jobs, and introduce ourselves to people in new neighborhoods. It means we can continue making an impact felt by all of our families, partners, and friends, for years to come.”

Somera Road Inc. - Houston (Houston, Texas) -- The company is renovating a building to include office space, retail, and restaurants in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A real estate investor from New York City bought a property in the buzzy Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood on Tuesday — with plans to overhaul the industrial building on-site.

Somera Road Inc. now owns the 4.7-acre property at 1414 Fourth Ave. S., immediately south of downtown. The developer is rebranding the building as "WeHo Crossing," with plans to create 60,000 square feet of office space and another 12,500 square feet of retail and restaurant space. The project is set to debut in early 2020.

"There is a dearth of high-quality, creative, immediately available, unique space — similar to what Austin went through three or four years ago," said Ian Ross, managing partner of Somera Road. "We can create that here, rather than some generic steel-and-glass building."

Somera Road's development cranks up Wedgewood-Houston's transformation another notch, coming right on the heels of Apple Music and London-based boutique hotelier SoHo House signing leases for the nearby May Hosiery mixed-use development. (Those developers just revealed plans for another such project in the neighborhood, featuring the iconic guitar-shaped scoreboard from the old Greer Stadium).

Somera Road's purchase also calls fresh attention to the fact that this fast-changing neighborhood lies within an Opportunity Zone. Those zones, created in the federal government's 2017 tax law overhaul, grant investors lucrative tax breaks in order to entice them to back developments or companies located in those traditionally low-income areas. Somera Road's project is the latest in a spurt of local Opportunity Zone dealmaking that has also included the potential relocation of an aerospace manufacturer to North Nashville, apartments in that same part of town and a development in East Nashville.

Ross said he had been evaluating the prospective purchase before the government finalized its list of Opportunity Zones. "It makes a good deal better. It doesn't really help make a bad deal good," Ross said of the tax benefits. "We're not making deals make sense because it's in an Opportunity Zone. But it is really additive to our investors, if the deal works."

Somera Road paid $9.25 million for the land, according to newly filed public records. The company took out a $14.1 million loan, a figure that appears to include funds for construction.

Somera Road bought the land from the entity 4th Avenue South Ventures G.P.

This is Somera Road's first investment in Wedgewood-Houston, after making its local debut by purchasing two buildings in the Gulch from Nashville's Gibson Guitar Corp. Ohio-based entertainment concept Pins Mechanical Co. is moving into one of those buildings. -- April 23, 2019 Nashville Business Journal article

Sugarlands Distilling Company is a maker of many fine moonshines available online or in person in Gatlinburg.

Old Forge Distillery (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee) -- The company said that they plan on using the savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to upgrade equipment and add more employees.

Kris Tatum, president of the Tennessee Distillers Guild and partner/general manager at Old Forge Distillery in Pigeon Forge, said members of the guild are “ecstatic” to save money on taxes and reinvest in their businesses. He said the East Tennessee distillery he manages plans to use the savings to upgrade equipment and potentially add another staff member to help with a new line of spirits. 

“This benefits everyone in the industry. That’s what I think is huge,” Tatum said. “Often tax breaks go to either the big guys or the little guys, but not everybody at one time.” -- February 19, 2018 USA Today article

VITA Development Group (Kodak, Tennessee) -- The company is building a multifamily property in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Walker & Dunlop, Inc. announced today that it arranged a $21,086,700 construction loan for Kodak Crossing in Kodak, Tennessee. The new multifamily property is being developed by longtime client VITA Development Group, Inc., and will be located within the bounds of Sevier County, one of Tennessee's designated opportunity zone census tracts. The transaction represents one of the first opportunity properties financed with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, opportunity zones are a new, nationwide community investment tool that encourages long-term investments in designated low-income areas. Under this program, investors and developers who place unrealized capital gains into dedicated opportunity funds are eligible to receive incentives in the form of lower or deferred capital gains taxes.

Led by Managing Directors Keith Melton and David Strange, Walker & Dunlop arranged the loan through HUD's 221(d)(4) new construction program, which includes both construction and permanent financing in a single loan and mitigates interest rate risk for the developer. The program is also an ideal financing structure to take advantage of opportunity zone benefits, which requires that the developer holds the asset for a minimum of ten years. HUD has also begun prioritizing and offering lower fees for opportunity zone projects. The team worked closely with VITA Development to ensure the terms of the financing were consistent with opportunity zone guidance, securing a two-year construction term followed by a 40-year, fully amortizing, fixed-rate loan. -- June 6, 2019 Contify Banking News article

Ozone Capital (Knoxville, Tennessee) -- The Company announced they are building a housing community that will be located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Ozone Capital Management, LLC and its partners will construct new boutique housing community as part of mixed-use project redeveloping the historic Kerns Bakery site

Investment made as part of the firm's focus on investing in Opportunity Zones, as defined under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Ozone Capital Management, LLC ("OZCM") successfully completed a transformative investment in Knoxville, Tenn. alongside operating partner Mallory & Evans Partners. The investment, made on behalf of and alongside entrepreneurs, institutional investors, family offices, finance executives and technology leaders, will go towards constructing a 160-unit, 310 bed multifamily community at the historic Kerns Bakery Site.

The community is designed to appeal to millennials and members of Generation Z - including young professionals, graduate students, medical students and upper classmen from nearby University of Tennessee. The fully-furnished one- and two-bedroom apartments will have the latest smart-home technology. The two-bedrooms will have roommate floorplans with a private bath for each bedroom. A roommate matching service is available. Amenities will include co-working spaces, a pool, fitness center, a clubhouse, elevators and views of the skyline and greenspace.

Matt Morris, Managing Partner of OZCM stated, "Investing in this project alongside our operating partner, Mallory & Evans Partners, falls right in our firm's strategy of stimulating economic activity and creating jobs, while providing investors with exposure to defensive growth investments appropriate for late-cycle investing in secular growth regions of the country. Despite being a native Californian, I spent formative years living in the Southeast, and we are actively pursuing more successful investments in the region to help fulfill the core missions of the Opportunity Zone initiative."

Ozone Capital Management, LLC. is building a leading alternative asset management firm with Opportunity Zone investing as a core initial focus. Based in Menlo Park, the firm seeks to create jobs and stimulate economic growth, while also protecting and growing investor capital. For additional information, please visit OZCM's website at www.ozcm.io. Please contact the firm at ir@ozcm.io. -- May 30, 2019 press release

Southern Properties LLC (Memphis, Tennessee) -- The company will be building 247 apartment units and 72 single-family homes in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Bob Turner's plan to build a mixed-use community for seniors in Millington vanished with the Great Recession.

But now, with the federal government investing $30 million into a huge park nearby, Turner is planning a development that would include 247 apartments and 72 single-family homes on the same piece of land.

The federal investment comes as part of the $60 million in disaster resiliency funds Shelby County was awarded in 2016. It is meant to prevent a repeat of the floods in 2010 and 2011 that caused $79 million in property damages in Millington, according to the Shelby County Resilience Council.

Though the park project — which will include greenway trails, walking paths, and athletic fields — isn't set be completed until September 2022, Turner said it's already having a major impact.

"When the resilient project came in … you could just feel the change in the town," Turner said. "There’s exciting stuff going on in Millington. … There are several new developments planned."

Turner has sold the single-family lots to builders, who plan to sell the homes for about $200,000.

He is still seeking investors for the garden-style apartments. But, the federal government has also helped him out with this. Turner's project is in an Opportunity Zone, meaning it can provide tax benefits to investors. -- September 24, 2019 Memphis Business Journal article

Agatha (Johnson City, Tennessee) -- An Apple app's office is moving to the city, and will be located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

According to the Mastered in Tennessee website, there are currently four Opportunity Zone projects in the Tri-Cities area. The projects, business type, and value are:

...

Agatha – Johnson City – $200,000. The firm’s Twitter tag describes it as a who-done-it game where you walk (run, etc.) in real life to make progress in the game. -- November 22, 2019 DonFenley.Com article

 

Alpha Capital Partners (Nashville, Tennessee) -- The company is building a 300-unit apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Real estate investors from Pittsburgh and Chicago, buoyed by lucrative new tax breaks, have bought land in North Nashville for a major apartment development.

The 300-unit apartment complex is a fresh example of newcomer money flowing into some of Nashville's lower-income urban areas. The investors are spurred by the federal Opportunity Zone program — which defers, reduces and even potentially eliminates taxes on capital gains tied to those areas.

In a joint venture, Pittsburgh-based Alpha Capital Partners and an affiliate of Chicago's Brierhill Capital are pursuing the apartment development on the vacant 2.7-acre property at 1501 Herman St. The land is located between Fisk University, which used to own it, and Marathon Village, a revitalized former car factory now home to a collection of shops, restaurants and businesses such as Corsair Distillery and Antique Archaeology. The latter is owned by Mike Wolfe of History Channel's "American Pickers."

The Herman Street project is the first in the Opportunity Zone fund that Alpha Capital Partners created last fall (with a target of raising $250 million from investors, according to regulatory filings). The 2017 tax law that President Trump championed created the tax benefit.

In a press release, Alpha Capital touted the project's location relative to Amazon's forthcoming 5,000-job office hub at downtown's Nashville Yards development, seen on the map below.

“The location of this project is a significant win given its proximity to affluent residential neighborhoods and modern retail concepts," said Thomas McGahan, managing director of investments at Alpha Capital.

This appears to be Alpha Capital's debut Nashville development.

Details such as the cost of the development, status of financing and construction timeline weren't immediately clear. Metro approved a zoning change in December to allow for this type of project. Metro records indicate the developers have not yet applied for building permits.

"Alpha’s development and construction teams are up and running with project execution," said Jide Famuagun, CEO of Alpha Capital Partners.

An affiliate of Brierhill Capital paid $4.5 million for the land in February. Company principals include Ben Kriger and Christopher Lefkovitz.

That purchase price is a 50 percent markup from what Nashville developer Richard Bacon, through his company Cottage Partners, paid for the land in mid-2018. Brierhill worked with Bacon to change the zoning for the site beyond buying it from him, Kriger said in an email.

Nashville's Truxton Trust Co. loaned $2.7 million to Brierhill for the land purchase, according to public records. -- April 2, 2019 Nashville Business Journal

Clay Street Commons (Nashville, Tennessee) -- The group is building 60 apartments along with retail space, in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A trio of developers has paid $2.3 million for land in North Nashville, where they aim to build 60 apartments and some retail space.

The group, operating as Clay Street Commons LLC, now owns a pair of roughly 0.56-acre properties on opposite sides of Ninth Avenue North, according to new public records. The land is two blocks from Buchanan Street, home to Slim & Husky's Pizza Beeria, which has become a landmark on what is one of the commercial gateways in the historically black neighborhood.

Steve Armistead, a principal in the development group, estimated the development would cost roughly $12 million. In an interview, he described two buildings that would mirror each other, on 1919 Ninth Ave. N. and 1928 Ninth Ave. N.

"We're looking to hit a price point that works with the local community and also services demand from the workforce in MetroCenter, downtown Nashville and elsewhere," Armistead said. "It brings a little density to that area, but it will be very thoughtfully done."

Armistead is a founding principal at Brentwood-based Armistead Arnold Pollard Real Estate Services LLC. In the 1990s, he was among the first to spot the potential to transform a derelict rail yard into the Gulch, which is today Nashville's most metropolitan urban neighborhood.

Others involved in the development include: Tim Morris, a principal at Academy Development Partners in the Washington, D.C., area, and Jared Bradley, who owns several Nashville companies, including The Bradley Development Group, The Bradley Projects and Certified Construction Services.

The same group is under construction on a 38-unit townhome development at 2400 21st Ave. S., named Linden Row. Unlike that project, the apartment development planned in North Nashville sits in an Opportunity Zone — which makes the developers eligible for unprecedented federal tax breaks in exchange for long-term investments in historically low-income areas.

The Opportunity Zone benefits have drawn a number of new developers into North Nashville. "This is my first time really making a full commitment to North Nashville," Armistead said.

He added that Opportunity Zone tax breaks didn't spark his group's interest. "That is not what's driving this, though it happens to be a part of it," he said. "This was really more driven by creating housing units that fall more toward the 'affordable' range. Opportunity Zones just happen to be a benefit years down the road." -- November 6, 2019 Nashville Business Journal article

 

Atlas Real Estate Partners  (Nashville, Tennessee) -- The real estate company is building a mixed-use space which will include apartments, retail, and office space, located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Details are emerging regarding a mixed-use project two local real estate investors and developers are planning for Wedgewood-Houston, with the three-building development to include 314 residential units and 25,000 square feet of retail and/or office space.
 
Documents submitted on behalf of Nathan Hysmith and Beau Fowler to Metro show two future buildings — one each located on either side of Merritt Avenue — as well as an updated existing structure are being proposed at the site. The existing building (see here) sits to the left of the structure home to Dozen Bakery and Zeitgeist Gallery and to the south of the building that accommodates Nashville Craft Distillery.
 
Fulmer Engineering, EOA Architects, Manuel Zeitlin Architects and S&ME (land surveying) are working on the project. No specific images and no groundbreaking have been released or announced to date.
 
The team will go before the Metro Planning Commission on May 28 to seek final specific plan rezoning approval, the document notes.
 
Hysmith and Fowler, teaming with New York-based Atlas Real Estate Partners, in June 2019 paid approximately $8.76 million for the property, which has addresses of 640 Merritt Ave., 714 Merritt Ave. and 520 Hagan St. That acquisition followed the pair's $4.5 million purchase a week prior of about two acres of property at 700 Hamilton Ave., which sits across railroad tracks from the property on which the mixed-use project is planned.
 
In addition, the ownership group owns a tiny 0.15-acre parcel located at the southwest corner of Hagan and Merritt and for which it paid $750,000 in August 2019, according to Metro records. That parcel is part of the aforementioned mixed-use project.
 
The various properties qualify for tax incentives via the federal opportunity zone program. Truck Center Inc., a used truck and truck parts dealer, operates at 518-520 Hagan. Kerr Brothers and Associates (a general contractor) had operated at the intersection of Hagan and Merritt but has since moved to nearby Chestnut Hill. -- April 16, 2020 Nashville Post article

Ozark Motor Lines (Memphis, Tennessee) – New driver per diem program:

Ozark Motor Lines and Whiteline Express have announced new pay packages for drivers.

Ozark, a family-owned ground transportation services company based in Memphis, Tennessee, said effective June 1 experienced over-the-road and regional drivers will receive 2 cents per mile increase while driving teams will receive an additional 1 cent per mile.

Also, Ozark Motor Lines is rolling out its first-ever driver per diem program to benefit drivers in response to tax law changes that went into effect earlier this year.

“It’s always great to be able to raise pay for our hard-working professional drivers,” said Patrick Landreth, vice president of human resources and safety. “These truck drivers have such an important job, Ozark makes it a priority to reward them for it.” – April 30, 2018 TheTrucker.com article excerpt

HCA Healthcare (Nashville, Tennessee) - New investments in facilities, expansion and technology development, increased employee training programs, employee education benefits, and increased family leave :

For HCA in Nashville, the tax cut means a nearly 30 percent increase, or $2.3 billion more, in capital spending during the next three years that will go to facility improvements, new facilities and greater technology. The company expects the spending to drive growth and add jobs, CEO Milton Johnson said in a conference call this year.

Along with initiating a 35 cent quarterly dividend to reward shareholders, HCA also announced a $300 million investment in the workforce that will go to education programs for nurses and caregivers, tuition reimbursements and scholarships for employees and greater family leave.

"We believe these programs will help improve patient experience and create more career opportunities for our employees," Johnson said in the call. - July 29, 2018, Tennessean article excerpt

Bobrick Washroom Equipment Inc. (Jackson, Tennessee) -- The company used savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to hire more employees:

Bobrick Washroom Equipment, Inc., a manufacturer of restroom accessories for non-residential buildings, is creating new jobs in the U.S. by expanding its toilet partition product line production in Tennessee. This $4.5 million investment in U.S. manufacturing was made possible thanks to the strong economy and competitiveness fostered by tax reform.

In 2018, shortly after the passage of tax reform, Bobrick acquired a competitor based in the United Kingdom. Bobrick has since moved production for the North American product lines to its Jackson, Tenn., facility, where they just completed a 40,000-square-foot expansion.

“Bobrick is a great example of a global company relocating manufacturing from international operations to be closer and more responsive to domestic markets,” said Bobrick President Mark Louchheim. “I’m proud that we’ve been able to do that, especially as we expand.”

Since the beginning of 2017, Bobrick has increased its workforce by more than 30 percent, and the company plans to hire more workers in the coming months.

In addition, Bobrick is investing in its five other North American plants to help them continue to stay on the cutting edge of manufacturing technology.

“We’re truly in a renaissance of manufacturing when it comes to technological advances,” explained Louchheim. “We’ve made significant investments in all of our plants. Robotics and modern technology have made us more efficient than ever as a manufacturer. The increased competitiveness from productivity gains resulted in growth, and not a reduction in our labor force. Therefore, we are not only growing the company, but we’re also developing our workforce with higher-level skills and pay.”

Bobrick’s commitment shows that the future for U.S. manufacturing is bright.

“Tax reform leveled the playing field for manufacturers,” said Chris Netram, the National Association of Manufacturers Vice President of Tax and Domestic Economic Policy. “Bobrick is a great example of what manufacturers have been saying all along. Making our tax code more competitive sets the stage for companies of all shapes and sizes to create jobs, grow the economy and invest in the U.S.”

“The lower corporate tax rate made a huge impact on our ability to continue to invest in this business,” said Louchheim. “We couldn’t be more excited about the good things to come.” -- February 11, 2020 National Association of Manufacturers ShopFloor Blog

Appalachian Highlands Resort (Erwin, Tennessee) -- Resort is being built in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

According to the Mastered in Tennessee website, there are currently four Opportunity Zone projects in the Tri-Cities area. The projects, business type, and value are.

...

Appalachian Highlands Resort – Erwin – $8.8 million. This project is identified as a 20-acre, 871,200 sq. ft.  real estate operating business in the hospitality sector. -- November 22, 2019 DonFenley.Com article

 

Connect Outdoors, Inc. (Johnson City, Tennessee) -- An outdoor technology and analytics business is moving to the city and will be located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

According to the Mastered in Tennessee website, there are currently four Opportunity Zone projects in the Tri-Cities area. The projects, business type, and value are:

...

Connect Outdoors, Inc. – Johnson City – $1 million. This operating business is in the outdoor recreation, technology, and analytics sector. The firm’s website announces itself and an online platform connection user to the outdoors by using data, technology and unique experiences. -- Nov. 22, 2019, DonFenly.Com Article.

Eastman Chemical (Kingsport, Tennessee) - Investing in innovation programs, increased capital expenditures to expand manufacturing:

Kingsport, Tenn.-based Eastman Chemical said it was investing savings in research and development, innovation programs and capital projects to expand manufacturing. - June 29, 2018, Tennessean article excerpt

Dong-A Hwa Sung (Martin, Tennessee) - Building new manufacturing facility with 220 jobs:

“Additionally, in my district, a South Korean manufacturer announced a $13 million investment in Martin, Tennessee, and 220 job opportunities at the company’s first United States-based location.” - May 8, 2018, Rep. David Kustoff statement on House floor

Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee) – $500 bonuses to employees:

As Uncle Sam takes his cut today on those still filing their 2017 taxes, nearly 1,200 employees of Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., are getting a tax-induced bonus today based upon cuts in the 2018 tax rate for the amusement park near the Great Smoky Mountains.

Dollywood hosts who worked at least 1,000 hours last year and are still employed with the amusement park are each getting $500 checks today, thanks to the recent federal tax cuts.

"Dollywood strives to be a great place to work for great people," Dollywood President Craig Ross said in a statement announcing the first-of-the-kind employee bonuses. "We're grateful for the memories our Hosts create for our Guests by working hard every day, and this bonus is just one way we plan to share our appreciation throughout the year." – April 17 2018, Times Free Press article excerpt

TCW Inc. (Nashville, Tennessee) - Purchasing new equipment, increasing wages, growing health insurance plans:

So the fact that we were able to depreciate that equipment we had $1.2 million reduction in our tax bill…we took that 1.2 and invested in wages for our drivers about $3,000 per driver per year that they got as a result of that.

“We also put another $500,000 into our health insurance plans. We took on more of the cost of health insurance. We had the confidence to be able to do that because of these changes that are taking place and because of the economy trucking is booming right now — we have a lot of demand.

“We also invested $20 million in additional equipment so trucks and trailers and chassis…We had a driver that was actually up here last week that said that, you know, this is about $2,300 a year tax savings.But forget the $3,000 raise that he got. $2,300 tax savings in his pocket. What he plans to do that is to save that and take his family on a vacation that he wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise without that.” - April 17, 2018 Tax Talk Roundtable, Dave Manning, President of TCW Inc.

Chattanooga Gas Company (Chattanooga, Tennessee) – The utility will pass along tax cut savings to customers:

During the Conference, the Commissioners voted unanimously to require Atmos Energy Corporation ("Atmos Energy"), Chattanooga Gas Company ("Chattanooga Gas"), Kingsport Power Company d/b/a AEP Appalachian Power ("Kingsport Power"), Piedmont Natural Gas Company ("Piedmont Natural Gas"), and Tennessee American Water Company ("Tennessee American Water"), to immediately apply deferred accounting treatment, specifically described herein, with respect to the impact of the lowering of the federal corporate income tax rate and to require the named public utilities to provide to the Commission no later than March 31, 2018, the amounts deferred and a proposal to reduce rates or otherwise make adjustments to account for the tax benefits resulting from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Pub. L. No. 115-97 ("2017 Tax Act"). – February 6, 2018, Tennessee Public Utility Commission Report excerpt

Piedmont Natural Gas Company (Nashville, Tennessee) - The utility will pass along tax cut savings to customers:

During the Conference, the Commissioners voted unanimously to require Atmos Energy Corporation ("Atmos Energy"), Chattanooga Gas Company ("Chattanooga Gas"), Kingsport Power Company d/b/a AEP Appalachian Power ("Kingsport Power"), Piedmont Natural Gas Company ("Piedmont Natural Gas"), and Tennessee American Water Company ("Tennessee American Water"), to immediately apply deferred accounting treatment, specifically described herein, with respect to the impact of the lowering of the federal corporate income tax rate and to require the named public utilities to provide to the Commission no later than March 31, 2018, the amounts deferred and a proposal to reduce rates or otherwise make adjustments to account for the tax benefits resulting from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Pub. L. No. 115-97 ("2017 Tax Act"). – February 6, 2018, Tennessee Public Utility Commission Report excerpt

Tennessee American Water Company (Chattanooga, Tennessee) - Decreased their water billing rate by more than 3% because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

“State regulators Monday approved rate changes by the Tennessee American Water Co., which should cut the typical water bill by more than 3% and save the average residential water customer in Chattanooga about 84 cents a month, effective immediately. 

The Tennessee Public Utility Commission Monday voted to pass through the Chattanooga water utility's tax savings for the next three years through a 6.6% base rate reduction, which would reduce the average bill for a typical water customer using 4,154 gallons of water a month by $1.43 a month. At the same time, the state regulatory board approved the proposed capital cost recovery plan by Tennessee-American that calls for about a 2.6% increase, or 59 cents more a month, to the same average water bill.” -- August 12, 2019 Chattanooga Times Free Press article

McKee Foods (Collegedale, Tennessee)Up to $1,000 bonuses:

McKee Foods employees came to work Tuesday, April 3, expecting a routine day baking and packaging products such as Little Debbie Chocolate Cupcakes, Donut Sticks and Honeybuns, and were surprised with an unexpected $1,000 cash award for full-time employees and $500 for part-time employees. 

“The recent federal tax legislation will provide benefits to the company and will allow us to invest back into the business," said Mike McKee, president and CEO. "The first thing we thought about was investing in our employees."

The announcement and disbursements of checks coincided with the company’s routine, yearly Spring Report Meetings, where all employees are invited to hear an update on the company from leadership. Attendance is optional and on-the-clock.

“We decided to keep this a tightly-guarded secret to make it more fun and impactful,” said Debbie McKee-Fowler, executive vice president. “Except for our September Profit-Sharing Meetings, this is about the most fun I’ve had at work in my entire career.” Ms. McKee-Fowler and other members of the McKee family helped pass out checks. Some employees were puzzled when members of the Payroll Department showed up to help pass out T-shirts, but in general the secret was well-kept and well-guarded, said officials.

McKee Foods employees received a one-time lump some cash award of $1,000 for all full-time, regular employees; $500 for all part-time, regular employees; and, $250 for all spare, limited, and provisional employees, who were employed on or before Friday, March 23.

Employees were very happy with the surprise. Comments ranged from, “I had some unexpected things happen last week that had me strapped; this will help a lot.” To simply, “Thank you.”– April 12, 2018 Chattanoogan.com news article excerpt

Advance Financial (Nashville, Tennessee) – increase in 401(k) match; increase in profit sharing; increase in charitable donations:

“Because we believed the new administration was committed to doing what it takes to get America’s economy back on track, we are already ahead of the curve this year in terms of capital investments. We dramatically sped up our plans to open new locations – we’re opening the 85th one this morning in Jackson – and hire more employees – we are bringing on 100 new people in January. We have also exponentially expanded our reach outside of Tennessee. In 2017, for the first time, we began offering our services outside the state via the Internet and today we are in 10 states other than Tennessee.“ – Tina Hodges, CEO and chief experience officer for Advance Financial, in a Jan. 5, 2018 Advance Financial press release

FedEx (Memphis, Tennessee) – commits more than $3.2 billion in wage increases, bonuses, pension funding due to the recent tax cuts. Pay raises, bonus increases, pension plan increases, and at least $1.5 billion in capital expenditures:

“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.

The company has made no change to its fiscal 2018 earnings or capital expenditure guidance as issued on December 19, 2017 as a result of these actions.” – Jan. 26 2018, FedEx press release

First Horizon National Corp. (Memphis, Tennessee) – $1,000 bonuses to 4,000 employees:

“And as a result of this outstanding performance and because of recent tax reform efforts that we believe will benefit First Horizon, we are happy to offer bonuses to our people who work hard every day to maintain First Horizon’s reputation as one of the best companies to work for and one of the most trusted banks in the country.” – First Horizon National Corp. press release

Spectrum Adhesives, Inc. (Memphis, Tennessee) -- $500 tax reform bonuses for employees.

Unum (Chattanooga, Tennessee) – base wage raise to $15 a hour, creation of paid parental leave, additional $1 million in charitable contributions:

“On the heels of announcing record financial results for 2017, Unum (NYSE: UNM) today said, in addition to the existing all-employee annual bonus program, it is investing in its people and communities with a new paid parental leave benefit for both mothers and fathers in the U.S.; enhancements to the compensation program so that all U.S. employees earn at least $15 an hour; and an additional $1 million in charitable contributions this year in support of the communities where Unum employees live and work.” – Feb. 1 2018, Unum press release excerpt  

Home Depot -- 39 locations in Tennessee, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's -- 8,000 employees at 60 stores and three distribution centers in Tennessee. 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.

Apple (Apple store locations in Nashville, Knoxville, Franklin, Germantown) -- $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.

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 5,520 Tennessee 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

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

Cintas Corporation (Multiple locations in Tennessee) -- $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 Tennessee) – Bonuses ranging from $250 to $1,000; increased employee benefits; nationally, $50 million investment in existing restaurants.

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

Ryder -- (Sixteen locations in Tennessee) – Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Starbucks Coffee Company (180 locations in Tennessee) – $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 Tennessee) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.

Walmart – Tennesseans at 139 Walmart locations 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.​

McDonald’s (390+ locations in Tennessee) – 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 – 18 locations in Tennessee; 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 Tennessee 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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