How the Trump Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Texas

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, February 26th, 2020, 6:30 PM PERMALINK

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

2,071,160 Texas households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

Every income group in every Texas 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.

9,243,880 Texas 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.

559,420 Texas 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, Texas residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, CenterPoint Energy, Quadvest Utilites, Entergy Texas, El Paso Electric Company, and Oncor Electric Delivery (see below) were all able to pass along their tax savings to customers in the form of lower rates and fees. 

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

Cox Manufacturing (San Antonio, Texas) -- The company is hiring new employees and speeding up new facility construction:

For Cox, those savings may give the manufacturer some much-needed relief as it adds staff and equipment necessary to handle the increased orders the company’s been receiving over the last month or so, President Bill Cox said.

“The biggest benefit I think is not the tax savings, but the activity that’s going on. It’s just like crazy,” said Cox, whose company employs 150 and makes machined and other parts. “I had some older machines that we wanted to phase out and I just couldn’t believe how quickly they sold. I’m getting pressure to release them sooner than I wanted to.”

Demand has picked up dramatically since the bill was signed into law, he said. His backlog of orders has grown from six to eight weeks in December to 10 to 12 weeks now, and he’s having to move up construction of a new 8,000-square-foot manufacturing plant by at least a year in order to meet the growth.

“We needed it yesterday,” he said of the new facility.

Cox said his backlog of orders is starting to cost him work. The new factory and equipment — which he hopes to bring online this year — will cost at least $1.5 million, create 15 jobs and would add to his 54,000 square feet of existing manufacturing space. - February 7, 2018, San Antonio Express News article excerpt

Capital City Hospitality Group (Austin, Texas) – Hired over 50 employees as result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

“I’m a big promoter of the tax reform, and I think it’s working,” said Round Rock hotel company owner Hitesh Patel.

“Patel, chief executive of Capital City Hospitality Group and immediate past chairman of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, said the 2017 tax law’s provisions on exchanges of real estate have helped his company expand by more than 50 employees.” – Aug. 29, 2019 Dallas Morning News article

Village Foods & Pharmacy (Bryan, Texas) - employee bonuses, implement a 401(k) program:

Village Foods & Pharmacy Said They Were Able To Provide Employee Bonuses And Implement A 401(k) Program. - US Chamber of Commerce

Home Instead Senior Care -- Samuel and Brandy Patton, franchise owners  (El Paso, Texas) – As noted by the International Franchise Association, tax savings will help the Pattons achieve their goal of hiring 50 people in 2018:

“We fully plan on hiring more employees,” said Samuel Patton, who owns a Home Instead Senior Care franchise with his wife, Brandy, in El Paso, Texas. They’ve set a goal of hiring 50 people in 2018. “This tremendously helps with that endeavor as this money will assist with prerequisite items such as training, drug screens and background checks,” he said of the tax savings. “We will spend more money on advertising in our local community as well as increase training programs for current employees,” Patton added. – April 17, 2018 International Franchise Association report.  (The IFA has a growing list of franchisees who have pledged to hire additional workers, raise wages, purchase new equipment, or expand territories/purchase new franchise locations due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.)

Camp Construction Services (Houston, Texas) – This Houston-based full-service general contractor awarded its employees $500 tax reform bonuses in December 2017:

In a note to employees, CEO Roger C. Camp wrote:

              Campers,

I’m sure you have heard of the new tax reform that Congress just passed. Because of the reduction in Corporate taxes we, as will all businesses, benefit from this tax cut. We believe that YOU are the reason for our success. And now that we will be giving less of our hard earned income to the federal government, we can share some of it with you. Please look for a $500 “tax cut” bonus in your next payroll run. Merry Christmas!

One Coastal Bend (Corpus Christi, Texas) – The tax cut allowed the brewery to create new jobs and buy more equipment:

One Coastal Bend craft beer brewer is breathing a sigh of relief after Congress decided to extend a federal tax cut.

Nueces Brewing Company, co-owned by Brandon Harper, opened back in June with help from the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. The Reform Act allows breweries a cut in the amount of taxes paid on the first 100,000 proof gallons. A temporary excise tax cut was set to expire on Dec. 31.

Harper said Congress agreed to extend it for another year. Harper will continue to be taxed $7 on every barrel of beer he produces instead of $14.

"The last thing we want to have to do is to raise our prices. We want to be able to keep operating, provide great beer at affordable prices. It's hard for us to compete with the big boys," Harper said.

According to Harper, thanks to that tax cut he can now buy more equipment and hire more people. – Dec. 17, 2019, KIIITV article.

Motiva Enterprises (Beaumont, Texas) -- The company is building offices in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A $150 million investment planned for downtown Port Arthur from petrochemical giant Motiva Enterprises could be the largest of its kind and spark a "rebirth" of the town ravaged by Tropical Storm Harvey in 2017, officials said.

At a Thursday evening ceremony to formally announce the company's plans to purchase and renovate at least three buildings and move employees into the long-neglected city center, Motiva executive Travis Capps said there's "a lot of stuff" under consideration but that getting the buildings up and running is the priority.

He doesn't mind the swirling rumors that Motiva might bring more activity.

"I love all the rumors," he said. " … The rumors are great because they'll encourage other developers to come down and do stuff, too."

Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Pat Avery gushed to a crowd of about 450 residents, elected officials, public servants and Motiva executives and employees that, "For Port Arthur, Motiva is the artist."

The event also included comments from the mayor and a song about downtown Port Arthur from resident Dwight Wagner. May 16 was also deemed, "Imagine Port Arthur Day."

Port Arthur City Manager Derrick Freeman earlier this year called Motiva's planned purchase of the Hotel Sabine from the city earlier this year as part of its in-lieu-of-taxes agreement a "done deal."

But Thursday's ceremony focused on two other buildings the company has purchased — the Adams and Federal buildings at 440 and 500 Austin Ave., respectively.

The company plans to use the first building for short-term corporate lodging with some retail on the bottom floors.

The latter two buildings will ultimately house 500 office workers and help the company get rid of 220 trailers at the plant that many of them currently work in.

"So now as we look forward to the next decades, and what we need to house our offices and our employees, these buildings were staring at us. I see the refinery right up the street," Capps said. "We need about offices for 500 people, and that's what these two buildings can do. It's pretty straight-forward, from my perspective."

He denied rumors that the company plans to purchase still more buildings downtown.

Even without the purchase of additional buildings, the planned investment of $150 million downtown is one of the largest in an opportunity zone in the United States, Freeman said. -- May 9, 2019 Beaumont Enterprise article

 

Mathias Partners (Austin, Texas) -- The company, along with other groups, is building apartment units in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A group of Austin-based investors and developers wants to build high-rises in East Nashville, as part of a development that could involve as many as 1,400 residential units.

Those details are revealed in newly filed plans with Metro for a project named "Skyline East." The proposed development would easily rank among the most ambitious and wide-ranging projects attempted in East Nashville, which is historically known for its residential neighborhoods.

Austin-based Mathias Partners, which most recently helped bring The Tyndall condo project online in downtown Austin, is among the members of the development group, as disclosed in Metro documents. Riverchase Holdings LP, a legal entity that is registered to Mathias Partners, records show, paid $11.2 million for the land in 2017.

Skyline East is another example of how commercial development is starting to spread beyond traditional spots such as the Five Points district. The project would encompass 14.5 acres partly along Dickerson Pike, in the McFerrin Park neighborhood (not far from the latest concept from one of Nashville's highest-profile chefs), and across Interstate 24 from the massive River North mixed-use development site.

The land sits within a federal Opportunity Zone, areas that offer big tax breaks for real estate investors.

The proposal before Metro would involve buildings between six and 15 stories tall, which is permissible under Metro regulations. The plans suggest Skyline East could involve up to 1,400 residential units and as much as 500,000 square feet of other commercial space or parking.

The property is currently home to 212 apartments and townhomes, some of which involve Section 8 vouchers for low-income renters. A Salvation Army store sits adjacent to the project site.

The team behind Skyline East has retained Nashville's Smith Gee Studio to design the project.

“Riverchase Holdings LLC is excited to be part of the planning and revitalization of the Dickerson Pike corridor and East Nashville community," said Scott Morton, an associate at that firm, in an emailed statement on behalf of the group. "The 15-acre site is located at the 'gateway' to Dickerson Pike and is well positioned to set the tone for quality redevelopment on the corridor." -- May 3, 2019 Austin Business Journal article

Larkspur Capital Partners (Dallas, Texas) -- The company is building a apartment complex located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

 
Builders who have done a series of successful East Dallas projects are headed to north Oak Cliff with a new development. Larkspur Capital Partners is building an apartment community at 1100 N. Zang Blvd., near Lake Cliff Park. The five-story rental project at the intersection of Zang and Beckley Avenue will have 71 units. The building was designed by Dallas architect Omniplan. “Construction will start in May and take 18 months,” Larkspur Capital’s Carl Anderson said. “It will feature amenities including a pool, coworking space, a gym, a dog wash, a resident bicycle repair shop, a dedicated Uber loading zone and electric vehicle charging.” “Additionally, there will be live-work units that front Zang Boulevard,” Anderson said. “These units are double volume height spaces that feature a work area below with mezzanine bedroom space above.” He said the units are a response to tenant demand for work-at-home spaces.
 
“These will be some of the first true live-work units under the city’s new form-based zoning ordinance,” Anderson said. “Moreover, the project is in a Qualified Opportunity Zone and will be one of the first development projects in Dallas to take advantage of this compelling new program.” Larkspur Capital has built several successful East Dallas townhouse projects. The developer is also renovating the former Faulkner Tower office building in Lakewood. In addition, Larkspur has other projects in the works, including a 60-unit multifamily project on Henderson Avenue in East Dallas and a 250-unit, seven-story mixed-use project along the Santa Fe Trail on the eastern edge of Dallas’ Deep Ellum district. -- March 21, 2020 Dallas Morning News article

Harris Bay (San Antonio, Texas) -- The company is building a hotel in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

California developer Harris Bay plans to build a 112-room boutique hotel on a River Walk-adjacent property it bought in April, its co-founder said Monday.

The company purchased the 0.2-acre lot at 151 E. Travis St. - valued this year at more than $2 million - on April 29 from Florida-based Seaside Hospitality Corp. Last year, Seaside Hospitality backed out of plans to build a 100-room boutique hotel on the site.

Now, Harris Bay wants to take a crack at developing its own "lifestyle boutique hotel" there.

In addition to hotel rooms, the proposed eight-floor development will feature a rooftop bar, restaurant and retail, Harris Bay co-founder Jake Harris said in an email. Harris Bay is in negotiations with companies to manage and operate the hotel, Harris said.

Harris Bay considered a residential development on the property. But the site's small acreage, height limitations along the River Walk and lack of parking, along with rising construction costs and land prices, made the hotel a more financially viable option, Harris said.

The developer also noted that boutique hotels "are underrepresented in one of the top tourism cities of the world."

Harris Bay plans to break ground on the project, called the Artista, later this year, Harris said.

The California firm will likely get a sizable tax break, created by President Donald Trump's $1.5 trillion tax bill in 2017.

The site sits inside a federal "opportunity zone" that covers much of downtown, one of two dozen such zones in the San Antonio area.

The Republican tax bill and the U.S. Treasury Department established opportunity zones - areas with slow economic growth where investors can reap tax breaks on capital gains if they plug that capital into long-term investments.

The land's location in an opportunity zone "was a significant factor" in Harris Bay's decision to buy the site, Harris said.

Harris Bay formed an opportunity zone fund called IconicOZ Artista Fund and used it to buy the property. The firm took out a $2.2 million mortgage to purchase the land, property records show. -- May 21, 2019 San Antonio Express-News article

Baker Hotel and Spa (Weatherford, Texas) -- The hotel's designation in an Opportunity Zone helped spur a renovation project at the hotel:

If you were among those who thought renovation of the long-closed, deteriorating and often vandalized Baker Hotel would never happen - one of the project's development leaders was admittedly right there with you at times.

"Hell, I was a naysayer for a period of time," Laird Fairchild told the Mineral Wells Index in a special interview Tuesday inside the lobby of the hotel that by early Thursday afternoon should be in the hands of Baker Hotel Holdings LP.

...

"The resurrection of The Baker would not be possible without the overwhelming support of the citizens of Mineral Wells," said Patton, also in a press release. "From the start, they have been very vocal in their belief that this project would be a cornerstone in the redevelopment of downtown. The City government worked tirelessly with our team to put in place a public-private partnership that made sense for everyone. We also must thank Governor Abbott for designating this project and a majority of downtown Mineral Wells as an Opportunity Zone. That designation was the linchpin that helped pull all this together and make this long-term investment possible. This project is a substantial commitment that greatly enhances the renaissance of this wonderful city." -- June 20, 2019 The Weatherford Democrat article

 

Knight Aerospace (San Antonio, Texas) -- The company is relocating to an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

San Antonio-based Knight Aerospace is moving down the road to Port San Antonio, the redeveloped Kelly Air Force Base on the city's Southwest Side, and hiring more people.

The company, currently located at 1119 S. Acme Rd., manufactures medical modules for airplanes. The components serve as emergency rooms and intensive care units that can be quickly rolled into planes.

Knight also makes VIP units to transport high-profile passengers and seating systems, and provides upgrading and refurbishment services.

On ExpressNews.com: Tech event arena, co-working space envisioned for Port San Antonio

The company was being courted by cities inside and outside Texas, said Jim Perschbach, Port San Antonio's president and CEO. The port has a long-standing relationship with Knight, and the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation helped, he said.

The move is "another huge win for San Antonio, as we're retaining and growing an important player in one of our key industry sectors," said Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, the foundation's CEO, in a statement.

Knight's history in San Antonio and the proximity to military and medical organizations prompted the company to stay, said president and CEO Bianca Rhodes. The company was founded in San Antonio in 1992.

Later this year, Knight will move into an 80,000-square-foot space at 3604 S.W. 36th St. at the Port, where it will have areas for fabrication, design, research and development and offices.

With several large contracts in the pipeline and more demand for its products, Knight is also looking to expand its workforce. The company has 57 employees and expects to have 100 at the port by the end of 2020.

On ExpressNews.com: San Antonio's aerospace industry has lost jobs but may be rebounding

The move gives Knight access to the port's industrial airport at Kelly Field, allowing the company to use the runway to have customers pick up products, Rhodes said. It also provides proximity to customers such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and StandardAero.

There are some tax and regulatory benefits to moving to the port. The real property owned by the port is not taxed, and Knight will be housed in a building owned by the Port, Perschbach said. Companies' personal property, such as their equipment and inventory, is taxable and they also pay sales and other taxes.

Knight is not seeking any city or county incentives, Rhodes said.

On ExpressNews.com: San Antonio lands Texas' first 'opportunity zone' investment under Trump tax bill

The campus is also a federally-designated "opportunity zone," which refers to economically disadvantaged areas where investors can put their funds in long-term investments in exchange for reduced or eliminated capital-gains tax burden.

In April, the U.S. Treasury Department named 24 census tracts in the San Antonio area as opportunity zones.

Knight is the first company at the port to specialize in their particular area, with the modules, Perschbach said. The products increase a plane's value, and the port wants to "offer nose to tail solutions," he added. -- May 15, 2019 San Antonio Express-News article

Indus Management Group (Houston, Texas) -- The management group is building an apartment complex that is located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Houston-based Indus Management Group purchased Mark VI, a 144-unit apartment complex at 5606 Bissonnet. JLL's Joey Rippel, Chris Young and Bailey Crowell marketed the property for the seller, AK Interests, and procured the buyer.

Located on four acres just west of Chimney Rock near Bellaire, the 1970s-era complex will be renovated and rebranded by the new owner. The units, of which 59 percent are unrenovated and 41 percent are partially renovated, average 887 square feet.

"We are excited to uplift another community in the area by introducing The Atrium at 5606, formerly known as Mark VI Apartments," Manu Gupta, managing director of Indus Management Group said in an announcement. "This will be our fourth acquisition in the submarket."

Mark VI is zoned to Bellaire High School. Amenities include a swimming pool, six landscaped courtyards, on-site laundry facilities and covered parking. The property is in a Qualified Opportunity Zone, meaning investors who make improvements can get tax benefits as part of a federal program designed to spur economic development. -- October 14, 2019 Houston Chronicle article

Americus OST LLC (Houston, Texas) -- The company is building a medical campus in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Former Houston Rockets player Hakeem Olajuwon and local real estate investor John Ballis have sold a 4.64-acre site near the Texas Medical Center to a local developer, according to a press release from Houston-based Transwestern.

Transwestern Commercial Services has been hired to advise the new owner on its plans to develop a mixed-use project at the site, 1990 Old Spanish Trail, per the release. TCS Vice President Robby Winston is providing advisory services for the new owner, an entity called Americus OST LLC. Houston developer Andrew Schatte is the principal of Americus OST.

John Ballis Jr. represented both the buyer and the seller in the land deal, which closed in March, according to Harris County records.

“The new owner is looking to create a mixed-use development that would complement the highly respected health care, educational and research institutions that are adjacent to the site,” Winston said in the release. “As one of the last undeveloped parcels in the Texas Medical Center, this site presents the unique opportunity to bring additional supportive capacity to this rapidly growing innovation district. Our property will enhance those larger master plans taking shape.”

Transwestern also is serving as development manager for the TMC3 project, which is scheduled to break ground by the end of the year and be complete in 2022. The Americus OST site is next to the 37-acre TMC3 site. The new TMC3 campus alone is expected to have a $5.2 billion impact on the city of Houston and create a projected 30,000 new jobs, the Houston Business Journal previously reported.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to work with the Texas Medical Center and member organizations in developing this property in keeping with the master plan of the TMC3,” Schatte said in the release.

The Americus OST site also is located in a designated Opportunity Zone, which makes it eligible for significantly reduced capital gains taxes if certain federal requirements are met. Click here to read HBJ’s cover story about Opportunity Zones. -- June 12, 2019 Houston Business Journal article

 

MAN Energy Solutions (Brookshire, Texas) -- The energy solutions company has opened its North American headquarters in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

MAN Energy Solutions has opened its North American headquarters in The Uplands at Twinwood, a 400-acre business park being developed in Brookshire, about 35 miles west of downtown Houston.

The Germany-based manufacturer is the first company to move into the new business park, at 1758 Twinwood Parkway, south of Interstate 10 near Woods Road. The company employs 140 workers at the building, which consolidates former operations in Houston and Deer Park.

MAN Energy Solutions manufactures engines for marine propulsion and power generation and turbomachinery for oil and gas, petrochemical and industrial applications.

Houston-based KDW designed and built the 137,434-square-foot headquarters facility, which is owned by Houston-based Welcome Group.

"We're certainly anticipating strong interest in Twinwood from other global companies looking to establish or expand their North American presence," Welcome Group Chief Executive Welcome Wilson Jr. said in an announcement. "We are pleased to add this project to our 4 million-square-foot portfolio of single-tenant industrial and office facilities."

The Uplands at Twinwood lies within a designated Opportunity Zone, a federal economic development tool where new investments that meet certain criteria may be eligible for tax breaks. -- May 31, 2019 Houston Chronicle article

Central Southwest Development LLC (Dallas, Texas) -- The company is building a storage unit in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

One of Dallas’ first Opportunity Zone developments will be a new self-storage center west of downtown Dallas.

Central Southwest Texas Development LLC is building the project on Lone Star Drive near Interstate 30 in West Dallas. The 141,950-square-foot self-storage center will be on a 2.4-acre site that is in one of the more than a dozen federally designated Dallas Opportunity Zones that qualify for special tax breaks.

New businesses and investments in the targeted census tracts get deferred capital gains and other beneficial tax treatment. -- November 13, 2019 Dallas Morning News article

Starwood Capital Group (Austin, Texas) -- The company is building an apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Starwood Capital Group, a global private investment firm focused on real estate and energy investments, has announced that a controlled affiliate has reached an agreement to acquire and develop a 342-unit garden-style multifamily project in East Austin, Texas, the company said.

Starwood expects to complete the Opportunity Zone development by Spring 2020.

East Austin is one of Austin's fastest growing submarkets and, with significant recent development driven by an influx of young professionals, has transformed into one of the region's most desirable neighborhoods. Centrally located at 500 US Highway 183 S., within close proximity to Austin's central business district (CBD), entertainment district and international airport, the development is one of the few sites in East Austin that can accommodate garden-style apartments, which mimic single-family living and are in high demand from prospective tenants.

The project's amenities will include a club house, fitness center and pool with cabanas, and units will feature quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances. -- June 28, 2019 Starwood Capital Group press release

Americus OST LLC (Houston, Texas) -- The company is building a medical campus in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Former Houston Rockets player Hakeem Olajuwon and local real estate investor John Ballis have sold a 4.64-acre site near the Texas Medical Center to a local developer, according to a press release from Houston-based Transwestern.

Transwestern Commercial Services has been hired to advise the new owner on its plans to develop a mixed-use project at the site, 1990 Old Spanish Trail, per the release. TCS Vice President Robby Winston is providing advisory services for the new owner, an entity called Americus OST LLC. Houston developer Andrew Schatte is the principal of Americus OST.

John Ballis Jr. represented both the buyer and the seller in the land deal, which closed in March, according to Harris County records.

“The new owner is looking to create a mixed-use development that would complement the highly respected health care, educational and research institutions that are adjacent to the site,” Winston said in the release. “As one of the last undeveloped parcels in the Texas Medical Center, this site presents the unique opportunity to bring additional supportive capacity to this rapidly growing innovation district. Our property will enhance those larger master plans taking shape.”

Transwestern also is serving as development manager for the TMC3 project, which is scheduled to break ground by the end of the year and be complete in 2022. The Americus OST site is next to the 37-acre TMC3 site. The new TMC3 campus alone is expected to have a $5.2 billion impact on the city of Houston and create a projected 30,000 new jobs, the Houston Business Journal previously reported.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to work with the Texas Medical Center and member organizations in developing this property in keeping with the master plan of the TMC3,” Schatte said in the release.

The Americus OST site also is located in a designated Opportunity Zone, which makes it eligible for significantly reduced capital gains taxes if certain federal requirements are met. Click here to read HBJ’s cover story about Opportunity Zones. -- June 12, 2019 Houston Business Journal article

Dripping Springs Distilling (Dripping Springs, Texas) -- The owner says he was able to use savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to hire new employees, invest in new equipment, and break ground on a new visitors center:

These tax savings have enabled Texas craft distillers to expand our businesses by hiring more employees, investing in new equipment and purchasing more from Texas agricultural suppliers. At Dripping Springs Distilling, which I co-founded, in addition to creating new jobs, we were able to break ground on a new visitors center, where we hosted 15,000 visitors last year.

 Gary Kelleher is co-founder of Dripping Springs Distilling. -- Nov. 29, 2019 My San Antonio

School of Science and Technology — Alamo campus (San Antonio, Texas) -- The charter school is expanding with a new location in Opportunity Zones created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Down the road will soon be a new School of Science and Technology — Alamo campus, according to Casey Development Ltd. The company and its construction arm Baxter Contracting LLC have broken ground on a 67,000-square-foot facility at the corner of North Weidner Road and Crosswinds Way, which will replace the current campus at 12200 Crownpoint Drive. Upon move-in, the campus will accommodate students from kindergarten through eighth grade and will eventually expand to high school. At full capacity, the campus will hold up to 700 students. The current campus holds 400.

Nancy Thompson, director of community outreach and communications for the School of Science and Technology, expects the new campus to be ready by Thanksgiving break of this year or no later than winter break. San Antonio is home to four of its campuses. Over the next five years, the school plans to add four more local campuses and 10 more statewide.

The project represents Casey Development's first venture into Opportunity Zone development. The company expects to continue developing within the Northeast San Antonio Opportunity Zone, with multifamily, retail and self-storage projects. -- June 12, 2019 San Antonio Business Journal article

Saxum Real Estate (Austin, Texas) -- A mixed use development is being built in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

A more than 60,000 square foot mixed-use development is under construction at 1141 Shady Lane and expected to be completed sometime in mid- to late 2020. 

The development is one of many going up in East Austin just off of Airport Boulevard. 

Some people who live near Shady Lane say the neighborhoods in the area have drastically changed over the years. 

...

This project sits in one of Austin's opportunity zones, which are part of a federal tax incentive provision that encourages investors to re-invest capital gains into Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds. The Opportunity Zone tax provision is not administered by the City of Austin. 

“I believe it actually benefits a whole spectrum of individuals," said Anthony Rinaldi, the founder and managing principal of Saxum Real Estate. -- Nov. 3, 2019 KVUE article

 

Studio LP (Austin, Texas) -- Developers are building office space in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A year after it was first discussed publicly, a 62,000-square-foot creative office in East Austin is close to breaking ground — and the developers claim it will be the city’s first ground-up development to use a qualified opportunity fund, a widely watched but little understood federal program designed to spur investment in low-income areas.

...

Construction on the office building at 1141 Shady Lane in the ThinkEast master-planned development is set to start in July.

A modern, three-story building designed by architecture firm Bercy Chen Studio LP will be the focal point of the development from Austin-based PlaceMKR and New Jersey-based Saxum Real Estate.

A 1920s-era house reminiscent of the bungalows on Rainey Street sits next to the office building and will be preserved — and then renovated and turned into a restaurant. There will also be a 9,000-square-foot outdoor courtyard around the property, according to brokerage firm Newmark Knight Frank, who represented the buyers in the transaction.

Newmark Knight Frank Senior Managing Director Jesse Weber and Director Joshua LaFico will exclusively lease the new development.

“This is an extremely beneficial project for the progress of East Austin,” Weber said.

Opportunity zones were designed to spur investment in low-income census tracts. They also offer significant tax cuts and deferrals for those who invest in projects in the zones — up to 15 percent of capital gains invested can be exempted from taxes, if investors keep their money in the zone for at least seven years. Read more about the rules here.

It’s not just the real estate investors that will receive tax benefits from investing in 1141 Shady Lane. Tenants of the new building, especially startups raising capital, could be eligible for benefits as long as most of their assets and gross income is derived from that location in the opportunity zone — and if their backers’ investment comes from capital gains. -- June 20, 2019 Austin Business Journal article

River City Capital Partners (Austin, Texas) -- The company is building apartments and commercial developments in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

The opportunity zone specialists at River City Capital Partners LLC have closed on a new acquisition in Northeast Austin near major employers and budding neighborhoods.

The 69-acre opportunity zone tract is located on undeveloped land at the intersection of East Yager Lane and East Parmer Lane, just a stone's throw away from Samsung Austin Semiconductor's massive campus. The parcel is also near Shops at Tech Ridge, a 519,354-square-foot shopping center home to major retail tenants, while Reger Holdings LLC is planning a major mixed-use development of its own in close proximity. It's also near the growing Parmer Austin business park that's already home to companies such as General Motors and Facebook.

River City Capital Partners navigated the COVID-19 pandemic to close on the property in early April. The firm declined to disclose the purchase price, but the property was valued for tax purposes at $4,085,893 in 2020, according to Travis Central Appraisal District.

"It’s an opportunity zone tract that is still in close proximity to major employers," said Peter Kehle, CEO of River City Capital Partners. "That’s kind of the main driver for us in what we were looking for, and that’s what we have there.”

Kehle declined to say who River City Capital Partners bought the site from, though TCAD's website still lists the owner as a trustee for J. Tim Brown.

River City Capital Partners plans to develop three distinct elements on the site: multifamily market rate apartments, income-restricted units and a separate commercial development.

Because the site is located in a federally designated opportunity zone — part of an investment program created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — investors in the development can qualify for a variety of perks. That includes significant tax cuts and delays for those who funnel money into opportunity zone projects; up to 15 percent of capital gains invested can be exempted from taxes, if investors keep it in the zone for at least seven years.

Kehle and River City Capital Partners President Cory Older have become something of opportunity zone experts since realizing that a property they were developing in East Riverside was located on the edge of federal opportunity zone. A mixed-use project called Urban East is currently in the works there; it's set to feature 111,000 square feet of office space, about 20,000 square feet of retail and 384 apartments units spread across two buildings.

Urban East was supposed to break ground in early 2020 but that has been delayed due to COVID-19, Kehle said.

Closing a deal during a pandemic

It wasn’t easy for River City Capital Partners to close on its latest opportunity zone development site.

The effort proved cumbersome as the COVID-19 pandemic raged, with extra steps and safety precautions shoehorned into the process at nearly every step.

“Fortunately for the real estate industry, title companies were from the very beginning considered an essential business," Kehle said. “Now, getting to the title company, what would normally be a one-day process turned into a four or five-day process.”

Part of the problem was getting together at one time all of the key players: the buyer, the buyer’s attorney, the seller, the seller’s attorney and the title company. Communications were naturally slowed as all parties acclimated themselves to operating out of home offices.

The process only grew more surreal once it was time to close the deal; Kehle recalls that visitors were allowed inside the title company, Stewart Title of Austin, by appointment only. Even then, the doors were locked upon arrival. Someone came out and wiped down the exterior door handles before anyone entered.

"At the closing table it was made a point to say, 'Here's a fresh pen,'" Kehle recalled.

Kehle described the process as a hectic experience.

“You’ve got minimal staff, but you’ve still got all these deals that are moving forward, and less staff to do the work," he said. "So they were really putting in some hours.”

Moving forward, the tract will have to subdivided and a traffic impact analysis will have to be conducted. Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Kehle estimated it will be at least a year before any construction begins at the site.

The impact of COVID-19

Kehle predicted that real estate will become an increasingly popular investment vehicle as the COVID-19 drags on.

“Generally, people are looking at the money printing that is going to be going on out of the Fed. There will be schools of thought out there that it will eventually become inflationary," Kehle said. "That same school of thought leads people to real estate investing.”

“Money was looking for a reason to get out of the market … and this was a reason," Kehle said.

Because opportunity zone regulations require capital gains investments to unlock the full tax benefits, there is reason to believe money pulled out of the markets could find itself in opportunity zone projects.

“The road is leading to an increased interest in real estate investing," Kehle said. “Yes, that could end up finding its way into these opportunity zone projects.”

Of course, River City Capital Partners isn't the only real estate firm looking to take advantage of opportunity zone benefits. Kehle knows he will continue facing competition for those investments.

“There’s been a lot of money flowing into Opportunity Zone funds, and we try to know who those pools of money are," he said. "But it seems on a regular basis we keep coming across pools of money that we didn’t know were even there. Their names aren’t in neon lights.” -- April 20, 2020 Austin Business Journal article

CenterPoint Energy (Houston, Texas) - The utility is passing on tax savings to customers:

CenterPoint Energy, the largest natural gas utility in the state with more than 400,000 customers, has proposed to reduce its rates by $19.2 million beginning in October.

CenterPoint filed the request with the Arkansas Public Service Commission on Friday in response to an order by the commission to reduce rates as a result of the federal tax law change passed in December. Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

If the commission approves the lowered rate, Houston-based CenterPoint's rates would drop 9.5 percent on bills from October to January and 7.3 percent in January. For a customer with a bill of $100, it would fall to $90.50 under the first scenario and to $92.70 under the second scenario.

"Tax reform is a win for customers and reduced costs are being returned to them through various mechanisms or rate proceedings within each of our operating jurisdictions," said Alicia Dixon, CenterPoint's spokesman. – August 28, 2018, Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette article excerpt

Cannon Inc. (Dallas, Texas) – The company was able to create new jobs and invest in new equipment because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

But many small businesses who file as pass-through entities will qualify for at least some additional deduction. The change will help businesses build a cushion to weather slow periods and financial crises, said Greg Brown, the president of Cannon, Inc., a Texas wholesale distributor for storage equipment like warehouse shelving and conveyor belts. 

“It just seems like you never quite have enough money in the bank for a downturn,” said Brown, who employs 30 people, five of them hired in the past six months. The tax law “allows me to keep a little more capital, to put some money in the bank for me for a rainy day, to bonus my employees, [and] to buy more capital equipment that I may need.”– Feb. 27, 2018, PBS News article.

Beck Manufacturing International (Converse, Texas) - Building a new facility, hiring new employees, doubling company’s capacity

Tom Beck, vice president of operations at Beck Manufacturing International in Converse, said he expects his company, which builds cement mixer bodies that mount on trucks, will see a reduction of close to 10 percent in its tax rate.

The savings will flow into Beck Manufacturing International investments, including an under construction manufacturing site that will double his company’s capacity in Converse, he said.

“That money that we hang on to … that’s absolutely going directly toward the new facility that will employ more people,” Beck said.  - February 7, 2018, San Antonio Express-News article excerpt

Clearday Inc. (San Antonio, Texas) -- The company acquired a medical building property, which they plan to renovate and reopen, which was made possible because of the Opportunity Zone program:

"Clearday, Inc., a leading innovator in longevity care and wellness services, has made the first Opportunity Zone (OZ) investment in San Antonio District 10. With the investment, totaling a minimum of $3.2 million, Clearday has acquired and is transforming the medical building property located at 8800 Village Drive, adjacent to the Northeast Baptist Hospital campus. Upon completion of the building renovation, Clearday will consolidate its corporate headquarters – as well as those of its Memory Care America subsidiary and other affiliate businesses – at the site." -- February 21, 2020 Business Wire article

Rebecca Creek Distillery (San Antonio, Texas) -- The company was able to use savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to hire more people and expand: 

Rebecca Creek Distillery LLC’s Steve Ison said that if Congress fails to extend that tax relief, it will severely strain the craft beverage industry and hamper his company’s ability to continue expanding. 

“It saved us a million bucks,” Ison said. “With that money, we were able to expand and hire more people.”

Backers of the act note that it reduces taxes on distilled spirits, for example, by more than $10 for the first 100,000 gallons produced or imported annually. There is less of a reduction for additional gallons produced. -- Dec. 3, 2019 San Antonio Business Journal

Garrison Brothers Distillery (Hye, Texas) – The brewery was able to hire more employees and increase their production because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Starting a liquor distillery in the United States is expensive. Take it from Dan Garrison, who runs Garrison Brothers Distillery in Hye, roughly an hour west of Austin. He estimated in November that it costs about $7 million to get a whiskey distillery up and running — between stills, fermentation tanks, grain silos and other operational costs.

Garrison said Garrison Brothers paid an excise tax of $13.50 per proof gallon from the time he started his business in 2006 until 2017, when the tax break took effect. After that the tax was reduced to $2.70 per proof gallon — 80% less — which Garrison said put spirits on par with what wine and beer producers were paying.

As a result, “I could do things I could only dream of doing,” Garrison said.

Since 2017, Garrison Brothers has grown from 11 to 45 employees and tripled the amount of cases it produces annually, projecting to top 9,000 this year. – Dec. 17, 2019, Austin Business Journal.

Kanga Roof (Austin, Texas) – Tripled their revenue and doubled their payroll.

“Round Rock roofing business co-owner Stacie Feller credited Trump with boosting businesses’ confidence.

“She and her husband Scott’s Kanga Roof Austin has has more than tripled its revenue and more than doubled its payroll, to 24 employees, since January 2017, she said.”

“I’m very proud to say with some of the tax cuts, some of the things, this year, 2019, was the first year we were able to offer health insurance and a simple [Individual Retirement Account] plan for our employees,” she said. “We just couldn’t afford it before.” -- Aug. 29, 2019 Dallas Morning News article

Leak Sealers (Lumberton, Texas) – Bonuses to its 100 employees:

Female-owned engineering company Leak Sealers says it's handing out bonuses to its 100 employees, joining major retailers like Lowe's and Walmart Inc. that are investing in workers after Congress approved a tax cut that will help businesses. – 

"We've been incredibly successful, and I've never seen anything like it, the way business has been roaring," said CEO Henry Adams in a statement. "We're appreciative and we want to share it with our employees."

Leak Sealers, with company offices in Lumberton, Nederland and Lake Charles, is a "woman-owned certified engineering company and a leader in the on-stream environmental repair industry," according to the statement. -- Feb. 8 2018, The Beaumont Enterprise article excerpt

Groomer’s Seafood (Corpus Christi, Texas) – Expansion of distribution facilities.

Group 1 Automotive (Houston, Texas) – $500 cash bonuses for non-management dealership employees and operational support staff in the United States:

Group 1 Automotive, Inc. (NYSE: GPI), ("Group 1" or the "Company"), an international, Fortune 500 automotive retailer, today announced a $500 cash bonus for non-management dealership employees and operational support staff in the U.S. The Company owns and operates 115 dealerships nationwide.

"As we were in the process of reviewing the opportunities the new tax reform law creates for us to better our business, we decided the best investment we could make was in the people serving as the face of our company every day,"said Earl J. Hesterberg, Group 1's president and chief executive officer.  "For almost 13 years, I have watched our loyal dealership operating and support teams move cars in the 100-degree heat of the Texas summer, clean snow off of new car inventory in a 10-degree Boston winter, and spend long days in front of a computer screen processing documents and communicating with our customers. These people are the heart of the Company. They generate our profits and my management team and I feel that the financial benefit of the new tax law creates an opportunity for us to say thank you to these key teammates."

 This bonus to qualified employees will be paid on March 1, 2018.

Group 1 is assessing the full impact of the tax reform law on the company's operations. Additional details will be shared when the company releases 2017 fourth quarter and full year earnings on February 8, 2018. – Jan. 12, 2018 Group 1 Automotive press release

Charlie Bravo Aviation (Georgetown, Texas) - $1,000 bonuses for all six employees.

JSW Steel USA (Baytown, Texas) – Committed to $1 billion of new investment in the United States as well as hiring or re-skilling 500 workers.

“Today JSW USA CEO John Hritz and Ryan Brindley, an employee at their Mingo Junction, Ohio, state-of-the-art steel mill met with President Trump, Vice President Pence, Ivanka Trump, and other cabinet officials and governors at the White House to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Pledge to American Workers.” 

“Hritz, who signed the Pledge in January committing to $1 billion of new investment in the United States and the hiring or re-skilling of 500 workers, visited with the President to show his support for the employees of JSW USA and to ensure Administration policies continue supporting a strong steel industry in America.”

“JSW is the largest steel producer in India, and because of President Trump’s bold leadership on tax reform, a smart regulatory agenda, and investing in American workers, it was a no-brainer to invest in the US,” said Hritz. “The steel industry was dying. Since President Trump took office, we’ve made it our mission not only to build the largest, cleanest, most eco-friendly, state-of-the-art electric arc furnace in North America, but also to invest the time and training into our employees so they, too, are state-of-the-art. Our workers come first and foremost and we are proud to provide high wages and a great work-life balance, mainly due to the current positive economic climate.” – July 25, 2019 Business Wire press release

Rush Enterprises (New Braunfels, Texas) – $1,000 bonuses for all 6,600 employees:

“We believe tax reform to be beneficial for Rush Enterprises, our communities and overall economic growth,” said W.M. “Rusty” Rush, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Rush Enterprises, Inc.“We are happy to take this step to invest in our employees and honor their important contributions to our company with this $1,000 gift,” he added.

The $1,000 discretionary bonus will be paid to all Rush Enterprises, Inc. employees once the President signs the tax reform bill into law. – Rush Enterprises, Inc.

Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (Houston, Texas) - $1,600 bonuses for employees.

WIN-911 (Austin, Texas) — software company hiring new employees:

Robert Brooker, chairman of WIN-911, says the Austin-based software company will add five or six workers to its U.S. staff of 35 this year, up from the two or three it was planning to bring on. “It’s allowing us to … hire more people,” he says of the tax benefits.April 26, 2018 USA Today article excerpt

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 32,435 Texas 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 

Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, Texas) –  $2,000 bonuses to approximately 34,000 employees:

Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE: WM) announced today that, 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.

Approximately 34,000 qualified Waste Management employees could receive this special bonus. – Jan. 10 2018, Waste Management, Inc. press release

Ennis, Inc. (Midlothian, Texas) -- $500 bonuses to 2,200 non-management employees:

Keith S. Walters, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ennis, Inc. (NYSE: EBF), a manufacturer of business forms and other business products headquartered in Midlothian, Texas, announced today that in conjunction with the signing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Ennis Board of Directors has approved a special one-time bonus to more than 2,200 non-management employees in the amount of $500.00 each. This payment will take place with the first payroll period in January 2018.

In addition, in response to this landmark act the Board of Directors has declared a special one-time cash dividend of $0.10 a share of our common stock. The dividend will be paid on February 9, 2018 to shareholders of record on January 12, 2018.

“Congress and the President by their passage of this historic law have improved the prospects of the American worker and American company success. We recognize this historic opportunity for our Company, our employees and our shareholders,” said Mr. Walters. – Dec. 22, 2017 Ennis, Inc. press release

Quadvest (Tomball, Texas) – the utility will pass along tax reform savings to customers:

"On behalf of the approximately 30,000 customers Quadvest Utility serves in Southeast Texas, we would like to thank you for your integral part in the development and ultimate passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of FY2017. The passage of this key piece of legislation has allowed Quadvest to proactively reduce our customers' base water and sewer fees by 26% or almost $90 per year/family." – Simon Sequeira, President of Quadvest

Entergy Texas (The Woodlands, Texas) – the utility will pass along tax reform savings to customers:

`Entergy Texas is also passing substantial savings from federal tax reform directly to customers. These tax savings, along with investments in infrastructure to reduce outages and improve service, will result in more reliable and affordable energy to customers.

Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the federal corporate tax rate was lowered, and Entergy Texas will flow back more than $200 million to customers over the next two years. This sum represents funds that Entergy Texas had collected from customers according to IRS rules to pay future taxes at the higher tax rate that is no longer in effect. Additionally, Entergy Texas’ new rates will reflect the lower tax rate going forward. - May 15, 2018, Entergy Texas Press Release excerpt

 

Russell Marine LLC (Channelview, Texas) - Increased pay by an average of 10 percent, gave $900,000 in bonuses, purchased $1.8 million in new equipment, green lighted a new company headquarters:

This Houston-based marine construction business, has already been able to purchase new equipment because of tax reform and expects to see record-setting revenue of about $90 million following new tax law.

“This will be our best year ever” – Russell Inserra, Owner

Bonuses: totaling $900,000

Pay Raises: 10 percent raise on average

New Equipment: $1.8 million, 440-ton crane, the largest floating rotating crane in Texas  - May 7, 2018, Woodlands Online article excerpt

Nexstar Media Group, Inc. (Irving, Texas) -- Bonuses of $500 for full-time employees, $250 for part-time employees; increased 401(k) contributions:

As announced by Perry Sook during our Town Hall broadcast, the new corporate tax rate will produce a financial benefit for Nexstar, and the Company wants to extend that benefit to our employees via a one-time bonus and an increase to the 401k plan company match. Here are the details for those benefits.

A one-time special bonus will be issued to all employees actively employed by the Company as of March 1, 2018. The amount of the bonus is $500 for full-time employees and $250 for part-time employees. Bonuses will be paid in the first pay period of March and will be subject to applicable taxes.

Employees ranked at the Vice President level or above are not eligible for the bonus.

Effective April 1, 2018, the Company match for 401k contributions will be increased from 25% to 50% of the first 6% of contributions. -- Jan. 17, 2018 note to Nexstar employees

American Airlines (Ft. Worth, Texas) -- $1,000 bonuses for every employee (excluding officers). The bonuses will total $130 million. AA had 127,600 employees as of Sept. 2017.

“Recent tax reform has received much publicity. While the company does not yet pay cash taxes due to our enormous losses in the past, there is no doubt that our country’s new tax structure will have positive long-term benefits for American. We will be able to invest even more in aircraft and facilities, and we will be able to do so with even greater confidence about the future. As we analyze those potential future benefits, our leadership team, backed by our Board of Directors, considered how a portion of that positive impact might be directly shared with the very people who produce the profits at American—all of you. 

We are pleased to announce that in light of this new tax structure and in recognition of our outstanding team members, American will distribute $1,000 to each team member (excluding Officers) at our mainline and wholly owned regional carriers. These distributions will total approximately $130 million and will be made in the first quarter of 2018.” – Jan. 2, 2018 American Airlines press release

Southwest Airlines (Dallas, Texas) -- $1,000 bonuses for all 55,000 employees; $5 million additional charitable donations:

The Southwest Board of Directors authorized a bonus to all Southwest Airlines Employees to celebrate the recent passage of the tax reform legislation. All Fulltime and Parttime Southwest Employees employed with Southwest on Dec. 31, 2017, will receive a $1,000 cash bonus on Jan. 8, 2018.

"We applaud Congress and the President for taking this action to pass legislation, which will result in meaningful corporate income tax reform for the transportation sector in general, and for Southwest Airlines, in particular," said Southwest's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly. "We are excited about the savings and additional  capital, which we intend to put to work in several forms—to reward our hard- working Employees, to reinvest in our business, to reward our Shareholders, and to keep our costs and fares low for our Customers." – Jan. 2 2018, Southwest Airlines press release

Insperity (Houston, Texas) – Tax reform bonuses totaling $17 million. $1,000 - $4,000 bonuses for each employee, based on length of service.

The good news was announced to employees via internal message from CEO Paul Sarvadi. ATR obtained the message, which is reproduced below. A company press release confirming the details can be found here.

To all Insperity Employees,

In December Congress passed a tax reform bill which among other changes, lowered the tax rate for corporations. Insperity is one of those corporations which will benefit accordingly. This change leaves more of our hard earned dollars available after tax to invest in our business as we see fit. We believe all constituencies should benefit from this change including our amazing employees.

Therefore, as was communicated with this morning’s news release we will be paying a one-time bonus as a result of the U.S. tax reform act. We plan for this bonus to be paid on Wednesday February 14, 2018. This bonus is intended for

 ·full-time employees in grades 14 and below with hire dates 9/30/2017 or before and eligible to receive the 2017 AP payout and eligible to participate in the 2015 AIP Program, and

 ·full-time employees in grades 14 and below with hire dates, 10/01/2017 to 02/07/2018 and are eligible to participate in the 2018 AIP Program, and

·Business Performance Advisors and Business Performance Consultants with hire dates 02/02/2018 or before

Below is the overview for the bonus payout

Hire Date                                        Payout

12/31/2015 or before                      $4,000

01/01/2016 to 12/31/2016              $3,000

05/01/2016 to 09/30/2017              $2,000

10/01/2017 to 02/07/2018              $1,000

The tax reform bonus payments will be in addition to the normal AIP program and disbursed similar to your regular paycheck.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication and let’s keep our strong performance going!

PJS

Allsup’s Convenience Stores, Inc. (198 stores in Texas) -- $1,000 bonuses:

Workers were feeling so good at a Santa Fe Allsup’s convenience store Thursday that you might have thought it was raining cash. And it almost was.

One-time cash bonuses of $1,000 had appeared that morning by direct deposit in the bank accounts of all full-time, non-executive Allsup’s employees who have been with the company at least one full calendar year.

Cashier Cesia Villatoro, who works at the Allsup’s store at 305 N. Guadalupe St., said she was happy with the bonus. Then she amended that to “very happy.”

“I’m going to help my family,” Villatoro said.

Owners of the Clovis-based company said in a news release that the windfall was “a result of the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December 2017” — a massive Republican tax overhaul pushed by President Donald Trump.

“The new tax reform legislation provides tax cuts for individuals and companies and should result in positive economic growth,” Allsup’s said.

The company operates 317 stores in New Mexico, West Texas and Oklahoma and employs 3,200 full-time and part-time employees. It did not say how many of its employees received a bonus this week.

Velia Bojorquez, manager of the North Guadalupe Street store, said the company had mentioned the bonuses would be coming but didn’t give an exact date of when workers could expect them. “It’s too good to be true,” she said. “We were all surprised. Where did this money come from?”

Bojorquez said she plans to use the extra infusion of cash to pay some bills. “It’s going to be a big help.”

Cashier Maria Rosado was equally enthused. “I really need it,” she said of the cash disbursement. “I’m going to help my family and pay some bills.” – March 15, 2018 Santa Fe New Mexican

Cadence Bancorporation (Houston, Texas) – Base wage raised to $15 per hour; increased company 401(k) contributions; new employee stock purchase plan; merit pool increase; enhanced employee benefits:

In an announcement to its employees, the company shared it will introduce the following changes effective April 1, 2018:

  • An increase in the company’s matching 401k contribution
  • An increase in the company’s contribution to employee healthcare costs
  • A pay increase for non-exempt, non-commissioned associates to a base wage of no less than $15 an hour
  • A merit pool increase for eligible associates

In addition, Cadence executives announced an employee stock purchase plan with a 15% discount, pending approval by Cadence Bancorporation shareholders.

“Our employees deliver exceptional service and value to our clients every day, and we want to reward them for their dedication,” said Paul B. Murphy, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Cadence Bancorporation. “Investing in our employees allows us to attract and retain top talent, which directly correlates to sound operating and financial performance and a better return for our shareholders.” – February 14, 2018, Cadence Bancorporation press release excerpt

Apple (Apple store locations in El Paso, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Friendswood, Frisco, Houston, Plano, San Antonio, Southlake, Sugar Land, and The Woodlands) - $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.

El Paso Electric Company (El Paso, Texas) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

El Paso Electric (EPE) was one of the first utilities in the state of Texas to address and identify a mechanism to refund Texas customers due to the reduction in the federal income tax rate.

On December 14, 2017, the unopposed settlement approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) included a provision to refund EPE’s Texas customers for the reduction in the federal income tax rate.

EPE is currently calculating the changes and impacts of the new tax law to determine the amount of the refund to be filed in mid-April.  EPE expects Texas customers will begin to see the refund as a credit on their bills by mid-year 2018 following PUCT approval of its refund filing. – Jan. 23 2018, El Paso Electric Company press release

Oncor Electric Delivery (Dallas, Texas) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

The company delivering electricity to most North Texans would likely save millions from    the new corporate tax rate cut. But that entire windfall is expected to go back to consumers.

That's the result of a recently completed rate case where the state's largest regulated        utility agreed to return all tax cut benefits to its customers.

The $1.5-trillion tax overhaul hadn't been completed when Oncor's rate negotiation          with the regulator was settled. And the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the agency that regulates the operations of electricity-distribution companies like Oncor, made sure to cover the possibility of a tax cut. 

"Oncor will work with the PUCT to determine the best way to distribute those savings        back to customers," said spokesman Geoff Bailey via email. "In short, we are capturing    these tax savings for future refunds to our customers." – Jan. 16 2018, Dallas Morning News article excerpt

Happy State Bank (Happy, Texas) -- base wage raised; salary increases; bonuses; increased retirement contributions:

In its board meeting yesterday, January 23, the Board of Directors of Happy State Bank voted unanimously for a significant wage and benefit increase for employees of the company as a direct result of the new tax reform legislation.  The announcement was made by Board Chairman and CEO, J. Pat Hickman.    
The wage increases directly impact over 600 of the bank’s 700+ employees.

The highlights of the new program are: 

  • Happy State Bank has a new starting minimum wage of $13.50 per hour…increasing to $14.00 after a 90-day probationary period. 
  • Present employees currently earning less than $14.00 per hour will be increased to this amount immediately.
  • Employees currently earning between $14.00 and $17.50 hourly will receive an approximate $0.50 hourly wage increase.  
  • Salaried employees making less than $18 hourly will receive a $1,000 annual increase. 
  • Full-time employees making up to $100,000 (and not in the above categories) will receive a one-time $1,000 bonus or $500 bonus if part-time. 
  • The KSOP Retirement Plan dollar-for-dollar company match will increase from 6% to 7%, which benefits every employee that participates to that level. 

“Our board is really excited to pass a major portion of our bank’s tax benefit over to our employees. For many of our employees, the raise will be life-changing.  All told, these increases will impact 80% of our 700+ employees.  It’s a win-win for everyone.  Obviously, we’re all pretty happy around here,” stated Hickman. -- Jan. 24 2018, MyHighPlains.com article excerpt

Rio Bank (McAllen, Texas) — $1,000 bonuses for each of the 108 employees:

“Our Board approved the payment $1,000 to each of our 108 employees. That is everyone from the janitor on up. Our employees do not think this check is ‘crumbs’ like Nancy Pelosi called it and they sure do not think it is insulting like she stated that it was.” — Ford Sasser, President & CEO, Rio Bank

FirstCapital Bank of Texas (Midland, Texas) -- $500 bonuses for 197 employees.

First National Bank (Spearman, Texas) -- $1,000 bonuses for its 44 employees.

Amarillo National Bank (Amarillo, Texas) – $1,000 salary increases for over 300 employees:

Christmas came early for more than 300 employees at Amarillo National Bank when they found out they'd be getting a $1,000 pay raise.  

The bosses at ANB are saying the pay increase is because of the GOP's tax reform bill.

The raises are the highest salary and wage increases in the bank's history.

313 of the bank's 600 full-time, non-salaried employees will get an immediate raise of $1,000. 

ANB says they also plan on investing another $2.5 million into its downtown properties.

Executive Vice President William Ware says the bank will be saving a ton of money with the new tax bill so they're investing those savings back into their most valuable asset, their employees. 

Executive Vice President William Ware said, "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we know with the savings from the tax reform bill, we want to reinvest that back into our bank and the first place we are going to put it is into our employees. That's our most important asset and we feel like that's a great thing to do." 

ANB has 18 branches in Amarillo, Canyon, Borger and Lubbock. – Dec. 21, 2017 MyHighPlains.com article excerpt

Comerica Bank (Dallas, Texas) -- $1,000 to 4,500 non-officer employees; base wage increase to $15 per hour:

“This increase in minimum wage and one-time bonus are made possible by the tax reform bill that was passed by the U.S. Congress, then signed by the President on Dec. 22, 2017.” –  Dec. 29, 2017 Comerica Bank press release

Texas Capital Bank (Dallas, Texas) – $1,000 bonuses for 900 employees:

“The rewritten tax code cuts the marginal tax rate, and that can be significantly beneficial to earnings and our stockholders, because we believe we have among the highest marginal and effective federal tax rates in the banking sector. The tax changes also will be very beneficial to our customers,” [Texas Capital Bank President and CEO Keith] Cargill said. – Texas Capital Bank press release

Thompson Graphics (Carrollton, Texas) – Invested in $625,000 worth of new equipment, and hired more employees.

“Event host Bob Thomas, owner of Thomas Graphics, which for a quarter-century has printed mail and campaign material for leading Texas Republicans, said accelerated depreciation schedules in Trump’s tax cut bill allowed him to buy $625,000 worth of new equipment last year.”

“Thomas Graphics hired three new employees because of the expansion. It is looking for two more, he said. Trump’s deregulation policies also are having a “trickle-down” effect that helps small entrepreneurs, Thomas said.” -- Aug. 29, 2019 Dallas Morning News article

 

STERIS Corp. (Texas locations in El Paso, Grand Prairie, Houston, and Keller) -- $1,000 bonuses totaling $7 million for non-executive U.S. -based employees:

"Like many companies, the recent tax reform in the U.S. will result in significant additional earnings for STERIS to strategically grow our business and return value to Customers, employees and shareholders.  One of our first actions on that front will be a one-time special discretionary bonus of $1,000 to all U.S. employees other than senior executives." -- Feb. 7, 2018 STERIS plc press release

Webco Industries Inc. (Orange, Texas) – Up to $2,000 bonuses:

Webco says each employee was given $1,000 if they've been there for a year or more. Employees who have been there for a significant amount of time, were given $2,000.

Webco says they had more than a million dollars total to distribute to their employees, many of whom are in Sand Springs.

"The tax cuts and jobs act reduced corp tax rates, so that produced a significant amount of savings this year for Webco as our corporate tax bill was reduced," said Mike Howard with Webco Industries.

These were one-time bonuses and impacted employees in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Illinois, and Michigan. -- March 7, 2018 News on 6 article excerpt

Wal-Mart – Texas employees at 508 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.

T.J. Maxx70 stores in Texas – 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

Home Depot -- 180 locations in Texas, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's --23,000 employees at 23 stores and three distribution facilities in Texas. 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 (41 locations in Texas) – Tax reform bonuses.

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

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

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

Based on the passage of tax reform and the FCC's action on broadband, Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast NBC Universal, announced that the Company would award special $1,000 bonuses to more than one hundred thousand eligible frontline and non-executive employees.

Roberts also announced that the Company expects to spend well in excess of $50 billion over the next five years investing in infrastructure to radically improve and extend our broadband plant and capacity, and our television, film and theme park offerings. With these investments, we expect to add thousands of new direct and indirect jobs. – December 21, 2018, Comcast release excerpt

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

FedEx (Multiple locations in Texas) – 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 (1,200+ locations in Texas) – 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   588 locations in Texas; 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 Texas examples, please email John Kartch at jkartch@atr.org

The running nationwide list of companies can be found at www.atr.org/list

More from Americans for Tax Reform

×