John Kartch

How the Trump Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Massachusetts

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, July 1st, 2021, 12:30 PM PERMALINK

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

397,860 Massachusetts households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

Every income group in every Massachusetts 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.

2,150,760 Massachusetts 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.

89,050 Massachusetts 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, Massachusetts residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, at least seven Massachusetts utilities reduced their customers' bills (see below).

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

Pan Am Systems, Inc. (North Billerica, Massachusetts) -- $1,100 tax reform bonuses for 719 employees.

Pan Am Systems, Inc. is a diversified holding company. Its subsidiaries include Pan Am Railways – the nation’s largest regional rail carrier by mileage operating in five states; Perma Treat Corporation – a wood products manufacturer, including railroad ties, and Pan Am Brands, a trademark licensing company.

In an effort to highlight the benefits of the landmark Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”), Pan Am Systems, Inc. is pleased to announce that it will be issuing a one-time bonus of $1,100.00 to each employee of the company and its subsidiaries, effective today. This bonus is intended to; (a) acknowledge the importance of our employees; and (b) provide those employees with additional compensation to use as they elect.

As noted by the President, the TCJA is intended to make resources available for investment by businesses that will have downstream effects of expanding and creating wealth among all citizens. Pan Am shares this goal and is committed to future capital investment to foster growth of the company. Pan Am strongly believes that programs such as the TCJA and the 45G tax credit, supported by continued reduction in overly burdensome regulations, provide substantial incentives for investment in America’s growth. – May 23, 2018 Pan Am Systems, Inc. press release

Pentucket Bank (Haverhill, Massachusetts) – $500 bonuses, increased base wages, increased additional educational opportunities through a University of Pentucket Bank program.

Suffolk Construction (Boston, Massachusetts) - Investing in new technology and data analytics:

Boston’s Suffolk Construction Co. will take much of the savings from the tax cuts and invest it in the company’s technology and data analytics, a growing area of focus for the $3.5 billion business, CEO John Fish said. The firm is one of the largest privately owned companies in Massachusetts. As of last year, it had nearly 1,000 employees in the state. On the topic of one-time bonuses for employees, Fish told the Business Journal that “to give a $1,000 bonus, that’s a traditional response to a nontraditional opportunity. We have an opportunity now to invest in our future.” - January 22, 2018, Boston Business Journal article excerpt

1A Auto, Inc. (Westford, Massachusetts) -- Bonuses for all full-time employees:

Massachusetts based online auto parts retailer 1A Auto announced across the board cash bonuses for all full-time employees. CEO Rick Green says that the decision was based on recent changes to tax policy. In a company meeting Wednesday, Green told employees, "Ultimately the tax savings will be passed to our customers in the form of lower prices, but we want to also share some of the savings with you, our hard-working employees." -- Jan. 25, 2018 1A Auto, Inc. press release

 

Thermo Fisher Scientific (Waltham, Massachusetts) -- $500 bonuses for 68,000 non-executive employees; increased charitable donations:

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO), the world leader in serving science, will make additional investments totaling $50 million as a result of the benefit of recently enacted Federal tax reform legislation in the U.S. This investment includes:

$34 million for a one-time bonus of $500 to be paid to each of the company's approximately 68,000 eligible non-executive employees globally.

$16 million to accelerate key breakthrough R&D programs and also to increase the impact of the company's sustainability initiatives and philanthropic activities in support of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.

"Thermo Fisher will benefit from tax reform, so we chose to use this unique opportunity to recognize the commitment of our colleagues who work hard every day to fulfill our Mission – to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer," said Marc N. Casper, president and chief executive officer, Thermo Fisher Scientific. "We also plan to use the benefit to fuel important programs that will strengthen our ability to serve our customers and the communities where we live and work." -- Jan. 31, 2018 Thermo Fisher Scientific press release

Cooperstown Environmental (Andover, Massachusetts) - Doubled the company-paid retirement contribution for all employees.

Pilgrim Bank (Cohasset, Massachusetts) - Base wage raised to $15 per hour; additional 401(k) contribution; increased charitable donations. 

State Street (Boston, Massachusetts) – Enhanced employee retirement benefits and investment in training and community grant programs:

State Street will use this year's proceeds from the US tax overhaul measure to improve    employees' retirement benefits and training and community grant programs, the              company's chairman and chief executive said. – Jan. 23 Dow Jones Newswires report

 

Sinatra & Co. (Amherst, Massachusetts) -- The company is building apartments and new retail space in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Nick Sinatra said he plans to retain much of the Boulevard Mall as he and his partners redevelop the 64-acre site they agreed to buy on Wednesday for $24 million.

The founder of Sinatra & Co. Real Estate said the mall will continue to operate as normal as they focus initially on construction of apartments and new retail and restaurant space on land along the street, beginning with the corner of Niagara Falls Boulevard and Maple Road.

Sinatra said he's been talking to Town of Amherst officials for a year or so about reusing the region's oldest enclosed shopping center. The site's inclusion in a federal Opportunity Zone program that promises tax credits to investors solidified his interest.

“We're going to turn the mall inside out," he said Thursday. “You want to create a walkable village for people."

Here are highlights of Sinatra's interview with The Buffalo News less than 24 hours after he won the bidding for the Boulevard Mall property, and reaction from industry observers:

Ownership group: Sinatra said his partners on this project include investors he has worked with for years on developments throughout this region and outside Western New York, including the Pritzker family in Chicago. They will buy the property through an Opportunity Zone fund that pulls together contributions from investors seeking the tax benefits of the federal program, he said. -- April 5, 2019 Buffalo News article

The TJX Companies Inc. -- Holding company for TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, Sierra Trading Post, Homesense -- (Headquarters in Framingham, Massachusetts, with many retail locations across the state) – the companies gave tax reform bonuses to employees, increased retirement fund contributions, paid parental leave and increased charitable contributions:

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

The Stowaway (Mattapoisett); Speedwell Tavern (Plymouth); Gateway Tavern (Wareham); Sail Loft (Dartmouth) and Duck Inn Pub (Hyannis) -- $500 bonuses for full-time employees; $200 bonuses for part-time employees. Altogether at these affiliated restaurants, bonuses went to 93 employees:

All of the partners expressed the same reasoning for the bonuses, according to the release. They were happy to be able to share the tax savings by investing in their workforce. They recognize their people as their most important asset. They viewed the payouts as a way of giving back to their staffs, thanking them for everything they contribute to their organization’s success. The thought process was that the bonus checks will also benefit the local communities through employees spending more, boosting the area economically, according to the release. – Feb. 16, 2018 Wicked Marion Local article excerpt

STERIS Corporation (Northborough, Massachusetts) -- $1,000 bonuses:

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 press release

Blue Hills Bancorp Inc. (Norwood, Massachusetts) – $1,000 employee bonuses; total bonuses $70,000:

In addition, and as a result of the Tax Act, the Company recorded an expense of $70,000 in the fourth quarter of 2017 related to awarding a $1,000 bonus to each employee with a functional title below the Assistant Vice President level. The Company also took action to raise the hourly pay rate to $15 for a small number of hourly employees not already at that pay level. – Jan. 29, 2018 Blue Hill BanCorp Inc. press release

Dyer Capital Management, Inc. (Marion, Massachusetts) – Base wage raised 3.5% to $22 per hour; hourly employees also received a special one-time bonus:

In keeping with the economic prospects of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017, Dyer Capital Management Inc. (DCM) has announced a special one-time bonus payable this month to each of its hourly employees. Also, the company is increasing the minimum hourly rate 3.5% to $22 an hour. President Timothy H. Dyer said: “In the spirit of shared success, we are pleased to reward our hourly workers with this good news now, as we anticipate brighter, future conditions for our economy and our country.” – Dyer Capital Management, Inc. press release

Eversource Energy (Westwood, Massachusetts) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers

To ensure Massachusetts ratepayers receive the benefit of recent federal tax cuts, the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) ordered NSTAR Electric Company (NSTAR) and Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECo), together doing business as Eversource Energy, to reduce rates due to the federal tax law in their base rates that will take effect on February 1, 2018. Additionally, in an effort to capture savings for ratepayers in the Commonwealth, DPU opened an investigation to analyze how the recently enacted federal tax reform may affect gas, electric, and water utility rates for Massachusetts utility customers.

As a result of the reduction in the tax expense and the rate consolidation of the companies, the DPU’s Order reduced the recently approved rates for Eversource Energy by approximately $56 million. Eversource customers will now see an approximately $20 million, or 1.8 percent, decrease in rates, instead of the approximately $36 million increase that was initially approved by the DPU. - February 5, 2018 Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities press release

National Grid (Waltham, Massachusetts) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers: 

The state is ordering more than a dozen electric, gas and water companies to fork over $116 million in tax savings to their customers.

A directive issued Friday by the state Department of Public Utilities requires 14 publicly regulated companies — including National Grid, Eversource and Unitil — to reduce their distribution rates, effective July 1, to reflect savings from a cut in the federal corporate tax rate.

The agency says residential customers can expect average annual savings from $9 to $40 — or a 1 to 8.5 percent reduction on their bills. - June 30, 2018 article from the Daily News of Newburyport

Unitil (Lunenburg, Massachusetts) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

In the filing, Unitil sought to increase its rates to generate $7.3 million in additional base distribution revenues. This increase included the Company’s request to transfer the recovery of $3.4 million in Gas System Enhancement Plan (“GSEP”) investments from the Local Distribution Adjustment Factor (“LDAF”) to base distribution rates. Consequently, if approved, the proposed increase in base distribution revenues of $7.3 million would be offset by a revenue decrease of $3.4 million to the LDAF, which resulted in a $3.9 million, or11.1 percent, increase over current total gas operating revenues. The Company also statedthat its requested rate increase considered the reduction in the federal corporate income tax rate that results from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (“Tax Act”), which became effective January 1, 2018 - February 28, 2020 Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities document

Berkshire Gas (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

The agreement also incorporates tax savings Berkshire received as a result of the reduction of the federal corporate tax rate. That resulted from the AG’s petitioning the DPU last December to ensure that utility tax savings go to ratepayers, and not to gas, electricity, and water utility owners. - December 10, 2018 Daily Hampshire Gazette article

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts (Westborough, Massachusetts) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts is filing a petition with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to increase annual revenues by $24.1 million, representing a 3.9 percent increase in current operating revenues.

The request addresses increases in operating and maintenance costs incurred to comply with increasingly stringent federal and state regulatory mandates and capital costs incurred to upgrade gas infrastructure since the last time Columbia Gas changed its rates in 2016.

---

The Columbia Gas request is reduced by the impact of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which became effective on January 1, 2018.

The request includes a proposal for a refund to customers of $9.1 million, beginning on the effective date of the revised rates, related to the benefit of the tax cut as of January 1, 2018. - April 14, 2018 Western Mass News excerpt

Liberty Utilities (Avondale, Arizona) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

On May 1, 2018, Liberty Utilities (New England Natural Gas Company) Corp. d/b/a  Liberty Utilities (“Company”) filed its compliance filing in D.P.U. 18-15. The Department docketed the Company’s filing as D.P.U. 18-15-7. The Company proposes to incorporate the current corporate income tax rate in its base distribution rates beginning on July 1, 2018. The Company expects that this change will reduce its revenue requirement by approximately $929,000. The Company proposes to return any excess tax collected from January 2018 through June 2018 only if the Company’s actual return on equity (“ROE”) exceeds its allowed ROE for 2018. Finally, the Company proposes to return approximately at $2.3 million in excess ADIT over yet to be determined amortization periods, through a credit to its Local Distribution  Adjustment Clause starting in November 2018. - May 23, 2018 Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities notice of filing and public hearing

Aquarion Water Company of Massachusetts, Inc. (Oxford, Massachusetts) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

Specifically, with this Motion, the Company is requesting to amend its initial filing submitted to the Department on April 13, 2017 to incorporate certain changes to the request for a base-rate change (the “Amendment”). Collectively, the changes to the Company’s initial filing proposed in this Amendment reduce the Company’s requested rate relief from $2.347 million to $2.121 million, or by $226,000. The reduction of the proposed requested increase is enabled by the federal “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” enacted December 22, 2017 (“2017 Tax Act”), along with other circumstances. - Aquarion Water Company of Massachusetts, Inc. filing

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses for 874 Massachusetts-based 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

Fidelity Bank (Leominster, Massachusetts) – Base wage raised to $14.25 and to $15 by 2020; increased community contributions through LifeDesign Community Dividend, hiring of new employees, investment in new technology tools and equipment, and new facility projects:

Fidelity Bank headquartered in Leominster with 10 full-service offices in central Massachusetts, is sharing the benefits it receives from the corporate rate going from 35 percent to 21 percent with its employees, clients, and community. In doing so, Fidelity Bank is leading the way for smaller, local community banks in Central Massachusetts to use tax savings in positive ways.

“We see tax reform as an opportunity to show our deep commitment to our three key constituencies –our valued employees, our community, and our clients” says Edward F. Manzi, Jr. Chairman and CEO of Fidelity Bank. 

The local community bank will give all staff below the Vice President level a bonus of $500. Officials have decided to increase the minimum wage at Fidelity Bank to $14.25 per hour with a commitment to reach $15 per hour by 2020. Fidelity Bank is also allocating additional funds to its annual LifeDesign Community Dividend, investing the additional money in specific causes that support their community and the markets in which they operate. Examples include mental and physical health care; affordable housing; children’s education and support; and cultural organizations. Further, the bank’s 2018 plan includes investing in the hiring of new employees, new technology tools and equipment, and several facility projects including new LifeDesign Banking locations in downtown Worcester and Gardner – all to bring the value of the LifeDesign promise more effectively to more current and future clients.” – Feb. 14, 2018 Fidelity Bank press release excerpt

HarborOne Bank (Brockton, Massachusetts) – $500 bonuses to 600 bank employees; base wage raised to $15 per hour:

“The immediate outcome of this legislation will be tax savings for HarborOne, which has a direct impact on our bottom line,” CEO James Blake said. “It’s only fitting that this financial gain be shared with our employees.” – Dec. 28, 2017 Boston Herald article excerpt

Meridian Bancorp, Inc. (Boston, Massachusetts) – Base wage raised to $15 per hour; additional 20% will be added to existing bonuses; increased capital spending including building six new branch locations; additional charitable contributions:

Meridian Bancorp, Inc. (the "Company" or "Meridian") (NASDAQ:EBSB), the holding company for East Boston Savings Bank (the "Bank"), following the new tax law being passed by Congress and signed by the President on December 22, 2017, announced the following enhanced commitments to the Bank's employees, infrastructure investment and charitable giving which will benefit its customers and the communities it serves:

  • The minimum wage for all employees will increase to $15 per hour
  • An additional 20% will be added to the 2017 bonus as part of the Bank's Incentive Compensation Plan that will be paid to the Bank's 500+ employees in January 2018
  • An increase to the Capital Spending Budget as a result of plans to build six new branch locations in 2018
  • An increase in charitable giving by targeting $1 million in donations to community and non-profit organizations in 2018 – Jan. 3, 2018 Meridian Bancorp, Inc. press release excerpt

Apple (Apple store locations in Boston, Braintree, Burlington, Cambridge, Chestnut Hill, Dedham, Hingham, Holyoke, Lynnfield, Marlborough, Natick) - $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.

Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) – Base wage raised to $15 per hour; $1,000 bonuses to over 1,000 employees; investments in employee development and training; $2 million in additional charitable giving:

Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE: BHLB), the parent of Berkshire Bank, today announced additional investments in its employees and communities following the recent passage of federal tax reform legislation. 

            These investments include:

  • Raising Berkshire's minimum wage to $15 per hour.
  • Providing a special, one-time bonus of $1000 to over 1000 employees. This grant benefits all full-time employees below a certain compensation threshold, covering over 70% of the Bank's workforce, and augments the special $500 holiday bonus these colleagues received in the fourth quarter.
  • Enhancing Berkshire's investment in employee development and training programs to benefit our employees and bolster our current offering at AMEBU – American's Most Exciting Bank University.
  • Contributing $2 million to the Berkshire Bank Charitable Foundation which supports charitable organizations, scholarships, and volunteerism across Berkshire's local communities. This will bolster the foundation's endowment and allow for increased local giving. Last year we provided over $2 million to our local communities, complementing our employee volunteer program which helps our employees contribute over 40,000 hours of volunteer service each year. -- Jan. 4, 2018 Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. press release


Adams Community Bank (Adams, Massachusetts) -- $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees; base wage raised to $13.25 per hour; other wage increases; increased charitable contributions, increased capital expenditures, and more:

Adams Community Bank today announced investments in its employees, customers, and the Berkshire community following the recent passage of federal tax reform legislation.

These investments include:

  • Paying a special one-time bonus of $1,000 to full time employees, and $500 to part time employees. This initiative is focused on those employees making below a certain compensation threshold.
  • Increasing base pay by $1 per hour for regular non-officer employees making below a certain compensation threshold.
  • Raising our minimum wage to $13.25.
  • Reducing the employee’s share of medical and dental insurance premiums from 30% to 20%, for all bank employees who are not officers.
  • Increasing interest rates on customer deposit products beginning in January.

In addition, during 2018 Adams Community Bank will be upgrading our website, ATM’s and streamlining account-opening processes.

Finally, the Bank anticipates having more money to use for our long-standing goal of donating 10% of net income each year to local charitable and non-profit initiatives.

“The recent change to the Federal tax law offered a unique opportunity to assess how we can use this savings to improve our community,” said Charles O’Brien, President and CEO. “The bank will benefit from the lowering of corporate tax rates and as a true community bank headquartered in the Berkshires we would like to pass along these savings right here at home by investing in our staff, our customers, and the local community. These initiatives will put more money into the pockets of our employees, our customers, and the local non-profit community which will serve to benefit the Berkshire economy. We are thrilled that more than 80% of our staff will be positively impacted by these changes. In addition we are planning to add to our staff during 2018 by hiring several employees to better serve our growing customer base.”

O’Brien also noted “these compensation changes are in addition to the full complement of benefits the bank offers including an existing incentive plan for all staff, our pension and 401(K) plans, life insurance, tuition reimbursement, employee wellness, and more. Some banks have eliminated or scaled back on some of these benefits but we strive to attract the most talented staff. Our entire salary and benefit package is the most competitive offered by any community bank within Berkshire County.” -- Jan. 25, 2018 Adams Community Bank press release 

Waste Management, Inc. (Multiple locations in Massachusetts) –  $2,000 bonuses:

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 non 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

Walmart –  Massachusetts employees at 49 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. Maxx – 52 stores in Massachusetts – Tax reform bonuses, retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, and increased charitable donations.

Home Depot -- 45 locations in Massachusetts, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's --3,000+ employees at 27 stores and one distribution facility in Massachusets. 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.

CarMax (Four locations in Massachusetts) – $250-$1,500 bonuses depending on length of service:

The nation’s largest retailer of used cars, announced plans to provide one-time bonuses to most hourly and commissioned full-time and part-time associates as a result of the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Bonus amounts will vary from $200 up to $1,500 based on length of service with the company. – Feb. 23, 2018 EPR Retail News article excerpt

Rollstone Bank & Trust (Leominster, Massachusetts) -- Increased charitable contributions:

“As a bank invested in our communities, RBT takes great pride in supporting local organizations that make a positive impact on so many people. The United Way of North Central Massachusetts is one of those organizations,” said Martin F. Connors Jr., president and CEO of Rollstone Bank & Trust. “We are fortunate to have such great health care in our area, and are pleased we can help them continue their mission.”

Connors added that recently implemented reductions in the corporate tax rate will allow RBT to give back to an even greater extent than it has in the past.

“The tax cut provides us the opportunity to continue and even expand our investments in our region, customers, and employees,” he said. - May 17, 2018 Leominster Champion article excerpt

Ryder (15 locations in Massachusetts) – Tax reform bonuses for employees.

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

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

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

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

FedEx (Multiple locations in Massachusetts) – Accelerated and increased compensation; pension plan contributions:

“FedEx Corporation is announcing three major programs today following the recently enacted U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

  • Over $200 million in increased compensation, about two-thirds of which will go to hourly team members by advancing 2018 annual pay increases by six months to April 1st from the normal October date. The remainder will fund increases in performance- based incentive plans for salaried personnel.
  • A voluntary contribution of $1.5 billion to the FedEx pension plan to ensure it remains one of the best funded retirement programs in the country.
  • Investing $1.5 billion to significantly expand the FedEx Express Indianapolis hub over the next seven years. The Memphis SuperHub will also be modernized and enlarged in a major program the details of which will be announced later this spring.

FedEx believes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will likely increase GDP and investment in the United States. – Jan. 26, 2018 FedEx press release

McDonald’s (250+ locations in Massachusetts) – 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

Note: If you know of other Massachusetts 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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How the Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Hawaii

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, July 1st, 2021, 11:25 AM PERMALINK

Hawaii is benefiting greatly from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by Republicans in 2017:

101,880 Hawaii households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

Every income group 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.

480,910 Hawaii 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.

10,890 Hawaii 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, Hawaii residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, at least three Hawaii utilities reduced their customers' bills (see below).

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

Royal Hawaiian Heritage Jewelry (Honolulu, Hawaii) – The company will open additional retail locations:

Royal Hawaiian Heritage Jewelry has been in business for about 40 years.

And owner Jackie Breeden is hoping a sweeping tax overhaul approved by Congress and headed to the president's desk will help her expand operations beyond her stores at Pearlridge Center and on Bishop Street, and a single neighbor island outlet in Kona.

"I'm from Kauai so I would like to open up a shop back on the island of Kauai and on the west side of Honolulu as well, and be back in Maui. Before we were on all the islands," she said. – Dec. 21, 2017 Hawaii News Now article excerpt

Maui Electric (Honolulu, Hawaii) – The utility will pass along tax savings to customers:

The 460,000 customers of the Hawaiian Electric Companies could see lower electric bills as a result of the federal corporate income tax cut. Changes to federal tax law will lower corporate rates from 35 percent to 21 percent starting this year. That is expected to result in a lower tax bill for Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaiʽi Electric Light. State and federal taxes are included in the base electric rate and with a lower federal tax, the tax rate imbedded in the bill will be reduced. “We’re in the process of analyzing the impact of the tax overhaul but it’s pretty clear at this point that this will benefit most customers,” said Tayne Sekimura, senior vice president and chief financial officer of the Hawaiian Electric Companies. “We will work with our regulators and the Consumer Advocate to determine the exact amount of the tax reduction and the best way to pass on the savings.” Any change in the base rate is subject to the approval of the Public Utilities Commission, which will also determine the timing of any change in rates. –  Jan. 10, 2018 Hawaiian Electric Press Release

Hawaiian Electric (Honolulu, Hawaii) – The utility will pass along tax savings to customers:

Customers of Hawaiian Electric Company will see their bills fall as the result of an updated base-rate adjustment approved by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on Friday.

Changes in federal tax law reduced the corporate tax bill of Hawaiian Electric and the company announced in January it planned to pass on the savings to customers.

In February, the PUC approved an interim rate that increased the typical Oahu monthly residential bill for 500 kilowatt hours by $2.60, a 2.3 percent increase. It was the first increase to base rates in six years.

At the time, Hawaiian Electric said it was continuing to review the impact of the new tax law and that an updated rate filing would be made once the amount to be returned to customers was calculated. Hawaiian Electric made similar rate reductions in 1987 and 1989 following changes to federal tax law.

Under the new base rate approved Friday, the impact of the reduced tax collection is about $3.36 per month, resulting in the typical Oahu residential bill falling by about 76 cents from what it had been before the February rate increase. - March 9, 2018 Hawaiian Electric press release

Hawaii Electric Light (Honolulu, Hawaii) – The utility will pass along tax savings to customers:

Hawaii Electric Light customers will see lower electric bills if a rate adjustment proposal submitted to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is approved.

The proposal will lower the typical bill for a Hawaii Island residential customer using 500 kilowatt hours by $4.97 a month. The effective date of the new rate will be determined by the PUC.

Changes in federal tax law reduced Hawaii Electric Light's corporate tax bill. In January, the company announced it planned to pass on the savings to customers. - March 28, 2018 Hawaiian Electric press release

Apple (Three Apple store locations in Hololulu: Ala Moana, Kahala, Royal Hawaiian) - $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. 

American Savings Bank (Honolulu, Hawaii) - $1,000 bonuses to 1,150 employees; base wage raised from $12.21 to $15.25 

Bank of Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii) – $1,000 bonuses to 2,074 employees; base wage raise from $12 to $15:

“Our employees are, by far, our greatest asset. It’s our pleasure to reward our team with this holiday opportunity,” said bank Chairman, President and CEO Peter Ho. “We’ve recently been thinking about increasing our minimum wage level throughout the organization to the living wage level. The adjustments to the corporate tax rate provided further momentum to execute on the plan.” – Dec. 22, 2017 Bank of Hawaii press release

Central Pacific Bank (Honolulu, Hawaii) – All 850 employees received $1,000 bonuses; base wage raised from $12 to $15.25:

“We are delighted to have this opportunity with the lowering of the corporate tax rate to take care of our hard-working employees, who are our most important asset, and give them an extra special holiday this year.” -- Central Pacific President and CEO Catherine Ngo

First Hawaiian Bank (Honolulu, Hawaii) -$1,500 bonuses to 2,264 employees; base wage increase to $15.

Hawaii National Bank (Honolulu, Hawaii) -- $1,000 bonuses; base wage raised to $15 per hour.

Territorial Savings Bank (Honolulu, Hawaii) -- $1,000 bonuses to 247 employees; base wage raised from $11.25 to $15.00 per hour. 

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 394 Hawaii 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

Walmart – Hawaii employees at 10 Walmart stores received tax reform bonuses, wage increases, and expanded maternity and parental leave. Walmart employees who adopt children will be given $5,000 to help cover expenses.

Home Depot -- Seven locations in Hawaii - Bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's -- 800+ employees at four store locations in Hawaii. 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 (Four locations in Hawaii) – Tax reform bonuses to employees.

Best Buy -- Locations in Aiea and Honolulu; $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees. 

Cintas (Honolulu, Hawaii) -- $1,000 bonuses for employees of at least a year, $500 for employees of less than a year.

Starbucks Coffee Company (99 locations in Hawaii) – $500 stock grants for all retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plan and support center employee stock grants. Nationally, 8,000 new retail jobs; an additional wage increase this year, totaling approximately $120 million in wage increases, increased sick time benefits and parental leave.

T.J. Maxx – (Multiple locations in Hawaii) – Tax reform bonuses, retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, and increased charitable donations:

The 2017 Tax Act benefited the Company in the fourth quarter and full year Fiscal 2018. The Company expects to continue to benefit from the 2017 Tax Act going forward, primarily due to the lower U.S. corporate income tax rate. As a result of the estimated cash benefit related to the 2017 Tax Act, the Company is taking the following actions:

Associates

  • A one-time, discretionary bonus to eligible, non-bonus-plan Associates, globally
  • An incremental contribution to the Company’s defined contribution retirement plans for eligible Associates in the U.S. and internationally
  • Instituting paid parental leave for eligible Associates in the U.S.
  • Enhancing vacation benefits for certain U.S. Associates

Communities

Made meaningful contributions to TJX’s charitable foundations around the world to further support TJX’s charitable giving – Feb. 28, 2018 The TJX Companies Inc. press release excerpt

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

FedEx (Multiple locations in Hawaii) – 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 (60+ locations in Hawaii) – 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 

Note: If you know of other Hawaii 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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How the Republican Tax Cuts are Helping Mississippi

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, July 1st, 2021, 11:10 AM PERMALINK

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

204,900 Mississippi households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

Every income group in every Mississippi 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.

933,540 Mississippi 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.

32,260 Mississippi 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, Mississippi residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, at least four Mississippi utilities reduced their customers' bills (see below).

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

Treppendahl’s Super Foods (Woodville, Mississippi) - employee raises, facility upgrades, expand product selection, developing plan to upgrade checkout lanes, purchasing new equipment:

“The new tax law has had an immediate positive impact on my family business’ ability to invest in our store and local community. Independent grocery stores are capital intensive businesses that survive on 1 to 2 percent profit margins. As a direct result of tax reform, we have upgraded and replaced 12doors in the frozen foods section of our store during the past few months. That may not sound like a big project to some people, but that investment cost over $65,000 and most importantly provided work for our local refrigeration company. Because of these new freezers we have been able to expand our selection of frozen foods to our customers and save on energy costs.

We are also in the process of working with the Associated Grocers of Baton Rouge, our wholesaler, to develop a plan for upgrading our checkout lanes, which are currently 18 years old. We hope to install new checkout counters in our store next year. The grocery business also requires us to purchase expensive equipment such as coolers and air conditioners to remain functioning. If it were not for tax reform, we would not have been able to make these improvements to our store. Being able to invest our savings back into our business and community is a good thing. The new tax law has increased my confidence in making important business decisions, now and in the future, which has allowed me to be more comfortable investing in my business. If these tax cuts were to be reversed, I would not feel comfortable reinvesting in my store. Tax reform has also allowed me to provide all full-time, rank and file, employees with raises, which has boosted our employees’ confidence and ability to support themselves and their families.” - July 25, 2018 excerpt from House Small Business Committee hearing on “The Tax Law’s Impact on Main Street”

Lazy Magnolia Brewery (Kiln, Mississippi) - provide employee benefits, give employee promotions, and complete facility upgrades:

Known for its Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale, Lazy Magnolia opened in 2005 and is the oldest packaging brewery in Mississippi. With the money saved from the tax cut, Henderson said the brewery has been able to improve benefits for employees, convert two part-time jobs to full time and improve the brewery's taproom. - June 2, 2018 CNN article excerpt

Renasant Bank (Tupelo, Mississippi) - plans to share benefits with employees, community, and clients:

Renasant Bank also announced plans to share benefits from the tax reform legislation with their 2,000 associates, communities, and clients.

 

"Our focus on these three constituencies for more than 114 years has provided us with the success we enjoy as a company," Renasant Chairman and CEO E. Robinson McGraw said. "We look forward to continuing our legacy of understanding and meeting the needs of the communities we serve." - January 9, 2018, Rep. Trent Kelly letter excerpt

 

 Claiborne County, Mississippi -- Over 30,000 jobs are coming to to the Mississippi county because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

A stretch of economic development on the verge of breaking in Claiborne County could eventually create more than twice as many jobs than the counties current population. 

In 2017 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Congress and signed by President Trump low income urban and rural areas could receive special attention for investors and businesses to develop and create jobs and get federal tax deductions. Now Claiborne County is next in line. 

Out of 100 areas declared “opportunity zones”, Claiborne County is taking advantage to seek big changes. 

….

Leading the charge to be the first to move in is Houston Engineering Services Company, (HESCO)looking to bring the liquidating natural gas (LNG) business along the Mississippi River. 

“It’s taking natural gas and liquefying it to below -260 degrees Fahrenheit,” HESCO CEO Monte Burton stated. “Allowing it to be turned into a liquid state which allows it to be transported.” 

Burton expects to have his company break ground on building the plant west of Alcorn State by January requiring up to 1,000 construction jobs alone. But many question if the community can handle that production. 

..

Following HESCO the County Chamber expect more plants and companies to follow totaling 6400 acres of industrial space filled around the southwestern Claiborne County region estimating 30,000 new jobs when finished. -- August 16, 2019 WJTV Article

Kevin-Charles Furniture (New Albany, Mississippi) - 5 percent employee pay raises, new facility investments:

Kevin-Charles Furniture in New Albany opened its doors in 2002 with just six employees. The New Albany-based furniture manufacturer has grown to 65 employees. Company President Rusty Berryhill said 2018 is going to be a good year for the company and its employees because of the new tax law. Kevin-Charles Furniture will be among the companies in Mississippi and across the nation who will have their corporate tax rate reduced from 35 percent to 21 percent.                           

The tax credits available for investment in equipment will make it possible for the company to purchase additional machinery. "We're really excited about the tax bill and what it is going to do for our operation," Rusty said. "I applaud the efforts of Congress to build back a business climate that makes it easier to invest in our people and facilities."

Additionally, the tax savings made it easier for Kevin-Charles Furniture to give employees a five percent pay raise. Carol Crisel, a seamstress for Kevin-Charles Furniture, has worked at the New Albany operation for 15 years. She and her husband are helping to raise two of their grandchildren. Carol said she is thankful that the new tax law made it possible for the pay increase. Doubling the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 for each child is also going to be a tremendous help. - January 9, 2018, Rep. Trent Kelly letter excerpt

Whittington Scrap Metal (Union County, Mississippi) - business investments:

Michael and Heather Whittington, owners of Whittington Scrap Metal in Union County, are optimistic about what tax relief will bring to their family, business, and their customers. The Whittington's have three children, including one in college. Heather said tax breaks will help them save more money which they will invest in their business.

"If we are getting a cut on our taxes, that could be another employee we could hire," Heather said. "When our customers see an increase in their bottom line, that becomes a win-win situation for everyone." - January 9, 2018, Rep. Trent Kelly letter excerpt

Ingalls Shipbuilding (Pascagoula, Mississippi) -- $500 bonuses; $300 million in increased capital expenditures; increased pension contributions; increased charitable contributions:

The government's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has made way for big news at Huntington Ingalls Industries.

The company announced Thursday that it will give employees a bonus, increase voluntary contributions for qualified pension plans and grow charitable contributions.

In addition, the company said the tax reform will also allow a $300 million increase of investment into major capital projects to strengthen the core shipbuilding business.The majority of the 38,000 employees with the company will get an extra $500.

Since Ingalls Shipbuilding is so intertwined into the South Mississippi community, the increase is likely to have a big business impact as well.

The news has several business owners in downtown Pascagoula excited about the potential for growth. Most said that 50 percent or more of their business comes from Ingalls employees.

“It’s pretty big. It’s good news, actually,” said Robynn Rankin, owner of Bridget Blue boutique. “Because I know the past couple of years have been really slow all over town. I think it will help a lot. I mean, we’ve seen businesses on the street shut down because of the down turn of the economy.”

Ariel Hebert will see benefits from two sides.

She owns Itty Bitty Boutique and Monogramming, while her husband works at Ingalls.

“I feel like that that would be a little extra cash in our hands to do a few renovations we want to do at our house,” she said, “Or, you know, to support other local businesses.”

Each employee should get the check by the second week of March on their normal payday. -- Feb. 15, 2018 WLOX news report

Ridgewood Consulting (Brookhaven, Mississippi) -- The firm is building 48 new homes that are located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

If all goes as planned, construction of four dozen three-bedroom homes will begin off South First Street next year.

Mayor Joe Cox announced at Tuesday's meeting of the Brookhaven Board of Aldermen that developers recently received $10 million in funding for Mill Creek, a housing community that will be built just north of Dale Trail Northeast.

"At this point, they're vetting their investors and they hope to begin construction in April of 2020," Cox said.

Cox read an email from Len Reeves of Ridgewood Consulting: "With Mill Creek, Brookhaven will be home to the only new construction community that was funded under the State of Mississippi's recent Opportunity Zone housing initiative."

Opportunity Zones is a federal initiative created under the 2017 Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which provides incentives for qualified investors to invest capital gains in distressed communities across the United States. -- October 17, 2019 The Daily Leader article

Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc. (Brookhaven, Mississippi) -- Significantly increased employee benefits: lower healthcare costs, more paid time off, scholarships, and more:

Great Southern Wood Preserving, Incorporated, has begun an active and ongoing process to increase employee benefits by reinvesting its tax savings in its people, the company has announced. The company expects full implementation to take place in 2018.

In late 2017, Congress passed and the President signed into law legislation providing significant tax breaks for corporations. Across America, many companies have chosen a variety of options for applying these savings, such as providing one-time bonuses to employees, increasing charitable giving and reinvesting in facilities upgrades.

For its part, Great Southern Wood will make investments on an ongoing basis to lower healthcare costs for eligible employees, allow employees to accrue more paid time off based on length of service, develop scholarships for dependents of employees and enhance other benefits going forward.

“I’m very pleased that every employee across the company will see the results of the change in tax laws,” said Jimmy Rane, Great Southern Wood’s founder, president and CEO. “The success we’ve enjoyed as a company comes from every one of us working hard and doing our part, and I can’t think of a better way to apply our tax savings than by further investing in benefits programs for our employees. We strive to be an employer that draws the best and brightest to our company, and we believe that providing stronger benefits is essential to this continuing effort.”

Great Southern employs almost 1,200 at locations in eleven states. [Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Florida] -- March 29, 2018 Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc. press release

BancorpSouth Bank (Tupelo, Mississippi) – Pay raises for over 70 percent of employees; $1,000 bonuses for nearly 20 percent of employees: 

BancorpSouth Bank (NYSE: BXS) today announced an additional investment in its employees, which includes pay increases and /or one-time bonuses to nearly all non-commissioned employees.

The investment of over $10 million in 2018 will benefit 96% of the Company's non-commissioned workforce. Pay increases were effective January 1, 2018.

"We are proud to reward our team with this opportunity since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act should benefit everyone" said Dan Rollins, Chairman and CEO. "BancorpSouth's continued and future success is based on the economic vitality of the communities we serve and taking care of our teammates allows us to provide the very best service to our customers, communities and shareholders." – Jan. 3, 2018 BancorpSouth Bank press release

-----------------------

The increased compensation overall at BancorpSouth affected more than 70 percent of all employees, and provided a $1,000 bonus to nearly 20 percent of all employees.

BancorpSouth employs some 4,000 employees in more than 230 locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas, plus an insurance location in Illinois. – Jan. 4, 2018 Daily Journal/BizBuzz article

Entergy Mississippi (Jackson, Mississippi) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

Beginning July 1, Entergy Mississippi customers will see more than $300 million in benefits under a plan approved by the Mississippi Public Service Commission.

“The plan, a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, will let us reduce future rates and provide prompt credits that will lower bills during the high-usage summer months,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO. “It also lets us avoid a rate increase that would have resulted from nearly $1 billion in improvements we’ve made to strengthen and modernize the grid for our customers during the past three years.”

Under the plan, the typical residential customer bill for 1,000 kWh will drop more than $12 per month from July through September. Of that amount, $7.59 stems from tax reform. The remaining $5.05 is from an MPSC fuel order last January that was designed to reduce bills during the hot summer months. That portion will remain in effect through February 2019.

This means that the current typical residential customer bill for 1,000 kWh will drop from $114.01 to $101.37 from July through September, and from the current $114.01 to $109. 24 from October through February 2019.

Bills are a combination of rates and usage. Customers who use more electricity than 1,000 kWh per month will see larger savings, while customers who use less than that will see lower savings.

The Tax Cuts and Job Act reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. - June 27, 2018 Entergy press release

CenterPoint Energy Mississippi (Laurel, Mississippi) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

The purpose of this rider is to provide customers with certain tax benefits associated with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (“TCJA”). The TCJA reduced the maximum corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent beginning January 1, 2018. Rider TCJA returns to customers the estimated Unprotected Excess Accumulated Deferred Income Tax (“ADIT”) amounts not subject to the normalization provision of the Internal Revenue Code. 

---

The Unprotected Excess ADIT will be amortized over three years and allocated to the customer classes based on the currently approved allocation factors per Rate Regulation Adjustment (“RRA”) Schedule 3.10. The allocated amounts by class shall be divided by the customer count billing determinants to calculate a monthly per bill credit. 

Monthly credits shall appear as a line item on the bill titled, “Tax reform refund”. - Mississippi Public Service Commission document

Atmos Energy Mississippi (Dallas, Texas) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

In its review of the Company's filing, the Staff reviewed the Company's reduction to the Stable Rate revenue adjustment to reflect the amortization of excess deferred income taxes ("EDIT")related to the change to the federal corporate income tax rate in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ("TCJA"). The Staff and Company discussed the potential that the earnings band provision in the Stable Rate Rider could prevent customers from receiving the full benefit of the TCJA. Therefore, the Staff and the Company have agreed that it is consistent with the public interest to remove at this time the provision imposing an earnings band of 50 basis points above or below the Performance Based Benchmark Return and incorporate a provision providing a de minimis threshold such that the Annual Evaluation will not result in a change in revenues if the revenue deficiency/excess reflected in the filing is less than $250,000. The Staff and the Company further agree that this modification to the Stable Rate Rider shall be reviewed in the Company's next general rate case, which is currently scheduled to be filed no later than February of 2022 pursuant to the Commission's Order dated August 20, 2015, in Docket 2015-UN-49, for a determination by the Commission as to whether it is just and reasonable to adopt these changes permanently. - October 23, 2018 Mississippi Public Service Commission document

Mississippi Power Co. (Gulfport, Mississippi) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

The increase is lower than the company originally sought, in part because of federal corporate tax cuts approved last year. - August 7, 2018 Clarion Ledger excerpt

Vicksburg Forest Products LLC (Vicksburg, Mississippi-- Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, local Opportunity Zones are bringing in jobs:

“...I was a part of the first one (opportunity zone development) in the United States,” Flaggs said. “They asked me to speak about Vicksburg; its progress and why the opportunity zone worked for us and how it can be a model for the country.”

Vicksburg has three opportunity zones, “And we’re going to make every effort to utilize them,” Flaggs said. The Forestland Group, which bought Anderson-Tully in 2006, announced earlier in 2018 that it was closing the mill — a move affecting the 158 workers at the plant.

Jackson-based Vicksburg Forest Products LLC, the parent company of Vicksburg Forest Products, was able to take advantage of opportunity zone funding and bought the Anderson-Tully mill operation in June 2018, saving 125 jobs...

He said another opportunity zone includes the Mississippi Hardware building, which is being converted into the Mississippi Center for Innovation & Technology, an innovation and tech transfer center to serve the Vicksburg area and the entire central Mississippi region.” – October 3rd, 2019, The Vicksburg Post

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 2,576 Mississippi 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

Walmart – Mississippi employees at 78 Walmart stores received tax reform bonuses, wage increases, and expanded maternity and parental leave. Walmart employees who adopt children will be given $5,000 to help cover expenses.

Home Depot -- 14 locations in Mississippi - Bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's -- 3,000 employees at 24 stores and one distribution center in Mississippi. Employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service; expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance.

Ryder (Six locations in Mississippi) – Tax reform bonuses to employees.

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

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

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

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

Starbucks Coffee Company (32 locations in Mississippi) –$500 stock grants for all retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plan and support center employee stock grants. Nationally, 8,000 new retail jobs; an additional wage increase this year, totaling approximately $120 million in wage increases, increased sick time benefits and parental leave.

T.J. Maxx – (Ten locations in Mississippi) – Tax reform bonuses, retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, and increased charitable donations:

The 2017 Tax Act benefited the Company in the fourth quarter and full year Fiscal 2018. The Company expects to continue to benefit from the 2017 Tax Act going forward, primarily due to the lower U.S. corporate income tax rate. As a result of the estimated cash benefit related to the 2017 Tax Act, the Company is taking the following actions:

Associates

  • A one-time, discretionary bonus to eligible, non-bonus-plan Associates, globally
  • An incremental contribution to the Company’s defined contribution retirement plans for eligible Associates in the U.S. and internationally
  • Instituting paid parental leave for eligible Associates in the U.S.
  • Enhancing vacation benefits for certain U.S. Associates

Communities

Made meaningful contributions to TJX’s charitable foundations around the world to further support TJX’s charitable giving – Feb. 28, 2018 The TJX Companies Inc. press release excerpt

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

Dollar Tree, Inc. (Multiple locations in Mississippi) - Nationwide, $100 million investment in raising base wages, enhanced benefits including maternity leave for qualifying employees, and employee training. 

FedEx (Multiple locations in Mississippi) – Accelerated and increased compensation; pension plan contributions:

FedEx Corporation is announcing three major programs today following the recently enacted U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

  • Over $200 million in increased compensation, about two-thirds of which will go to hourly team members by advancing 2018 annual pay increases by six months to April 1st from the normal October date. The remainder will fund increases in performance- based incentive plans for salaried personnel.
  • A voluntary contribution of $1.5 billion to the FedEx pension plan to ensure it remains one of the best funded retirement programs in the country.
  • Investing $1.5 billion to significantly expand the FedEx Express Indianapolis hub over the next seven years. The Memphis SuperHub will also be modernized and enlarged in a major program the details of which will be announced later this spring.

FedEx believes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will likely increase GDP and investment in the United States. -- Jan. 26 2018, FedEx press release

Waste Management Inc. (Multiple locations in Mississippi) -- $2,000 bonuses:

In light of the meaningful contributions of its employees and the new U.S. corporate tax structure, the company will distribute US $2,000 in 2018 to every North American employee not on a bonus or sales incentive plan; that includes hourly and other employees.

“We are about to get a tax benefit as our U.S. corporate tax rate goes from 35 percent to 21 percent. In considering how to best spend that, we wanted to find a way to help grow our economy, which in turn, will help grow our business, and give some of the tax savings back to those hardworking employees who do not get the opportunity to participate in our salaried incentive plans,” said Jim Fish, president and chief executive officer, Waste Management.

“So, we are offering each North American hourly full-time employee and salaried employee who does not participate in any sales incentive or bonus plan during 2018, a cash bonus of US $2,000 to show our appreciation to so many of our valued employees while growing our business and returning a good portion of the tax savings directly to the overall economy,” he continued. – Jan. 10 2018, Waste Management Inc. press release excerpt

McDonald’s (150+ locations in Mississippi) – 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 (12 locations in Mississippi) - 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 Mississippi examples, please email John Kartch at jkartch@atr.org

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

Photo Credit: edgrawes/Flickr

More from Americans for Tax Reform


How the Trump Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Washington State

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, July 1st, 2021, 10:45 AM PERMALINK

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

528,720 Washington households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

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

1,321,260 Washington 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.

110,400 Washington 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, Washington residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, at least five Washington utilities reduced their customers' bills (see below).

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

Dry Fly Distilling (Spokane, Washington) - Hiring new employees, plant expansion, and facility investments:

The reform that went into effect January 1, 2018 is helping Dry Fly Distilling save some money that the company is using to pump right back into a planned expansion, special projects, and other additions.

The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act reduced the federal excise tax on distilled spirits producers. Dry Fly Distilling owner Don Poffenroth said the change has saved Dry Fly about $1.50 on every bottle, which cuts down production costs.

"Now that $1.50 really is allowing us to add additional personnel, to put more money back into our plant and then we are embarking on a fairly aggressive expansion plan as well. So, we are going to build a new facility. So, we are 100% reinvesting kind of everything we get out of that," Poffenroth said.

That saved money also can go toward special projects, like the Dry Fly Single Malt Whiskey, which has been aged for the last ten years. - February 16, 2018, KXLY article excerpt

Alaska Air Group (Seattle, Washington) -- $1,000 bonuses for 23,000 employees.

APPS Portamedic (Bellevue, Washington) – employee bonuses:

"Anything from the 20 percent reduction down to 17.5 percent, we have a lot of equipment in our business so we're going to see a tax break there. I was looking at the numbers just based on our simple tax bracket as my wife and I you know it's about a $2,500 benefit just for income tax alone," Oakley said in an interview.

So, [owner Ben] Oakley decided to share the tax break, "Yeah, I sat down with my wife two days ago, I'm like 'if this goes, I want to show people that one, Republicans care about the middle class.' My wife and I are middle class, our staff is middle class. – December 20, 2017 KIRO 7 News report excerpt  

Fremont Brewing (Seattle, Washington) – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allowed the company to expand healthcare benefits to employees' dependents: 

In 2017, Congress passed a tax cut for breweries, distillers, and wineries. Nelson said that allowed them to invest in additional employee benefits, like extending health benefits to employees’ dependents.

“We've got young people that are getting married and having families, and they are needing benefits,” she said. “So we decided that we would extend health benefits to the dependents of those families.” – Dec. 18, 2019, KIRO article.

Puget Sound Energy Inc. (Bellevue, Washington)

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) says it will pass all of a $96.5-million cut in federal taxes on to electric and natural gas customers.

The tax savings will cut residential electric bills by $3.50 a month and trim natural gas bills by $1.83 a month, according to a written statement from the organization. Those rate adjustments will take effect Tuesday. - April 30, 2018 the Seattle Times excerpt

Pacific Power and Light (Portland, Oregon) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

The first general rate case filed by Pacific Power in Washington since 2014, it also accelerates pass-through of remaining federal tax savings from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and depreciation of coal plant investments to remove coal, almost doubles the amount of wind generation being brought to Washington, establishes an advisory committee to oversee the development of new assistance programs for low-income customers and creates a new, flattened rate structure. - December 22, 2020 DailyEnergyInsider excerpt

Cascade Natural Gas (Kennewick, Washington) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

Rate changes for Cascade primarily are due to the purchased gas cost and decoupling mechanism, but they also include cost recovery for pipeline replacement, conservation programs, low-income assistance, and refunds related to excess deferred income taxes due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Kennewick-based Cascade serves more than 220,000 residential and business customers in 68 communities throughout the state, including Kennewick, Walla Walla, Sunnyside, Yakima, Wenatchee, Aberdeen, Bellingham, Bremerton, Longview, Moses Lake and Mount Vernon. - December 2019 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business excerpt

Northwest Natural Gas Company (Portland, Oregon) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

The Order authorizes NW Natural to provide federal tax reform benefits to customers related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted in December 2017. The Order directs NW Natural to provide customers with a rate reduction of $2.1 million over one year to reflect the benefit of the lower federal corporate income tax rate accumulating from January 1, 2018 through October 31, 2019, and provides an additional annual rate reduction initially set at approximately $0.5 million to reflect a benefit from the remeasurement of deferred tax liabilities of approximately $15.0 million. - Northwest Natural Gas Company document

Avista Corporation (Spokane, Washington) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

Avista’s (NYSE:AVA) electric and natural gas general rate cases have concluded, with an order issued by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (Commission or UTC). The Commission approved one-time electric and natural gas rate adjustments which will take effect May 1, 2018.

The Commission’s order approved electric rates designed to increase annual billed revenues by $10.8 million, or 2.1 percent and natural gas rates designed to decrease annual billed revenues by $2.1 million, or 1.6 percent. These revenues include the return to customers through base rates of approximately $26.9 million for electric service, and $5.5 million for natural gas service, as a result of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. - April 27, 2018 Avista press release

Sortis Holdings Inc. (Tukwila, Washington) -- The company announced it is building a mixed income senior living development located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Sortis Holdings Inc. (SOHI), a Portland, Oregon-based private equity firm, closed on equity funding for Tukwila Village Phase II, a mixed income senior living development in Tukwila, Washington. Sortis invested capital from its $100 million Sortis Opportunity Zone Fund alongside project sponsor Bryan Park, a Puyallup-based developer who has developed, owns and operates more than 5,000 senior living apartments in Washington. The completed project will be operated by Sustainable Housing for Ageless Generations, or SHAG, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

“By 2050, the population of individuals who are 65 and older in the U.S. is projected to double, yet rising rents and lack of supply have reduced the availability of affordable, high-quality housing in desirable locations for this population,” said Paul Brenneke, Sortis founder. “We believe delivering a high-quality project with attractive investment returns while simultaneously providing an affordable housing option to low-income seniors is a win-win.” -- August 29, 2019 Bushiness Wire article

Unico Properties (Tacoma, Washington) -- The company is creating an apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A controversial federal tax break is fueling the transformation of a historic downtown Tacoma office into apartments where residents will be able to enjoy a unique amenity: A basement bank vault, preserved from the days when the 18-story building was home to the Scandinavian American Bank.

When it was built in 1925, the twin-towered Washington Building was the second-tallest in the Pacific Northwest, after the 42-story Smith Tower. But by the time Seattle-based Unico Properties purchased the building in 2017, it was sparsely occupied and behind on needed repairs.

The company immediately announced plans to convert the building, four blocks north of the Museum of Glass, into 150 residential units.

Over the past two years, though, ballooning construction costs put a crimp in Unico’s plans for the adaptive-reuse project. Seattle-area construction expenses rose by nearly 14% in that period, according to the Mortenson Construction Cost Index.

Enter opportunity zone (OZ) financing.

Much of Tacoma has been declared eligible for opportunity zone tax breaks, a federal program signed into law at the end of 2017 allowing investors to shelter capital gains for up to 10 years by investing in projects in some low-income census tracts.

The program has come under fire nationally for benefiting wealthy investors while not aiding the poor communities it was meant to help, though local opportunity zone investors say they work hard to ensure their projects serve the state’s working class. Seattle’s first opportunity zone project, Pioneer Square’s Canton Lofts apartments, was supported by local officials including former City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. -- January 3, 2020 Seattle Times article

 

Vesta Hospitality (Vancouver, Washington) -- The company is building a hotel in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

The AC Hotel by Marriott design includes an internal parking garage on the second and third floors, event space on the first floor and office space with a corporate conference room on the seventh floor. The balcony on the seventh floor connects to the conference room, but there will be additional balconies on the building's east side.

...

The $50 million project will be partially financed by investors taking advantage of the newly designated opportunity zone in downtown Vancouver. Opportunity zones are an investment tool created by the 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that allow investors to defer capital gains taxes on qualified Opportunity Funds, which are invested in approved local zones.

The investment push is scheduled to kick off tonight at an event where Vesta Hospitality and representatives from Fairway America, the project's investment fund manager, will meet with interested investors and outline the details of the project and the opportunity zone regulations.

The investment fund is expected to raise about $16.4 million of the total, according to Fairway America partner Darris Cassidy, with the remainder of the funding coming from construction loans, although all of the budget numbers are still preliminary.

Seven opportunity zones have been designated in Clark County, but Cassidy said the downtown zone offers access to projects like the AC Hotel that wouldn't be possible in other areas.

“It's a unique opportunity — no pun intended — to build it on the waterfront,” he said.

Takach said the use of the zone is a lucky coincidence — the port selected Vesta's bid to build the hotel project in August 2017, four months before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law and eight months before the downtown Vancouver Opportunity Zone was approved.

But during the early stages of the planning process, the developers learned that the ground under the site included a significant amount of fill material, and the entire area's proximity to the Columbia River made it susceptible to soil liquefaction during an earthquake.

“As it is today, it can't support the weight of the hotel,” he said.

The site will require an estimated $3 million of ground stabilization work before construction can begin in earnest, Takach said, and there are contingency funds in place in case more ground issues crop up once the stabilization work gets underway.

It took about 10 months to design the ground stabilization plan, Takach said, and the rising costs of the operation began to threaten the entire project's financial viability. But then the opportunity zone happened to pop up during the delay period, offering a new financing option.

“I got lucky with this opportunity zone,” he said. “It actually made the project viable — I was really struggling with the numbers.”

With the design work wrapping up, Takach said Vesta will soon begin the process of securing permits from the city. The goal is to break ground later this year and be “fully under construction” by the end of the year, he said, although preliminary work such as ground stabilization will be underway in the coming months.

The hotel is targeted to open in the spring or summer of 2021, depending on how the project progresses. -- Feb. 21, 2019 The Columbian article

Galena Opportunity Fund (Bremerton, Washington) -- The organization is funding an apartment complex to be built in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: 

The Seattle developer behind an ambitious 22-story tower project in downtown Bremerton has filed permits with the city for a new mixed-use development at the same site on the corner of Washington Avenue and Sixth Street.

Mark Goldberg, the Seattle developer responsible for other projects in Bremerton – including the 400 condominiums up the street on Washington – is spearheading the new $33 million apartment complex on the site of the old Eagles building.

Plans call for a seven-story building with 110 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, two levels of parking with 78 spaces, and retail space on the ground floor. The two existing buildings on the block, which include the former home of the Bremerton Eagles and an eight-plex built in the 1940s, will be demolished.

In 2018, Goldberg's proposal for a 22-story tower with 224 apartments at the same location was met resistance from residents, who worried how a skyscraper would impact traffic and the neighborhood's character.

At the time, Mayor Greg Wheeler asked the city council to enact a moratorium on the city's eight-year multi-family tax exemption – which allows developers of projects of at least 10 units to pay no property taxes on the value of the building for eight years. The council ultimately didn't move approve the moratorium, and Goldberg is back with a scaled-down project.

Goldberg said he didn't move forward with the tower design because rising costs made it "borderline feasible" and because of feedback he'd received on the project.

"I got a lot of feedback from a lot of people and they just said it's really out of scale," Goldberg said.

For the new project, Goldberg is partnering with Galena Opportunity Fund, an Idaho-based real estate investment fund that looks to develop properties in "underfunded" areas in the Pacific Northwest.

Galena targets areas for development under the federal Opportunity Zone program, which allows people who invest in projects in "economically depressed" areas to defer or eliminate federal taxes on capital gains. Downtown Bremerton and parts of Port Orchard were designated as opportunity zones after the program was created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. -- October 27, 2019 Kitsap Sun article

Standard Companies (Savannah, Georgia) -- The company is building an apartment complex that will be located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A new multi-family housing development will soon transform the corner of Liberty and East Broad Streets, inside one of Savannah’s designated Federal Opportunity Zones.

Savannah’s three zones, which were created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act aim to spur investment in distressed communities throughout the country, were designated in 2018.

“We pride ourselves and focus on creating communities in both the physical and the social sense by finding ways to improve urban areas and revitalize them and bring them into their next phase as responsible stewards, which is exactly what we are hoping to do in Savannah,” said Steven Kahn, director for California-based Standard Companies, which will develop approximately 215 residential units at 601 Liberty St.

Standard’s plans call for a five-story building with a mixture of multi-family units, that will be market-rate driven and plans for commercial space on the property are still being flushed out, according to Tommy Attridge, director, southeast production for Standard.

An exact ground breaking date has not been announced and Standard declined to disclose a total investment cost.

“We’re still finalizing our design, but we’re eager to get started,” Attridge said.

The site, which is just under two acres, was previously owned by the City of Savannah. After putting out a public request for proposals in 2018, the city approved the sale of the site to Standard for $5.9 million in Aug. 2018. The Metropolitan Planning Commission approved the new construction plan in April 2019 and the sale of the property was finalized Dec. 2019.

The property also includes an existing building, which was built in 1927 as offices for the Atlantic Coastal Line Railroad. It previously housed the Catholic Diocese of Savannah before the city purchased the property for $3.5 million in 2015 with plans to renovate the structure to relocate several downtown departments. -- January 31, 2020 Savannah Now article

Nitze-Stagen (Seattle, Washington) -- The real estate firm is building a mixed-use building that will include student apartments and office space that is located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

That's why around here, investors and developers have been at pains to emphasize that their opportunity zone projects are very, very different. On the horizon in Washington's opportunity zones: Student housing in Bellingham. A mixed-use development in downtown Bremerton. Office parks in Arlington.

Last week, developers broke ground on Seattle's first opportunity zone development, an 80-unit Pioneer Square apartment building called Canton Lofts. The $1,795 studio apartments are aimed at people making between $60,000 and $90,000, the developers say.  -- October 27,  2019 Lewiston Tribune article

First Financial Northwest, Inc. (Renton, Washington) – $1,000 bonuses to all 138 non-executive employees:

First Financial Northwest, Inc. (the “Company”) (NASDAQ:FFNW), the holding company for First Financial Northwest Bank (the “Bank”), today reported that it has given all of its non-executive employees a special $1,000 after-tax bonus, regardless of role or tenure with the Company. The one-time bonus comes in response to the signing of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 which provides a lower tax rate for companies like First Financial Northwest, Inc. – a portion of the expected tax savings was shared with its approximately 138 non-executive employees.

Joseph W. Kiley III, President and Chief Executive Officer, included a handwritten note with the surprise payments thanking the team for its efforts in 2017 and looking forward to a great 2018. “Our employees drive the success of our Company, delivering unique, innovative solutions to our customers and building long-term banking relationships in our communities,” said Kiley. “We pride ourselves on providing excellent benefits, competitive salaries and the opportunity for participation in the Company's long-term success. The expected tax savings give us an opportunity to invest even more in our team.” – First Financial Northwest Inc. press release

The savings on individual customers’ bills, however, won’t be known until later this year.

Corporate tax rates for the Spokane-based utility dropped from 35 percent to 21 percent effective Jan. 1. Savings from the lower taxes will get passed on to Avista’s utility customers in Washington, Idaho and Oregon, said Mark Thies, senior vice president and chief financial officer.

--

The anticipated $50 million to $60 million in annual savings is the result of the lower federal tax rate and changes to Avista’s deferred tax liability related to depreciation costs. As the result of the depreciation changes, about $442 million will be returned to Avista customers over 35 years, Thies said.” -- Feb. 21, 2018 The Spokesman Review article excerpt

Utility Trench Technologies (Spokane, Washington) – The company was able to invest in its community because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Tax reform is twofold for our small business because the 20 percent deduction allows us greater revenues without additional tax liabilities—of at least 20 percent—and in turn we will spend that extra revenue locally,” Angela Gibson, owner of Utility Trench Technologies based in Spokane, Washington, said in the survey. “This tax reform helps our customers also.” – March 23, 2018, NFIB article.

HomeStreet, Inc. (Seattle, Washington) – Base wage increased to $15 per hour:

Today, HomeStreet, Inc. (Nasdaq: HMST), the parent company of HomeStreet Bank (“HomeStreet”) announced that it has raised its company minimum wage to $15 per hour across all 111 retail branches and lending centers in seven states. The increase took effect January 1, 2018. The announcement comes on the heels of the recently signed federal tax reform bill that cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

HomeStreet made the decision to increase its minimum wage in order to share the tax reform benefits with its employees. The change is particularly welcome as the cost of living continues to increase across the country.

“We’re dedicated to the incredible people who work at HomeStreet,” said Mark Mason, president and CEO of HomeStreet Bank. “We’re grateful to be in a position where we’re able to raise our minimum wage and reward our hardworking employees for the great work they do every day. – Jan. 16, 2018 HomeStreet, Inc. press release

 

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses for 3,890 Washington 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

Inland Northwest Bank (Spokane, Washington) – Base wage raised to $15; $500 bonuses to employees excluding Senior Management Team:

INB, a regional independent community bank, today announced that it plans to share a portion of its anticipated tax savings with its employees as a result of the federal tax reform legislation signed last week.

The new tax reform law will revamp the tax framework and reduce the maximum tax rate for corporations from 35 percent to 21 percent. Historically, INB’s parent company, Northwest Bancorp has paid the maximum tax rate so it expects a tax cut of approximately 14 percent.

At year-end 2017, INB will pay a bonus of $500 to each of its 200 employees, excluding its Senior Management Team. Additionally, it will establish the company’s minimum wage at $15 an hour effective, January 1st, 2018. INB will also adjust other employee wages for those making more than $15 an hour. The total wage adjustment will affect more than one third of their entire workforce.– Dec. 27, 2018 Inland Northwest Bank press release excerpt

Peoples Bank (Bellingham, Washington) – Base wage raised to $15 per hour; 401(k) match increased one point to 8%:

In response to the newly passed tax reform legislation, Peoples Bank    (https://www.peoplesbank-wa.com/) today announced new investments in its employees. Specifically, Peoples Bank will raise the minimum wage to $15 for all hourly employees, effective February 1, 2018, and will increase its 401K match one point to eight percent for all eligible employees, effective immediately

“These new employee benefits reflect our ongoing commitment to doing what is right at every step, and our People Come First philosophy which guides the decisions we make in support of our customers and employees,” said Charles LeCocq, Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer. “The new corporate tax reform package is an opportunity to give back to our employees, and recognize their hard work and dedication to providing our customers with a full relationship banking experience and exceptional customer service."  – Jan. 8 2018, Peoples Bank press release

Starbucks Coffee Company (Headquarters in Seattle, Washington and 757 store locations in Washington) – $500 stock grants for all Starbucks retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plant and support center employee stock grants, totaling more than $100 million in stock grants; 8,000 new retail jobs and 500 new manufacturing jobs; an additional wage increase this year, totaling approximately $120 million in wage increases, increased sick time benefits and parental leave:

“Starbucks pays above the minimum wage in all states across the country. In April, all eligible U.S. hourly and salaried partners will receive a second wage increase in addition to the annual increases that they have already received this fiscal year. This will include an investment of approximately $120 million in wage increases that will be allocated based on regional cost of living and laws that vary from state to state. 

On April 16, we will provide an additional 2018 stock grant for all eligible full-time, part-time, hourly and salaried U.S. partners across our stores, plants and support centers, who have been active as of Jan. 1, 2018. All Starbucks retail partners will receive at least a $500 grant, store managers will each receive $2000 grant and plant and support center partner (non-retail) grants will vary depending on annualized salary or level. This investment alone is valued at more than $100 million.  

A new Partner and Family Sick Time benefit will be available to all eligible U.S. partners, which will allow partners to accrue paid sick time based on hours worked and then use them if they or a family member needs care. When this benefit goes into effect this year, Sick Time will accrue at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, thus a partner working 23 hours a week can expect to accrue approximately five days of sick time benefit over the course of one year.

Starbucks has also reaffirmed their commitment to create more than 8,000 new part-time and full-time retail jobs and an additional 500 manufacturing jobs in its Augusta, Georgia soluble coffee plant.

For store partners, Starbucks has also expanded their parental leave policy to include all non-birth parents with up to 6 weeks of paid leave when welcoming a new child.” Jan. 24 2018, Starbucks Coffee Company press release excerpt

Washington Federal (Seattle, Washington) – according to a company statement, “all Washington Federal employees in good standing and earning less than $100,000 per year will receive a 5% increase on top of their normal merit increase.”

Washington Federal, Inc. (NASDAQ: WAFD) today announced with the signing of tax reform legislation, the Bank will accelerate strategic investments in its employees, client service capabilities and community development funding. – Dec. 20 2017, Washington Federal press release

Sound Financial Bancorp Inc. (Seattle, Washington) – increasing employee incentive compensation, expanding charitable giving, and implementing a down payment assistance program for first time homebuyers:

“Responding to H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Sound Community Bank is set to implement a series of employee and community benefits in 2018.

At the Annual Employee Meeting on February 3rd, President and CEO Laurie Stewart unveiled a suite of employee and community initiatives. These include enhancing employee incentive compensation, expanding charitable giving and implementing a down payment assistance program for first time homebuyers.

The increase to incentive compensation will allow both back office and front line employees to increase compensation for achieving goals.” – Feb. 9 2018, Sound Financial Bancorp Inc. press release excerpt

Premera Blue Cross (Mountlake Terrace, Washington) -- $1,500 bonuses for 2,600 employees.

Walmart – South Dakota employees at 67 Walmart stores received tax reform bonuses, wage increases, and expanded maternity and parental leave. Walmart employees who adopt children will be given $5,000 to help cover expenses.

Home Depot -- 45 locations in Washington - Bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's -- 5,000+ employees at thirty-six stores and a distribution in Washington. 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 (Six locations in Washington) – Tax reform bonuses to employees.

Dollar Tree, Inc. (Multiple locations in Washington) - $100 million investment in raising base wages, enhanced benefits including maternity leave for qualifying employees, and employee training.  

Best Buy -- Twenty-eight locations in Washington; $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees. 

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

Taco John’s (Locations in Fort Lewis, Kennewick, Spokane, McChord AFB): All full-time and part-time crew members received a $200 after-tax bonus:

Taco John’s International, Inc. announced today that in response to the 2018 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, the company gave part of its projected tax savings to its restaurant crews, general managers, corporate staff and CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees).

On Friday, Feb. 23, Taco John’s International, Inc.’s employees received a one-time bonus, as follows:

  • Every restaurant crew member - full-time and part-time - received $200 (after taxes);
  • General managers and employees at the Taco John’s Franchisee Support Center in Cheyenne received $1,000 each; and,
  • The Executive Council of Taco John’s International, Inc. (Vice Presidents and above) donated their $1,000 bonuses (a total of $10,000) to CORE, a national not-for-profit organization that grants support to children of food and beverage service employees who are navigating life-altering circumstances.
     

“At Taco John’s International, our team is our family, so sharing the financial benefits that were a result of the recent tax reform legislation only makes sense,” said Jim Creel, CEO of Taco John’s International, Inc. “We encourage other restaurant brands to follow our example and give a portion of their savings to the people that are at the heart of what we do and to great organizations like CORE that support our crew. One hundred percent of CORE’s funds directly benefit children of restaurant employees who have been afflicted with life-threating conditions.”

“We are so grateful to the Taco John’s team for their generous donation to our CORE family members,” said Lauren LaViola, executive director of CORE. “Donations like theirs help us provide for our food and beverage service families experiencing loss, illness and other life-changing circumstances, and help us get closer to our goal of helping even more families across all 50 states in 2018.”

The total amount that Taco John’s International, Inc. gave exceeded $150,000.00. – Feb. 28, 2018 Taco John’s International, Inc. press release

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

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

T.J. Maxx – (19 locations in Washington) – Tax reform bonuses, retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, and increased charitable donations:

The 2017 Tax Act benefited the Company in the fourth quarter and full year Fiscal 2018. The Company expects to continue to benefit from the 2017 Tax Act going forward, primarily due to the lower U.S. corporate income tax rate. As a result of the estimated cash benefit related to the 2017 Tax Act, the Company is taking the following actions:

Associates

  • A one-time, discretionary bonus to eligible, non-bonus-plan Associates, globally
  • An incremental contribution to the Company’s defined contribution retirement plans for eligible Associates in the U.S. and internationally
  • Instituting paid parental leave for eligible Associates in the U.S.
  • Enhancing vacation benefits for certain U.S. Associates

Communities

Made meaningful contributions to TJX’s charitable foundations around the world to further support TJX’s charitable giving – Feb. 28, 2018 The TJX Companies Inc. press release excerpt

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

FedEx (Multiple locations in Washington) – Accelerated and increased compensation; pension plan contributions:

FedEx Corporation is announcing three major programs today following the recently enacted U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

  • Over $200 million in increased compensation, about two-thirds of which will go to hourly team members by advancing 2018 annual pay increases by six months to April 1st from the normal October date. The remainder will fund increases in performance- based incentive plans for salaried personnel.
  • A voluntary contribution of $1.5 billion to the FedEx pension plan to ensure it remains one of the best funded retirement programs in the country.
  • Investing $1.5 billion to significantly expand the FedEx Express Indianapolis hub over the next seven years. The Memphis SuperHub will also be modernized and enlarged in a major program the details of which will be announced later this spring.

FedEx believes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will likely increase GDP and investment in the United States. -- Jan. 26 2018, FedEx press release

Waste Management Inc. (Multiple locations in Washington) -- $2,000 bonuses:

In light of the meaningful contributions of its employees and the new U.S. corporate tax structure, the company will distribute US $2,000 in 2018 to every North American employee not on a bonus or sales incentive plan; that includes hourly and other employees.

“We are about to get a tax benefit as our U.S. corporate tax rate goes from 35 percent to 21 percent. In considering how to best spend that, we wanted to find a way to help grow our economy, which in turn, will help grow our business, and give some of the tax savings back to those hardworking employees who do not get the opportunity to participate in our salaried incentive plans,” said Jim Fish, president and chief executive officer, Waste Management.

“So, we are offering each North American hourly full-time employee and salaried employee who does not participate in any sales incentive or bonus plan during 2018, a cash bonus of US $2,000 to show our appreciation to so many of our valued employees while growing our business and returning a good portion of the tax savings directly to the overall economy,” he continued. – Jan. 10 2018, Waste Management Inc. press release excerpt

McDonald’s (320+ locations in Washington) – 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 (135 locations in Washington) 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 Washington 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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How the Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Louisiana

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, July 1st, 2021, 10:30 AM PERMALINK

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

308,820 Louisiana households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

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

1,489,080 Louisiana 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.

64,330 Louisiana 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, Louisiana residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, at least eight utilities reduced their customers' bills (see below).

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

Entergy New Orleans (New Orleans, Louisiana) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

Entergy New Orleans filed with the New Orleans City Council Monday its proposal for implementing the benefits of the recent federal tax reform legislation. If approved by the council, customers would realize approximately $47 million annually in near-term tax savings and an additional $71 million in savings over the longer term.

"We're working to ensure that our customers receive timely benefits from the new tax reform legislation," said Charles Rice, president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans, LLC. "We're glad to pass on these additional savings by reducing rates below what they otherwise would be, especially during the hot summer months when energy usage rises along with the thermometer." - April 11, 2018 Entergy New Orleans press release

Cleco Corporation (Pineville, Louisiana) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

SWEPCO and CLECO customers will get a break on their monthly bills in the coming months thanks to lower federal taxes, Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell announced Wednesday.

For the average SWEPCO customers, bills will decline more than $13 per month for the next three months. For CLECO customers, bills will go down more than $12 per month for the next 12 months.

To be more specific, an average SWEPCO residential customer using 1,282 kilowatt-hours will receive a credit of $13.62 on their August, September and October electric bills, while an average CLECO residential customer using 1217 kilowatt-hours will get a $12 credit beginning next month and running through July 2020.

Extending the benefit, average SWEPCO bills for November 2019 through July 2020 will reflect reductions of $3.03 each month.

The overall impact is a reduction of $24.4 million for SWEPCO’s 231,000 Louisiana customers and a drop of $84 million for CLECO’s 285,000 customers. - July 10, 2019 KTBS News excerpt

Entergy Louisiana (New Orleans, Louisiana) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

Entergy Louisiana customers will see a series of rate reductions over the remainder of 2018 under an agreement approved today by the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

The first of the reductions will occur in May as a result of $210 million in federal tax reform-related savings, $105 million of which will be returned to customers over the next eight months, with the remaining half of these savings returned to customers over the following four years.  As a result, a typical residential customer using 1,000 kWh per month will see a roughly $4.20 decrease on monthly bills from May through December of this year.

A second reduction of approximately $2 per month on residential bills will occur in September 2018 as a result of additional credits tied to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act approved by Congress in late 2017. At the same time, Entergy Louisiana will begin realizing approximately $130 million in annual tax savings to offset the cost of upgrading infrastructure.

“Along with customer refunds, tax reform also helps provide us the ability to invest in modernizing our system for the benefit of customers while maintaining some of the lowest rates in the country,” Phillip May, president and CEO of Entergy Louisiana, said - April 18, 2018 Entergy Louisiana press release

Southwestern Electric Power Company (Shreveport, Louisiana) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

Average SWEPCO customers will see their monthly bills decline more than $13 per month for the next three months due to lower federal taxes paid by SWEPCO, according to Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell.

An average SWEPCO residential customer using 1,282 kilowatt-hours will receive a credit of $13.62 on their August, September and October electric bills. 

Extending the benefit, average SWEPCO bills for November 2019 through July 2020 will reflect reductions of $3.03 each month.

The overall impact is a reduction of $24.4 million for SWEPCO’s 231,000 Louisiana customers.  Exact impacts for customers will be based on their individual consumption. - July 10, 2019 Shreveport Times excerpt

Atmos Energy (Dallas, Texas) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

Income taxes, like all other prudently incurred costs, are passed through to our customers through our rates. Atmos Energy is committed to ensuring customers receive the full benefit of the changes in the utility’s cost of service resulting from the TCJA. As discussed in more detail below, the annual rate stabilization clause (“RSC”) process allows changes in the Company’s cost of service to be promptly reflected in its rates each year, as opposed to waiting for a general rate case. Through Atmos Energy’s RSC filing on December 22, 2017 (Trans La) and April 1, 2018 (LGS), the comprehensive impacts of TCJA will be reflected in customer rates as early as July 1, 2018, as described further below. However, if the Commission desires a quicker impact to rates, the Company is amenable to discussing accelerated solutions that will permit the current portion of the income tax expense savings to be implemented sooner. Below is a description of how these savings will be incorporated into Atmos Energy’s rates in the Louisiana Gas Service Rate Division (“LGS”) and the Trans Louisiana Gas Division (“TransLa”). 

A. LGS 

The Company will file its annual rate stabilization clause (“RSC”) filing before April 1, 2018. Included in this year’s filing will be an update to the federal income tax rate from 35% to 21% Based on the change in deficiency that results from the 35% to 21% income tax rate, the reduction to the 2017 LGS RSC filing for this item is expected to be approximately $5.9 million. 

The Company recorded excess deferred income taxes (“EDIT”) in its quarter ended December 31, 2017 related to LGS in the amount of $38.3 million. An estimate of the amortization period is not available at the time of this report. However if the EDIT is amortized over a period of forty years the annual reduction to cost of service is an additional $950,000, with a corresponding adjustment to rate base. 

The Company is working to establish an initial estimate for incorporating the EDIT into the RSC filing. The software modifications to incorporate the amortization into the books and records will take some months to perform. Therefore, the Company believes that an initial estimate is the best approach for this year’s filing. Any variances in the estimated amortization and actual amortization can be trued—up on a subsequent RSC filing. 

B. TransLa 

The Company filed its RSC filing on December 22, 2017; thus, the filing did not incorporate the impact of TCJ A. However, the Company and Commission Staff have agreed (Docket U—347l4) to suspend the April 1, 2018 implementation of rates to allow additional time for Staff’s consultant to conduct proper discovery and to incorporate the impacts of TC] A into the filing. The effect of reducing the income tax rate from 35% to 21% reduces the TransLa filing by approximately $2.5 million. 

The Company recorded EDIT in its quarter ended December 31, 2018 related to Trans La in the amount of $23.3 million. An estimate of the amortization period is not available at the time of this report. However if the EDIT is amortized over a period of forty years the annual reduction to cost of service is an additional $575,000, with a corresponding adjustment to rate base. 

The Company is working to establish an initial estimate for incorporating into discovery provided in the Trans La RSC filing. The software modifications to incorporate the amortization into the books and records will take some months to perform. Therefore, the Company believes that an initial estimate is the best approach for this year’s filing. Any variances in the estimated amortization and actual amortization can be trued—up on a subsequent RSC filing. - February 14, 2018 Louisiana Public Service Commission document

Ascension Wastewater Treatment, Inc. (Geismar, Louisiana) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

In summary, AWT’s 2018 estimated current income tax expense savings resulting from the passage of the TCJA totals $53,604 for an estimated $0.31 monthly rate reduction per ratepayer. All requirements to both record and adjust any regulatory liabilities as it relates to the reduced federal rate of 21% along with any excess accumulated deferred income taxes will be made, accordingly, subject to AWT’s ability to verify the actual amount of tax savings. - March 20, 2018 Louisiana Public Service Commission document

Pierre Part Natural Gas Company, Inc. (Raceland, Louisiana) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

Pierre Part further understands there will be two impacts from the tax reduction. First, there is a reduction in annual federal tax expense incurred by Pierre Part. Second, there is a reduction in the amount of accelerated deferred taxes that Pierre Part is required to reflect on its balance sheet and a corresponding increase in rate base. Each of these impacts is discussed below. 

Regarding the reduction in annual federal tax expense, Pierre Part estimates the reduction will be approximately $5,075 based on June 1, 2017 - July 31, 2018 fiscal year data. Current rates are based on federal tax expense of $12,689, which would be reduced to 7,615 based on a 21% tax rate, for a difference of $5,075.

Regarding the reduction in deferred taxes, Pierre Part estimates the reduction would be approximately $853 per year. The reduction of deferred taxes on the balance sheet would be $22,800, amortized over 25 years, for an annual amount of $853 after offsetting the corresponding effect of increased base rate. - March 20, 2018 Louisiana Public Service Commission document

South Coast Gas Co. (Raceland, Louisiana) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

South Coast further understands there will be two impacts from the tax reduction. First, there is a reduction in annual federal tax expense incurred by South Coast. Second, there is a reduction in the amount of accelerated deferred taxes that South Coast is required to reflect on its balance sheet and a corresponding increase in rate base. Each of these impacts is discussed below. 

Regarding the reduction in annual federal tax expense, South Coast estimates the reduction will be approximately $88,131 based on June 1, 2017 — July 31, 2018 fiscal year data. Current rates are based on federal tax expense of $220,329, which would be reduced to $132,198 based on a 21% tax rate, for a difference of $88,131. 

Regarding the reduction in deferred taxes, South Coast estimates the reduction would be approximately $10,146 per year. The reduction of deferred taxes on the balance sheet would be $271,268, amortized over 25 years, for an annual amount of $10,146 alter offsetting the corresponding effect of increased rate base. - March 20, 2018 Louisiana Public Service Commission document

Alpha Capital Partners - Lafayette (Lafayette, Louisiana) -- The company invested in an apartment complex located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A Pittsburgh-based real estate firm has bought the University Place Apartments, a 192-unit complex just south of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Alpha Capital Partners announced the purchase, which courthouse records show was for $12.5 million, from Connecticut-based Realco Capital Partners, of the property at 200 Oak Crest Drive.

University Place, one of the oldest around the UL campus, is currently the closest student housing to campus. It offers a pedestrian bridge connecting to the campus, a fitness center, swimming pool with LED lighting and a cyber café, Alpha officials said in the announcement.

Attempts to reach a spokesperson with Alpha about possible upgrades to the property were unsuccessful.

"The upside of this property provides the opportunity to reposition the asset and resident experience through a value-add strategy supported by significant capital that would not have been possible without the opportunity zone program," said Jide Famuagun, CEO of Alpha Capital Partners.

"The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has witnessed record setting enrollment for five consecutive years, and I believe that with the expertise our team brings, we will be successful in repositioning and rebranding this asset."

The purchase is the 10th student housing property for Alpha, which specializes in student housing and multi-family communities in secondary and tertiary markets. It is also one of five identified in its Opportunity Zone Fund, a $250 million fund launched last year to take part in the federal Opportunity Zone program.

An Opportunity Zone is a low-income Census tract area identified as having the potential for investment and redevelopment with tax breaks for companies and individuals who invest there, either by building a business themselves or investing with others through a fund.

"Our team has been working on the Opportunity Zone concept since summer 2018," Famuagun said. "We are very excited to acquire projects such as University Place into the fund." -- May 22, 2019 Acadiana Advocate article
 

Stine Home & Yard (Sulphur, Louisiana) – increasing base salary, increasing 401k matching, investing in new technology, investing in community:

Stine Home & Yard has increased the starting salary for employees and is going to increase 401k matching over the course of the next year.

"And then beyond that, we are investing back into our company," Stine says. "We have spent a lot of money on technology and we will continue to do so."

Stine says they plan on changing their legacy stores, investing not only in the company but in the community as well. – April 18, 2018, KPLC7.com article excerpt

Spillway Sportsman (Port Allen, Louisiana) - Expanding facilities:

“Mr. Speaker, back in my home State of Louisiana, we have seen companies like Spillway Sportsman, where I have spoken to Scott, the owner, expanding facilities and offering more services to customers” - June 8, 2018, Rep. Garret Graves statement on U.S. House Floor

New Orleans Redevelopment Fund (New Orleans, Louisiana) -- The fund is building a mixed-use apartment building for Tulane University medical that is located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

The New Orleans Redevelopment Fund has closed on $45 million in financing to convert the former Warwick Hotel into a mixed-use apartment building for Tulane University medical students.

NORF said in a news release Wednesday that the package consists of a construction financing facility provided by Hancock Whitney Bank and a bridge loan for Historic Tax Credits by Midland State Bank.

....

“We’re thrilled to partner with Tulane as it executes on its bold vision for downtown. Further, as a fellow New Orleanian, I am incredibly excited for the promise this development brings to the neighborhood and Duncan Plaza in a time where we see significant uncertainty. Despite challenging market conditions and the complexity of this project, we utilized our unique expertise in Qualified Opportunity Zones and Historic Tax Credits to get this project financed on schedule,” saiad NORF’s Development Director Cullan Maumus. -- April 1, 2020 New Orleans City Business article

 

HRI Communities (Lafayette, Louisiana) --The company is building an apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.:

HRI will transform the block into the Bottle Art Lofts, a 105-unit apartment complex for artists and others, Collen said.

"Phase 1 is fully funded and under construction," he said. "It will be open this time next year."

The first phase, Collen said, will transform two buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, a building on Cameron Street that was the former Coca-Cola Bottling plant and a warehouse behind it, into 40 apartments.

The buildings were owned by Greg and Stephanie Dugan, who for years worked to establish the historic status of the buildings and to revitalize the neighborhood, once a thriving area of the city that in the past decade or more was plagued by drugs and prostitution.

Phase 2 of the Bottle Art Lofts involves demolition of the LessPay Motel and construction of 65 apartments on University Avenue. Cullen said the developers are hoping to close on all financing and start construction by the end of 2020. It should take about 14 months to build.

The entire project will bring 105 residential apartments to University Avenue at Cameron Street, which residents and leaders hope will spark additional development in the neighborhood. That area of University Avenue is part of an Opportunity Zone which awards tax breaks for new commercial development. -- June 15, 2020 The Acadiana Advocate article

Canal Coffee Shops (Bossier City, Louisiana) - Opening new locations:

“Starting in 2016, Mr. James and his partner, Pricilla Mayfield, opened their anchor store in downtown Kinder – small-town Louisiana. Remarkably, he built his business from the ground up and never took a loan. He went out and was a risk-taker, an entrepreneur, and it worked. He expanded his business to include shops in Oberlin and Shreveport which is our largest metro area in the district,” Johnson explained. “And now, with the implementation of our tax reform and our pro-growth, pro-business policies, Mr. James tells me he plans to open a fourth and now a fifth location in the very near future. This is a great success story, and this is the kind of thing we are seeing all around the country.” - June 21, 2018, Bossier Press article excerpt

Complex Chemical Company Incorporated (Tallulah, Louisiana) - hiring more workers, raising wages and making critical new investments:

Thanks to tax reform, Complex Chemical Company Incorporated of Tallulah, Louisiana, is hiring more workers, raising wages and making critical new investments that will help grow its business.

Travis Melton, Complex Chemical’s vice president of sales and marketing, said that his company’s first order of business after tax reform passed was to give an immediate raise to every single one of its 120 employees. It’s the first time in several years that the company was able to give such substantial, across-the-board pay increases.

Melton also explained that tax reform is helping Complex Chemical reinvest in its business and accelerate its expansion plans.

“We’ve had an expansion in the works for two years,” Melton said. “Because the corporate tax rates have been reduced, it’s easier for us to move forward with this expansion and another one we have around the corner. Tax reform helps move these investments.” - July 18, 2018, National Association of Manufacturers article excerpt

Solscapes (Lecompte, Louisiana) – The owner says that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will help her create new jobs and expand:

Like Brown, Iviana Stewart said her small business has also been expanding. About 70 people work for Stewart’s small business, Solscapes, which provides landscaping services for utilities and energy companies. Stewart said her company, based in Louisiana, would benefit from the tax law’s provisions for business expensing.

Before the new tax law went into effect, businesses could expense equipment up to $500,000 under Section 179 of the tax code. The new law doubled the limit to a $1 million deduction per tax year. (The total spending cap per year, which is expensable over multiple years, is at $2.5 million). 

For some businesses, like those just looking to upgrade computers or restaurants replacing an oven, that won’t make a big difference. But Stewart said the change will mean that the large equipment she buys, like bucket trucks and chippers, which regularly run around $500,000, will now be entirely deductible. 

“Now there’s more money in my pocket so I can grow my business and facilitate addition,” she said. “I can create more jobs. I can buy more equipment. I can expand.” – Feb. 27, 2018, PBS News article.

The Annex Group (Ruston, Louisiana) -- The company announced they are building an affordable student housing complex near Louisiana Tech University in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

The Annex Group, LLC, a leading student and affordable housing developer, announces today the closing of an $18 million purpose built, multifamily housing development located at 509 W. Line Ave., in Ruston.

The new development will break ground this month and is set to be delivered in August 2020.

The 118-unit (324 bed) purpose built, multifamily housing complex – dubbed The Annex of Ruston – will serve as one of the first off-campus properties financed using an opportunity zone investment structure. The development will include sought-after amenities such as a swimming pool, exercise room, study lounges, secured parking and more.

"We are thankful for the opportunity to provide adequate and affordable housing for the students of Louisiana Tech University and other members of the community," said Kyle Bach, CEO of The Annex Group. "This new development will be our first in the state of Louisiana and we're excited to bring this community to the city of Ruston."

The fully furnished apartments will rent individually by the bed for students, with one-bedroom units starting at $725 per bed. Two-bedroom units will be available to rent starting at $690 per bed, three-bedroom units available starting at $560 per bed, and four-bedroom units available starting at $509 per bed.

The project was financed with the help of KeyBank. The Annex Group worked in collaboration with the city of Ruston, KTGY Architecture and HGA Engineering to develop the proposed structure.

"The city is excited to work with The Annex Group who will construct Ruston's newest purpose built, multifamily housing development that will continue to fill a need for Louisiana Tech students," said Mayor Ronny Walker. "The Annex approached the city about building this development but had three requirements: It must be close to Louisiana Tech to allow for ease of access, it had to be along the Greenway to provide safe transportation options and access to the surrounding neighborhood, and it had to be in an underdeveloped area to serve as a catalyst for further economic development. The Annex Group has a vision similar to ours, and we believe they will be a great community partner for years to come."

"We took our style cues for Annex Ruston from the local design vernacular: white board and batten siding with red brick accents, double-hung windows and black shingled roofs with standing-seam metal accents reinforce the southern feeling," said Craig Pryde, AIA, LEED AP, Principal of KTGY's Chicago office. "The enclave of student apartments is planned around a central club house and pool area. We worked with the natural slope of the property, arranging the buildings around breezeways, convenient parking and pedestrian walkways. The effect is ease of access for residents with a sense of privacy and community in a gated complex."

This development will be steps away from Louisiana Tech's newly integrated Engineering and Science building, expected to be completed in the fall. Nearby also will be the newly planned Rock Island Greenway Trail, which will run directly adjacent to the new development and through the campus of Louisiana Tech University and into downtown Ruston. -- March 18, 2019 The News Star article

LHC Group (Lafayette, Louisiana) – Pay raises, increased 401(k) contributions and enhanced employee benefits:

According to a March 13, 2018 internal email to 15,000 employees from Chairman and CEO Keith Myers, due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act there will be positive adjustments to compensation as well as increased 401(k) contributions and enhanced employee benefits. Details will be released March 29. A portion of the email states:

I want to point out the positive impact the “Tax Cut and Jobs Act” will have for our company and for each of you.

As a result of this legislation, our company’s effective tax rate has been reduced from roughly 41 percent to a projected range of 29-30 percent for 2018. Because of our reduced tax burden, we will be able to make important investments in our company, including additional investments  in our greatest asset – our people. But rather than making a small, short-term financial overture, we have decided to make meaningful investments in 2018 that will positively impact our employees – in a sustainable and long-term fashion. These investments include:

  • An opportunity for increases in annual merit raise percentages
  • Offsetting a portion of the future increases in health insurance premiums
  • An enhanced 401(k) plan
  • The expansion of our overall benefit offering to provide more choices and options

We have already begun incorporating the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) new withholding amounts in each of your paychecks. While every employee’s situation is different, according to the government, most employees should see an increase in take-home pay as a result of the new updated tax tables.

Continental Rail (Tallulah) – $500 bonuses for approximately 20 employees at Continental Rail’s Delta Southern Railroad in Tallulah, Louisiana: 

President Donald Trump, his administration and Congress recently passed a bill that overhauls the U.S. tax code.  One of the biggest changes it makes is slashing the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.

Beginning in 2018, we will see benefits from this tax reform, in the form of lower corporate tax rates.  We are excited about the benefits it will provide for our country's economy, our Company, and our employees,  In the spirit of shared success, we will pass  those benefits along to employees.  Each employee will receive a $500 bonus (before taxes) in their paycheck next Friday, February 2, 2018.  We believe this is the right thing to do! – Excerpt from Jan. 24, 2018 letter to employees from John Marino, President & CEO

Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Company (New Orleans) – base wage increased to $12 per hour; additional $75,000 in charitable donations:

Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Company CEO & President Guy T. Williams announced a 50% increase in funds to be given away in its Community Rewards Program – an annual online contest hosted by Gulf Coast Bank that awards funds to the top 10 nonprofit organizations voted on by the community.

Williams said, “This year we are increasing the amount to be given away in our Community Rewards Program from $50,000 to $75,000 in response to the tax reform bill and because we want to help our local nonprofits even more."

Gulf Coast Bank has also raised its minimum wage to $12.00 dollars per hour effective Monday, January 8, 2018. – Jan. 4, 2018 Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Company press release

Lowe's -- 4,000 employees at 31 stores in Louisiana. 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.

Metairie Bank and Trust (Metairie, Louisiana) – $1,000 cash bonuses; increase base wage to $12 per hour:

Metairie Bank and Trust has approved a cash bonus of $1,000 for all of its 120 employees and will increase its hourly minimum wage to $12 per hour, the Jefferson Parish-based bank announced Friday.

Ron Samford, president and CEO of $390-million-asset Metairie Bank, said the recent enactment of President Trump’s tax reform bill provided “a substantial benefit to the bank, through significantly lower corporate income tax rates.”

“We will invest some of those savings in our workforce through these actions and will also look to increase our commitment to community enrichment efforts,” – Jan. 26 2018, New Orleans CityBusiness article excerpt

T.J. Maxx – 14 stores in Louisiana – tax reform bonuses, retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, and charitable donations:

The 2017 Tax Act benefited the Company in the fourth quarter and full year Fiscal 2018. The Company expects to continue to benefit from the 2017 Tax Act going forward, primarily due to the lower U.S. corporate income tax rate. As a result of the estimated cash benefit related to the 2017 Tax Act, the Company is taking the following actions:

Associates

  • A one-time, discretionary bonus to eligible, non-bonus-plan Associates, globally

  • An incremental contribution to the Company’s defined contribution retirement plans for eligible Associates in the U.S. and internationally

  • Instituting paid parental leave for eligible Associates in the U.S.

  • Enhancing vacation benefits for certain U.S. Associates

Communities

Made meaningful contributions to TJX’s charitable foundations around the world to further support TJX’s charitable giving. – Feb. 28, 2018 The TJX Companies Inc. press release excerpt

Walmart – 124 locations in Louisiana -- Over 21,000 Louisiana Walmart and Sam's Club employees are receiving tax reform bonuses of up to $1,000. Over 18,000 Louisiana Walmart and Sam's Club employees are receiving a wage increase. The Louisiana bonuses and pay increases amount to $37,471,955. Hourly wages raised to at least $11 per hour. The company also expanded maternity and parental leave and now provides $5,000 for adoption expenses.

Iberia Bank (LaFayette, Louisiana) – Pay raises of $2 per hour; $1,000 bonuses:

IBERIABANK (www.iberiabank.com), the 130-year-old subsidiary of IBERIABANK Corporation (NASDAQ: IBKC), announced today, that following the passage of the new federal tax reform legislation, the Company will invest a portion of savings in its associates in two meaningful ways:

-Pay raise of $2/hour* will be given to non-exempt, non-commissioned associates, who currently earn $15 per hour or less, ranging from an average of 12% to as much as a 23% increase, in base compensation.      

-$1000 cash bonus* will be paid to all part-time and full-time associates who currently earn between $15/hour and $100,000 annually in base pay "In total, these investments benefit nearly 80% of our associates. We are very proud of our team, and we are pleased to reward those who take care of our clients and our communities every day in extraordinary ways," says Daryl G. Byrd, President and CEO of IBERIABANK Corporation. "Continuing to invest in our people helps us to attract and retain high quality associates, which translates into strong financial performance and positive results for our stakeholders." -- Jan. 26, 2018 Iberia Bank press release

AT&T --  $1,000 bonuses to 3,934 Louisiana 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

Apple (Apple store locations in Baton Rouge and Metairie) -- $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.

BancorpSouth Bank (multiple locations in Louisiana) – pay raises for over 70 percent of employees; $1,000 bonuses for nearly 20 percent of employees: 

BancorpSouth Bank today announced an additional investment in its employees, which includes pay increases and /or one-time bonuses to nearly all non-commissioned employees.

The investment of over $10 million in 2018 will benefit 96% of the Company's non-commissioned workforce. Pay increases were effective January 1, 2018.

"We are proud to reward our team with this opportunity since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act should benefit everyone" said Dan Rollins, Chairman and CEO. "BancorpSouth's continued and future success is based on the economic vitality of the communities we serve and taking care of our teammates allows us to provide the very best service to our customers, communities and shareholders." – Jan. 3, 2018 BancorpSouth Bank press release

-----------------------

The increased compensation overall at BancorpSouth affected more than 70 percent of all employees, and provided a $1,000 bonus to nearly 20 percent of all employees.

BancorpSouth employs some 4,000 employees in more than 230 locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas, plus an insurance location in Illinois. – Jan. 4, 2018 Daily Journal/BizBuzz article

Home Depot -- 28 locations in Louisiana, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

CarMax (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) – $250-$1,500 bonuses depending on length of service:

“The nation’s largest retailer of used cars, announced plans to provide one-time bonuses to most hourly and commissioned full-time and part-time associates as a result of the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Bonus amounts will vary from $200 up to $1,500 based on length of service with the company.” – Feb 23. 2018, EPR Retail News article excerpt

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

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

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

Ryder (Eleven locations in Louisiana) -- Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Starbucks Coffee Company (84 locations in Louisiana) – $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. 

McDonald’s (275+ locations in Louisiana) – 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 

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

Note: If you know of other Louisiana 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


How the Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping California

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, July 1st, 2021, 9:15 AM PERMALINK

California is benefiting greatly from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by Republicans in 2017:

2,649,200 California households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

Every income group in every California congressional district received a tax cutNationwide, 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.

11,633,710 California 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.

553,000 California 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, California residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, at least twelve California utilities reduced their customers' bills (see below).

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

Mission Produce (Oxnard, California) -- $1,000 bonuses; investment in new facilities and technology:

Mission Produce, an avocado distributor based in Oxnard, is rewarding employees in response to the recent federal tax cut.

“We are giving all our U.S.-based employees a $1,000 bonus,” President and CEO Steve Barnard said at a recent company meeting. “We applaud President Trump for spearheading the action needed to pass tax reform. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 created a meaningful impact on Mission’s business. We plan to invest the tax savings in new facilities and technology to create opportunities for the company and for our employees. It’s only fair that we share the benefits that tax reform will have on our business with our valued employees.” — Feb. 22 2018, Reno Gazette Journal excerpt

Footwork International Inc. (Torrance, California) – Was able to create new jobs and increase wages because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

“Tax Reform allows my business options to exercise many small business struggles with high tax rate,” said Jim Wang, owner of Footwork International Inc. in Torrance, California. “By allowing higher retaining income rate, this enables us to exercise growth options such as staffing, wage increase, purchasing power to keep our business competitive both domestically and globally.”– March 23, 2018, NFIB article.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (San Francisco, California) - the utility is passing along tax cut savings to customers:

PG&E is taking action to pass along approximately $450 million in annual tax savings to its customers. As a first step, today PG&E made three separate filings requesting to pass along approximately $325 million per year in federal tax savings from the  federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for 2018 and 2019. PG&E has proposed to the CPUC that the benefits of the federal tax savings be used to offset expected rate increases. - March 30, 2018, PG&E Press Release

California Water Service (San Jose, California) – The utility is passing along tax cut savings to customers:

California Water Service (Cal Water) submitted a filing with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) yesterday to decrease revenue needed in its service areas by almost $18 million, due to changes in federal tax laws and CPUC-authorized capital equity and debt financing costs. If approved as submitted, new rates reflecting the lower tax rates and financing costs will be effective July 1, 2018. – May 30, 2018 GlobeNewsWire article excerpt

Southern California Gas Company (Los angeles, California) – The utility is passing along tax cut savings to customers:

SoCalGas tax savings from the TCJA to be refunded to ratepayers is $75 million. - January 2020 Energy Division document

Golden State Water Company (San Dimas, California) – The utility is passing along tax cut savings to customers:

Golden State Water Company, which services Rancho Cordova, Gold River, and Arden Manor, wants to lower water rates for customers.

The water agency filed paperwork with the California Public Utilities Commission to decrease the rate by 2.88% for metered customers and 2.86% for flat-rate customers. The change, if approved, would take effect July 1, 2018.

Golden State Water made the decision to cut rates after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lowered its income tax rate from 35% to 21% on January 1, 2018. Golden State Water may retroactively credit customers if it determines there was a revenue surplus from January 1, 2018-June 30, 2018. It is also adjusting its rate proposal for 2019-2021, which it submitted in July 2017- before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law. - June 13, 2018 CBS Sacramento news excerpt

Suburban Water Systems (Covina, California) – The utility is passing along tax cut savings to customers:

This Resolution grants Suburban Water Systems’ (Suburban) request in Advice Letter No. 348 the authority to amortize the 2019 amount of $289,879 or 0.34% of authorized revenues, recorded in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Memorandum Account (TCJAMA) related to the 2019 excess accumulated deferred federal income tax (ADFIT) not reflected in rates for the period January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019. The 2019 balance of the TCJAMA will be amortized as a single monthly bill credit based on the customer’s meter size. The credit amount includes interest and is to refund the excess ADFIT related to 2019 revenue requirement not currently reflected in rates. - September 24, 2020 California Public Service Commission document

San Jose Water Company (San Jose, California) – The utility is passing along tax cut savings to customers:

This Resolution grants San Jose Water Company’ (SJWC) request in Advice Letter No. 537 & 537A, the authority to refund the over collected amount of $6,624,690 for the period January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018, or 1.75% of authorized revenues,recorded in the 2018 Tax Accounting Memorandum Account (TAMA). The balance is associated with changes in tax expenses resulting fromTax Cut and Jobs Act signed into law December 22, 2017 that among other matters reduced the federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% effective January 1, 2018. The TAMA should be closed and the balance transferred to a 2018 Tax Accounting Balancing Account to amortize the refund. The 2018 balance in the TAMA will be refunded as a one-time bill credit based on the customer’s meter size. The bill credit is effective beginning on January 21, 2020 as shown below. Any over or under refunded balance in the 2018 Tax Accounting Balancing Account once the amortization period concludes should be addressed in the context of SJWC’s 2022 Test Year general rate case. - January 16, 2020 California Public Service Commission document

California American Water Company (San Diego, California) – The utility is passing along tax cut savings to customers:

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today approved a decision in the company’s general rate case for new water and wastewater rates for customers statewide.

The company’s rate request, which was filed in July 2016, will set rates through 2020. The decision approves approximately $103 million in capital investment in infrastructure replacements and improvements in 2018 and 2019.

“We are extremely proud of our significant level of system investment, combined with operational efficiency measures and innovative technologies, to ensure continued water quality, service reliability and fire protection for the more than 600,000 Californians who depend on us every day,” said Rich Svindland, President of California American Water. “This decision enables us to continue this important work on behalf of our customers, while balancing the cost impact for them.”

The decision approves a $10.3-million annual increase in authorized water and wastewater revenues for California American Water compared to previously authorized rates in the fall of 2016. The increase reflects savings generated by changes in federal tax law from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the 2018 Cost of Capital decision. - December 13, 2018 American Water press release

California-Oregon Telephone Company (Dorris, California) – The utility is passing along tax cut savings to customers:

Staff has recalculated the tax impact of the TCJA to include the excess deferred tax impact. Prior to the enactment of the TCJA, Cal-Ore’s deferred income tax liability balance was $1,182,356.  On January 1, 2018, the new tax rate of 21% resulted in deferred income tax of $730,279 causing an excess deferred tax reserve of $452,077.  This $452,077 should be returned to ratepayers ratably over the remaining life of the assets that gave rise to the excess tax reserve balance.  The TCJA provides guidance for the return of the excess deferred tax reserve under normalization rules.   In summary, the TCJA rules say that if the excess deferred taxes are to be reduced, they should be reduced no faster than using the average rate assumption method (ARAM).  But if the utility does not have the appropriate vintage data to use ARAM, an alternative method based on a composite rate is allowed.   

As a result, Staff recommends the $452,077 excess deferred income tax reserve should be returned to ratepayers over the weighted average of the remaining useful life of Cal-Ore’s depreciable assets as of December 31, 2017.  Appropriately, as the excess deferred tax reserve is returned to Cal-Ore’s ratepayers, rate base will be incrementally increased by $33,737 per year (as the $452,077 excess remaining in the deferred tax account will be incrementally decreased as it is returned to ratepayers). - August 9, 2018 California Public Service Commission document

Southern California Edison (Rosemead, California) – The utility is passing along tax cut savings to customers:

Representatives from Southern California Edison told the Union-Tribune the utility is reducing the total revenue it is requesting before the CPUC in its general rate case by about $139 million this year, about $185 million in 2019 and $235 million in 2020, largely due to the tax cut.

Without the legislation, Edison expected residential customers would see an average monthly increase of $1.51 a month this year, $5.01 in 2019 and $6.83 in 2020.

With the tax cut, the figures would drop to a 6-cents decrease per month in 2018, a $3.98 increase in 2019 and a $5.56 increase in 2020, based on average monthly usage of 550 kilowatt-hours. - August 16, 2018 San Diego Union-Tribune article

San Diego Gas & Electric (San Diego, California) – The utility is passing along tax cut savings to customers:

Sempra GRC Gas Highlights:

Disallowed SDG&E’s request to use 2018 tax savings from Tax Cuts & Job Act (TCJA) to offset expense for helicopter for fires and liability insurance, and to refund the $12 million tax savings to ratepayers over 2 years - January 2020 Energy Division document

Calaveras Telephone Company (Copperopolis, California) – The utility is passing along tax cut savings to customers:

Staff recalculated the tax impact of the TCJA to include the excess deferred tax impact. Prior to the enactment of the TCJA, Calaveras’ deferred income tax liability balance was $145,643. On January 1, 2018, the new tax rate of 21% resulted in deferred income tax of $89,956 causing an excess deferred tax reserve of $55,687. This $55,687 should be returned to ratepayers ratably over the remaining life of the assets that gave rise to the excess tax reserve balance, The TCJA provides guidance for the return of the excess deferred tax reserve under normalization rules. In summary, the TCJA rules say that if the excess deferred taxes are to be reduced, they should be reduced no faster than using the average rate assumption method (ARAM).   

Accordingly, Staff has adjusted the $55,687 excess deferred income tax reserve and returned it to ratepayers over the weighted average of the remaining useful life of Calaveras’ depreciable assets as of December 31, 2017.  Appropriately, as the excess deferred tax reserve is returned to Calaveras’ ratepayers, rate base will be incrementally increased by $10,507 per year (as the $55,687 excess remaining in the deferred tax account will be incrementally decreased as it is returned to ratepayers). - August 23, 2018 California Public Service document 

Sierra Telephone Company (Oakhurst, California) – The utility is passing along tax cut savings to customers:

Staff has recalculated the tax impact of the TCJA to include the excess deferred tax impact. Prior to the enactment of the TCJA, Sierra’s deferred income tax liability balance was $5,131,347.  On January 1, 2018, the new tax rate of 21% resulted in deferred income tax of $3,169,361 causing an excess deferred tax reserve of $1,961,986.  This $1,961,986 should be returned to ratepayers ratably over the remaining life of the assets that gave rise to the excess tax reserve balance.  The TCJA provides guidance for the return of the excess deferred tax reserve under normalization rules. In summary, the TCJA rules say that if the excess deferred taxes are to be reduced, they should be reduced no faster than using the average rate assumption method (ARAM). But if the utility does not have the appropriate vintage data to use ARAM, an alternative method based on a composite rate is allowed.    

As a result, Staff recommends the $1,961,986 excess deferred income tax reserve should be returned to ratepayers over the weighted average of the remaining useful life of Sierra’s depreciable assets as of December 31, 2017. Appropriately, as the excess deferred tax reserve is returned to Sierra’s ratepayers, rate base will be incrementally increased by $316,449 per year (as the $316,449 excess remaining in the deferred tax account will be incrementally decreased as it is returned to ratepayers). - August 9, 2018 California Public Service Commission document

360 REIT (North Hollywood, California) -- The company is building a 190-lot manufactured home community in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.:

Located in an Opportunity Zone at 8250 Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood, California, Hollywood Backlot Homes will be operated as a detached multifamily rental community. The redevelopment program will involve the sponsor designing and installing nearly 140 manufactured homes. The master-planned community environment will provide renters with the comforts of class A multifamily amenities, including an outdoor pool, clubhouse, gym, billiards and gaming center, dog runs, barbeque and outdoor lounging area and gated entry. The community's attainable price points will allow renters otherwise looking for an apartment to enjoy the privacy and extra space of a detached single-family home.

Mauricio Oberfeld, Co-Founder of Multi-Opp, LLC, said, "When we discovered the Hollywood Backlot Homes property, we immediately realized it would be the perfect property to launch our detached multifamily rental concept, where renters can enjoy all the benefits of a class A multifamily asset while living in a detached residential environment with attainable rents. We believe this project embodies the true goal of the Opportunity Zone legislation, to encourage investment, housing and job creation in designated Opportunity Zones, in addition to providing an affordable option for individuals who may need extra physical space for protection against COVID-19. We are thrilled to have closed the acquisition with financing from 3650 REIT, who understood our vision and was able to navigate an incredibly complex transaction in less than 30 days." -- June 17, 2020 press release

Ralphs (Los Angeles, California) – The supermarket is hiring over 600 positions in partnership with their sister store, Food 4 Less, because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Need a job? Supermarket partners Ralphs and Food 4 Less are now hiring to fill more than 600 open positions in their Southern California supermarkets.

"We have a variety of part-time positions that we need to fill in every Ralphs and Food 4 Less store in Southern California," said Kendra Doyel, senior director of human resources for Ralphs and Food 4 Less. "Positions are available to friendly and engaging people in most every department including front end, deli, meat, bakery and grocery."

Positions are also available at select stores in support of Ralphs' online ordering service, ClickList.

The positions for which Ralphs and Food 4 Less are hiring offer competitive wages, flexible schedules, benefits and room for advancement.

Job seekers interested in applying for a position at their local Ralphs supermarket should apply online at jobs.ralphs.com. Those applying for a position at a Food4 Less store are asked to apply at jobs.food4less.com.  

"Ralphs and Food 4 Less are great places to work where you can come for a job and stay for a career," Doyel added. "We are committed to creating great entry-level jobs and investing in our associates so they can reach their full potential. We are looking forward to adding many great people to our teams at Ralphs and Food 4 Less." – April 12, 2018, Ralphs and Food 4 Less press release.

Urban Catalyst and Urban Community (San Jose, California) -- The companies are building a mixed-use space in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

The site of the former Lido night club in downtown San Jose is headed for a major facelift that would preserve the property's key historic elements and add offices, retail, a restaurant and a new fountain, according to preliminary documents on file with city officials.

Fountain Alley Building is the working title for the project that would rise on South First Street in downtown San Jose and bring a mix of office, retail and dining spaces to the site, which is next to another historic building, the Bank of Italy office tower.

The six-story development is expected to total at least 50,000 square feet, according to planning documents and project builders.

"The new building will be predominantly retail and restaurant on the ground level and office on levels two through six," according to public documents submitted by the developers and Studio Current, which has designed the project.

The project has emerged as a joint effort by two San Jose-based real estate and investment companies: Urban Catalyst, headed by developer Erik Hayden, and Urban Community, led by developer Gary Dillabough.

"The corner of the building at South First and Fountain Alley will have a water fountain to identify it as the Fountain Alley Building," stated the documents on file with the city.

The 36 S. First St. structure is officially known as the Knox Goodrich Building and was constructed by Sarah Knox-Goodrich in 1889, according to a marker outside the building that described it as a "charming commercial structure."

She was "a strong advocate of women's rights and organized San Jose's first Woman Suffrage Association in 1869," the marker states. Her first husband, William Knox, was co-founder of San Jose's first bank. Her second husband, Levi Goodrich, was the architect of old county courthouses in San Jose, Monterey and San Diego.

The developers intend to upgrade and preserve the historic Knox Goodrich building so it can become the primary lobby entrance for the new office building, according to the planning documents.

"Special care will be given to maintain the entire 1889 building and the historic facade while renovating the entry lobby," the developers said in the city files.

Dillabough has begun wide-ranging renovations and revivals of multiple historic or older buildings in downtown San Jose, notably the Bank of Italy office tower.

The renovation of the old Lido Club property is made possible, in part, because it's located in an opportunity zone. In numerous communities in the United States, opportunity zones have been enabled by President Donald Trump's tax-cut initiative.

Urban Catalyst, Hayden's firm, was formed to create an opportunity fund that would provide development expertise and cash for selected properties in Bay Area districts that have been designated as opportunity zones. Large sections of downtown San Jose, as well as parts of Oakland and San Francisco, are in opportunity zones.

Potentially the first project in the San Jose opportunity zone would be the redevelopment of the Lido Club site. -- April 4, 2019 San Jose Mercury article

New York Life Real Estate (Oakland, California) -- The company is building an apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

While downtown Oakland has lured major investments from big-name investors, West Oakland was largely overlooked — until now.

New York Life Real Estate Investors is among the first institutional investors to place a bet on West Oakland. The firm plans to invest $18 million into The Union, a 110-unit apartment building at 532 Union St.

Holliday Development plans to build out most of the project at Factory OS, its modular construction facility in Vallejo.

“This investment legitimizes the location and Factory OS,” said Brett Mlinarich, vice president with Highland Realty Capital Inc., who arranged the investment. “New York Life saw the opportunity to be the first.”

The Union, designed by David Baker Architects, will cost about $46 million to develop and will be one of first residential projects in Oakland built using modules. That type of construction involves producing building components made in a factory that are later stacked onsite to create a new structure.

The project site, formerly owned by Caltrans, is three blocks from the West Oakland BART Station.

“West Oakland has really become something special and it’s in an Opportunity Zone,” Mlinarich said, referring to a tax credit program that encourages long-term investment in designated low-income urban and rural areas. -- October 30, 2019 San Francisco Business Times

EJF Capital - Oakland (Oakland, California) -- A hotel is being built in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

The Moxy Hotel in Uptown Oakland will break ground within 60 days, joining the West Elm Hotel that started construction in January just two blocks away.

Both hotels are within a few blocks of Uptown Station, the renovated office property where San Francisco-based Square Inc. recently leased all 356,000 square feet. Other developers are building housing and retail in the area.

A $7.3 billion East Coast hedge fund and a private equity firm are leading a group investing $50 million into the Moxy. Hedge fund EJF Capital, along with partners Tidewater Capital and Graves Hospitality, will lead the development of the seven-story Marriott International Moxy hotel at 2225 Telegraph Ave. EJF Capital said in a statement that one reason it's investing in the Moxy is because it's in a federal "opportunity zone," which brings potential tax benefits with it.

The 173-room hotel is expected to open in 2021, according to Tidewater Capital Managing Principal Craig Young.

“We were attracted to Uptown just given the eclectic nature of the submarket there, and the mix of restaurants and entertainment,” Young said. He also pointed to the local arts scene and proximity of the site to the monthly First Fridays event.

The hotel will be 72,615 square feet with the bottom floor designed to feature a bar, restaurant and lounge, and perhaps a stage, all part of the Moxy brand's focus on millennial travelers.

Tidewater Capital is a San Francisco-based real estate investor and developer that will manage construction for the project, while Graves Hospitality, which will manage the hotel, is a Minnesota-based developer approved by the Marriott for the Moxy brand. The architects on the project are RSP Architects and Lowney Architecture.

Tidewater Capital is busy elsewhere in the Bay Area. It's working with Warhorse LLC on 186 units at 1028 Market St. and a separate project of 141 homes at 430 Main St., both in San Francisco.

Lead investor EJF Capital is headquartered just outside of Washington, D.C. Neither EJF nor Tidewater would disclose how much of the $50 million each company is investing.

Other developers have hotel projects outside of Uptown in the Oakland pipeline, including a 121-room Hampton Inn opening this August. Former Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff has approvals to build a 276-room hotel at 1431 Jefferson St.

Visit Oakland President and CEO Mark Everton sees the Moxy development as one of several vital projects to boost the hospitality market in both Uptown and Oakland.

“There really aren’t any hotels in the Uptown area,” Everton said. “This is a great step. Oakland has for the last three years had the fastest-growing average daily rate of any major metropolitan area in the country.”

From 2016 to 2018, Oakland's average daily rate (ADR) rose from $137.95 to $155.79 for growth of 12.9 percent, according to an Oakland STR report. The national ADR rose from $120.01 to $129.83 during that same period, growing 8.2 percent.

To Everton, the new Moxy hotel “is not cookie-cutter. It’s unique, boutique branding that adds to the whole Oakland vibe.”

“It’s already a pretty amazing neighborhood,” Young said of Uptown. “It’s a dynamic place we feel lucky to be a part of.” -- March 21, 2019 San Francisco Times article

Starwood Capital and Holland Partner (Los Angeles, California) -- The company is building an apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

An affiliate of real estate-focused private investment firm Starwood Capital Group has announced it has formed a joint venture with Holland Partner Group to acquire and develop a Class A multifamily project in Los Angeles, the company said.

Starwood and Holland expect to complete the Opportunity Zone development in the Spring of 2020.

The property will consist of 375 units in a seven-story, podium-style community with 37 studios, 177 one-bedroom units, 139 two-bedroom units, 20 three-bedroom units and 2 four-bedroom units.

Starwood Capital announced the formation of its Opportunity Zone business on Jan. 30, 2019, to ensure the success of its ongoing investments in Opportunity Zones, which were created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to offer investors certain tax advantages for developing and operating assets in designated Opportunity Zones.

Starwood Capital Group maintains 13 offices in five countries around the world, and currently has approximately 4,000 employees. Since its inception in 1991, Starwood Capital Group has raised USD 45 billion of equity capital, and currently has in excess of USD 60 billion of assets under management.

Holland Partner Group, based in Vancouver, Washington, is a fully integrated real estate investment company with investments in multi-family development, redevelopment and mixed-use assets. -- May 17, 2020 press release

Russian River Brewing Co. (Windsor, California) – Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the owner is planning on using the savings to buy "a freakin' generator."

Russian River Brewing Co. in Windsor would save about $140,000 next year from the federal excise tax break if it produces up to 40,000 barrels, co-owner Natalie Cilurzo said.

“Guess what we will probably spend that on? A freakin’ generator,” Cilurzo said in a text, referencing backup costs incurred from the October PG&E power shut-offs and the possibility the brewery will buy instead of rent a generator for next year’s wildfire season. – Dec. 18, 2019, Sonoma News article.

Food 4 Less (Los Angeles, California) – The supermarket is hiring over 600 positions in partnership with their sister store, Food 4 Less, because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Need a job? Supermarket partners Ralphs and Food 4 Less are now hiring to fill more than 600 open positions in their Southern California supermarkets.

"We have a variety of part-time positions that we need to fill in every Ralphs and Food 4 Less store in Southern California," said Kendra Doyel, senior director of human resources for Ralphs and Food 4 Less. "Positions are available to friendly and engaging people in most every department including front end, deli, meat, bakery and grocery."

Positions are also available at select stores in support of Ralphs' online ordering service, ClickList.

The positions for which Ralphs and Food 4 Less are hiring offer competitive wages, flexible schedules, benefits and room for advancement.

Job seekers interested in applying for a position at their local Ralphs supermarket should apply online at jobs.ralphs.com. Those applying for a position at a Food4 Less store are asked to apply at jobs.food4less.com.  

"Ralphs and Food 4 Less are great places to work where you can come for a job and stay for a career," Doyel added. "We are committed to creating great entry-level jobs and investing in our associates so they can reach their full potential. We are looking forward to adding many great people to our teams at Ralphs and Food 4 Less." – April 12, 2018, Ralphs and Food 4 Less press release.

Canopy by Hilton (Sacramento, California) -- A Hilton is being built in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Downtown Sacramento is slated for a new 14-story, 275-room Hilton hotel, with construction scheduled to get underway as soon as next year.

The hotel site would be on what’s now the location of a vacant building and parking filling a quarter block on the northwest corner of Ninth and L streets. The existing building, which dates to 1965 but hasn’t been occupied in over a decade, would be demolished as part of the project.

If the project moves forward on schedule, Hill said, she’d like to open it in 2022. She estimated the project cost at about $150 million. A limited liability corporation affiliated with Venture Oaks bought 831 L St. nearly three years ago for $5 million.

“This site is situated between the arena and the convention center, and is very close to the state Capitol,” Hill said. “Those are all excellent drivers for a hotel, and Sacramento is short on hotel rooms.”

Because of its location, the project can qualify as an opportunity zone investment, Hill said. Opportunity zones are areas considered economically distressed, where investments may receive favorable tax treatment under the 2017 federal tax reform.  --December 23, 2019 Sacramento Business Journal article

Realm Group, LLC (Los Angeles, California) -- The company is building an apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Realm Group, LLC a joint venture between Realm Real Estate, LLC of Newport Beach, California and The Bascom Group, LLC of Irvine, California, has closed on a 1.5-acre site located in Downtown Los Angeles at 675 South Bixel Street. Realm Group entitled the site for the development of a 36-story, 422-unit mixed-use high-rise multifamily building, to be built as one of the premier residential towers in Downtown Los Angeles. HFF's capital team, led by Charles Halladay, Jamie Kline, Nicholas Lench and Samuel Godfrey facilitated the land financing. Starwood Property Trust provided the debt financing for the land purchase.

The international modern, concrete, steel and glass tower has a loft style design and will feature a rooftop sky lounge providing striking views of the city's skyline along with an expansive 40,000 sq. ft. amenity deck on the 5(th) floor with an inviting pool terrace, market leading amenities including a spacious dog park, making it one of the largest amenity decks in Downtown Los Angeles.

The project is located within walking distance to a robust variety of employment, transportation, retail, restaurant/bar and grocery options. Grocery Outlet, Whole Foods, Target, Teragram Ballroom and Starbucks are a few of the notable nearby retailers. The well-located project boasts a Transit Score of 100 and a Walk Score of 95.

Darrin Olson, principal of Realm Group, commented, "Bixel Tower represents an important component to Downtown Los Angeles' ongoing successful revitalization as the city is facing a severe housing shortage. The development will be a premier asset in Downtown Los Angeles with best in class amenities. The quality conveyed in Bixel Tower will appeal to a broad spectrum of renters." Todd Cadwell, Development Manager of Realm Group, adds, "We are excited to successfully obtain the city entitlements, close on the site and begin the next phase of development."

Bixel Tower represents Realm Group's second high-rise development project in Downtown Los Angeles. Realm's original high-rise development project is located in the Fashion District and is designated as an Opportunity Zone. The Fashion District Tower will consist of a 33-story, 452-unit mixed-use multifamily community. Realm Group entitled the project and subsequently closed on the land in July 2018 with plans to commence construction in 2020. -- June 12, 2020 Realm Group LLC press release

Midas Hospitality (Los Angeles, California) -- The hospitality chain is building a hotel in Los Angeles in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Midas Hospitality has been tapped to develop a hotel in the Los Angeles area, marking a shift in strategy from the company's focus on underserved markets.

Midas will co-develop a $25 million, 107-room Residence Inn in Lancaster, California, after the brand's parent, Marriott, referred Midas to the local developer, InSite Development. The project is currently in the pre-development stage, but Midas will manage the hotel once complete, co-founder J.T. Norville said.

The Maryland Heights-based company developed a niche building and managing hotels in underserved markets like Kentucky, Ohio and the Carolinas, which helped to push Midas to one of St. Louis' largest privately held companies with $124.8 million in revenue last year. And Norville had said in 2018 that "you're not going to see us in Manhattan or Chicago."

But Norville said the Lancaster project was appealing because it was a Residence Inn, one of the strongest brands in Midas' portfolio; the area is home to a major aeronautics market with companies like Northrup Grumman and Boeing, as well as Edwards Air Force Base; and its location within an "opportunity zone," which allow investors to reinvest capital gains in federally designated economically disadvantaged areas.

"It's a good investment opportunity for our investors," Norville said.

Midas is launching an opportunity zone fund and is aiming to raise $12 million for the Lancaster project. Its first OZ fund in Midtown raised $35 million in four months.

With any of its markets, Midas will seek out more opportunities.

"Whether third-party management or continued ownership, we will want to scale out in the greater Los Angeles area," Norville said. -- June 25, 2019 St. Louis Business Journal article

Linc Housing (Long Beach, California) -- The company is building an apartment complex for people who have experienced homelessness, in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Linc Housing has announced the start of construction on Bloom at Magnolia, an all-new, 40-unit apartment community in Long Beach for people who have experienced homelessness.

Located in the South Wrigley neighborhood in central Long Beach, Bloom at Magnolia is aligned with key concepts in the City's proposed General Plan Update by incorporating smart growth principles to develop a thriving and livable community that promotes healthy living, education, opportunity and neighborhood engagement. The 37,900-square-foot site was purchased from the City of Long Beach's nonprofit affiliate, the Long Beach Community Investment Company (LBCIC), following a competitive bidding process.

....

Funding for the development comes from a variety of sources including $8.5 million from the Los Angeles County Development Authority (general funds, Mental Health Housing Program Funds, and Measure H Funds), $2 million in gap financing from the Long Beach Community Investment Company (LBCIC), a conventional loan from the California Community Reinvestment Corporation, a construction loan from Union Bank, tax credit equity from Raymond James Tax Credit Funds, Inc., and Affordable Housing Program funds from the Federal Home Loan Bank. The California Endowment provided predevelopment support. Bloom at Magnolia also benefits from the federal Opportunity Zone incentive program intended to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities. -- April 29, 2020 Market Line News article

Carmel Partners Inc. (Los Angeles, California) -- The company is converting the building into an apartment complex with 1,210 residential units, located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:


On the edge of West Adams, Cumulus is rising. Developer Carmel Partners Inc.'s project sits on 11 acres at the corner of Jefferson and La Cienega boulevards near the Expo Line.
 
Cumulus is slated to have a 31-story high-rise and a seven-story mid-rise building, with a combined 1,210 residential units.
 
The property is the former site of a Cumulus Media Inc. radio station.
 
"There's a nod to that history," said Dan Garibaldi, Carmel Partners' managing partner of development and construction, citing the project and buildings' names, as well as an on-site recording studio.
 
The 31-story ARQ tower, designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates Inc., is scheduled to start leasing this summer, with residents able to start moving in this September.
 
The seven-story VOX building, designed by TCA Architects, is expected to open in spring 2021.
 
Garibaldi said the location was a huge plus.
 
"It's at the crossroads of Culver City and West Adams. It's surrounded by the Hayden Tract and the Culver City Arts District. There's a lot of fast-growing tech, media and entertainment, but there's not a lot of housing there, and the Cumulus provides a lot of housing," he said.
 
Garibaldi said he anticipates that Cumulus will help create a greater sense of community in the area.
 
The amenity-rich project will have coworking spaces, a recording studio, spas and pools.
 
The development's 100,000 square feet of retail will be anchored by a Whole Foods store, which is expected to open in fall 2021.
 
Garibaldi said the project was "in the middle of the lease up process" and would be curating fast-casual to higher-end dining options, coffee shops, fitness centers and retailers.
 
Active West Adams
 
West Adams is home to a plethora of developments. CIM Group has filed plans for a large number of projects in the area, including a mixed-use site with 69 residential units and 6,000 square feet of retail at 5109 W. Adams Blvd.
 
CIM owns at least 40 sites in the area, said Jeff Gerlach, a vice president at CBRE Group Inc.
 
"They, over the last couple of years, have been buying up small sites here and there, and are now in the stages of building everything out," he said. "CIM really is controlling this whole project and this whole area. Their master plan and their vision is to create an Abbot Kinney- or a Highland Park-esque retail destination."
 
Gerlach added that there was high demand for office space in the area, too.
 
"The reason we're seeing this is largely because of the Westside office dynamic," he said. "There's very high rental rates and very limited amounts of space. West Adams has become this outlet for this demand for space and companies looking for space that's a little bit more affordable and still centrally located. It's on everybody's radar now. In the last 12 months, it's gone through some pretty significant changes."
 
Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. Vice President Christian Kasparian agreed.
 
"Between Culver City, the Westside and downtown L.A., prices in terms of office space, retail space, everything continues to go up. West Adams has been an affordable pocket for the time being. You have housing which is one of the more affordable locations within L.A., making this area very attractive to employers and employees," he said.
 
Public transit in the area is also attractive, market observers say, with the Expo Line and the upcoming Crenshaw Line.
 
"Developers are trying to take advantage of being a transit-oriented area and all the incentives," Kasparian said.
 
Part of the reason development is happening so quickly is that West Adams is in an opportunity zone. The zones aim to increase development in economically distressed areas by allowing investors to defer taxes on capital gains. -- March 23, 2020 Los Angeles Business Journal article

Crown Royal Developers (Van Nuys, California) -- The developer is building an apartment complex for extremely low-income residents located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Local firm Crown Royal Developers has filed plans for a 71-unit apartment complex in Van Nuys, with eight units set aside for extremely low-income residents.

The Beverly Hills-based company wants to build the 78-foot complex at 14518-14526 Erwin Street, just west of Van Nuys Boulevard, according to plans filed with the Los Angeles City Planning Department. The site is located in a federal Opportunity Zone, which provides tax incentives for long-term investors who pour money into projects in distressed areas. The Treasury Department just opened an investigation into the program, following media stories that raised questions about who was benefiting from the program.

Crown filed its plans with Santa Monica-based architecture firm Minarc through an LLC. The signatory is Asaf Glazer, president of Crown Royal Developers.

Van Nuys has seen some activity in the affordable housing arena lately. In September, prolific affordable housing developer Skid Row Housing Trust announced plans to expand into Van Nuys, with a 64-unit apartment building for low-income or very low-income tenants.

California and L.A. in particular continue to grapple with the lack of affordable housing. Gov. Gavin Newson recently threatened to withhold state transportation funds from municipalities if they fail to meet new housing production targets. -- January 16, 2020 The Real Deal article

US-Offsite (Anderson, California) -- The modular construction manufacturer is building a new plant and will create 100 jobs in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A modular construction manufacturer has picked Anderson to build its first plant, and the company vows to hire approximately 100 people when it opens early next year.

US-Offsite is a volumetric building company that will make prefabricated cubes for multi-family and commercial projects, such as apartments, hotels and student housing. The cubes will be built in Anderson and then shipped to project sites from Seattle to San Diego, company co-founder Dan Ferreira said.

"We are taking an entire multi-family structure up to five stories, we slice the structure into cubes, we fully build the cubes in the plant down to finishes, paint, fixtures and then we ship the cubes to the site where they are assembled like Legos," said Ferreira, who envisions his company helping California's housing shortage.

Building this way can cut in half the time for vertical construction, and there also is a cost savings, he said. Moreover, the developer or contractor doesn't have to worry about supply chain issues, which Ferreira said is more critical amid the coronavirus crisis.

...

The Industry Road site also is in an opportunity zone, a program that is part of the 2018 federal tax overhaul. The zones are meant to create tax benefits in designated areas to spur economic development and create jobs. -- May 3, 2020, Record Searchlight article

Staley Point Capital (Los Angeles, California) -- The company is creating a self-storage facility in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

For its first project, Staley Point Capital wants to demolish a 21,000-square-foot South Los Angeles light manufacturing complex it acquired last month and replace it with a sprawling “state of the art” self-storage facility, according to records filed with the Los Angeles City Planning Department.

Century City-based Staley Point is a new venture formed by Kevin Staley — who co-founded the Magellan Group — and his son, Eric, who recently left Blackstone Group, Eric Staley said.

In December, the investment firm paid $7.35 million for the site located at West 25th Street and Broadway. It plans to replace the existing structures with a 109,000-square-foot storage facility featuring 24-hour digital surveillance and controlled access.

This site is located in a federal Opportunity Zone. Over 8,700 such zones have been created across the country. Developers who undertake projects in them can realize significant tax benefits by investing their capital gains in the designated  census tracts. -- January 16, 2020 The Real Deal article

Alexander Valley Vineyards (Healdsburg, California) – The vineyard was able to create new jobs, buy new equipment, and remodel their tasting rooms because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

“The craft beverage bill has been an incredible boost for our industry and this extension allows us to continue investing in our wineries by buying new equipment, remodeling tasting rooms, hiring new employees and more,” said Hank Wetzel, founder and family partner of Alexander Valley Vineyards and Chairman of Wine Institute. “All of this benefits local communities in the form of jobs, tax revenue and support for the hospitality industry.” – Dec. 20, 2019, Southeast Farm Press article.

Visa (Foster City, California) – significantly increased permanent contributions to employee 401(k) accounts:

The recent passage of tax reform legislation here in the U.S. will generate substantial benefit to businesses with U.S.-based headquarters, including Visa, through a reduction in the overall corporate tax rate. This action will allow us to increase investment in our long-term growth, and most importantly in all of you who are so integral to Visa’s success.

We are in the very early stages of determining the extent and timing of the investments that we might make. As we explore the range of potential options, taking actions in support of our employees around the world is high on our list.

As an initial step, and recognizing that the change in tax is focused on the U.S., we have looked first at improving our benefits for U.S.-based employees by significantly enriching our company contributions to the 401(k) program:

Today Visa matches 200% of eligible employee contributions up to 3% of base salary for a total maximum contribution of 6% of eligible pay.

Visa will now increase the match to 200% of employee contributions, up to 5% of base salary, for a Visa total maximum contribution of 10% of eligible pay. 

This enhanced benefit will be available to all U.S. employees, with the exception of Executive Committee members, and will take effect in late February. To encourage use of the program, we will be changing the default employee pre-tax contribution from 3% to 5% for employees who currently contribute less than 5%.

We are also exploring a range of talent, education and technology investments designed to provide sustained enhanced benefits to all employees around the world, consistent with the role everyone will play in building our business for years to come. We look forward to sharing more specifics with you in the coming months. – Excerpt from Jan. 3 internal announcement to Visa’s U.S. employees

Apple (Headquarters in Cupertino plus Apple Store locations in Bakersfield, Berkeley, Brea, Berlingame, Canoga Park, Carlsbad, Cerritos, Chula Vista, Corte Madera, Costa Mesa, Cupertino, Emeryville, Escondido, Fresno, Glendale, Irvine, Los Angeles, Los Gatos, Manhattan Beach, Mission Viejo, Modesto, Monterey, Newport Beach, Northridge, Palm Desert, Palo Alto, Pasadena, Pleasanton, Rancho Cucamonga, Roseville, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Monica, Santa Rosa, Sherman Oaks, Temecula, Thousand Oaks, Valencia, and Walnut Creek)

$2,500 employee bonuses in the form of restricted stock units; $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:

     Bonuses:

Apple Inc. told employees Wednesday that it’s issuing a bonus of $2,500 worth of restricted stock units, following the introduction of the new U.S. tax law, according to people familiar with the matter.

The iPhone maker will begin issuing stock grants to most employees worldwide in the coming months, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. The move comes on the same day Apple said it would bring back most of its cash from overseas and spend $30 billion in the U.S. over the next five years, funding an additional technical support campus, data centers and 20,000 new employees.

Apple confirmed the bonuses in response to a Bloomberg inquiry Wednesday. – Jan. 17 2018, Bloomberg News article excerpt

     Capital expenditures, etc:

Apple expects to invest over $30 billion in capital expenditures in the US over the next five years and create over 20,000 new jobs through hiring at existing campuses and opening a new one.

Building on the initial success of the Advanced Manufacturing Fund announced last spring, Apple is increasing the size of the fund from $1 billion to $5 billion. The fund was established to support innovation among American manufacturers and help others establish a presence in the US. It is already backing projects with leading manufacturers in Kentucky and rural Texas.

Apple works with over 9,000 American suppliers — large and small businesses in all 50 states — and each of Apple’s core products relies on parts or materials made in the US or provided by US-based suppliers.

Apple, which has a 40-year history in education, also plans to accelerate its efforts across the US in support of coding education as well as programs focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM). – Jan. 17, 2018 Apple press release excerpts

MEC Arial Work Platforms (Kerman, California) – $1,000 bonuses:

Company owner David White says the tax cut legislation deserves some of the credit for a boost in sales and hiring.
"Its more of an indirect effect, and as the economy has improved, and as there are more new construction starts, and our products are used in that new construction, they are used in industrial construction, and upgrades. So that has resulted in increased production, increased sales volume, which has directly affected us of course."

White says sales are way up and he's given each of the 130 employees a $1,000 bonus. May 2, 2018, ABC 30 Actions News.com article excerpt

ecUtopia (San Diego, California) – Tax reform bonuses to employees:

ecUtopia, the largest provider of EDI services within the Home Furnishings Industry, announced today bonuses for all its employees. The employee bonus is attributed to the new tax law. Under the new tax bill, corporate tax rate will drop from 35% to 21%.

Phil Kenney, CEO & President of ecUtopia, explains “we had great news from our accountants and wanted to pass that to our employees.” – May 3 2018, Furniture Today article excerpt

Simulations Plus, Inc (Lancaster, California) – $1,000 bonuses:

The premier provider of simulation and modeling software and consulting services for all stages of pharmaceutical discovery and development, today announced that it will be distributing a one-time $1,000 discretionary cash bonus to each of its employees.

Walt Woltosz, chairman and chief executive officer of Simulations Plus, said, “As we announced on April 9, 2018, when we reported record financial results for our second fiscal quarter of 2018, with the effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, we posted a deferred tax benefit of approximately $1.5 million in our second fiscal quarter, as well as lower income tax rates for January and February. – April 24, 2018 Simulations Plus, Inc press release excerpt

PodcastOne (Los Angeles, California) – $1,000 bonuses for all full-time employees:

PodcastOne Founder and Executive Chairman Norman Pattiz announced today that the podcast company will award all full-time employees a $1,000 cash bonus.

 Pattiz said, “There’s no question that cutting the corporate Federal Tax Rate to 21% will have a positive effect on business, ours included. We want our employees  to feel the direct benefit of these cuts, especially since because of their efforts we are coming off another record year in 2017. So we say, ‘Thank you to our dedicated staff and job well done.’”

PodcastOne is the nation’s largest advertiser-supported podcast network. – Jan. 30 2018, PodcastOne press release

Kramerica Properties (Merced, California) – This small family-owned company gave each of the six employees a $2,000 tax reform bonus:

My employer Kramerica Properties, a small family owned company gave each employee $2,000 once this tax bill was signed by our President. In fact, on election day, the owners gave us the day off and once Trump won the election, we got the whole weekend off and paid for. Only having 6 people employed, it is much easier and fun to celebrate these "small crumbs". 

I would also like to add that instead of the office listening to music station, we only listen to KMJNOW conservative radio, & the best part is all employees are Hispanic & love calling to the radio station. Hispanics for Trump. – M. Alcaraz, Kramerica Properties

JimRinehart.com State Farm agent (Seaside, California) – Pay raises for employees:

I am a self-employed Insurance Agent for State Farm Insurance with 3 full time employees in my office in Seaside, CA.  Because of President’s  tax reform I gave all of my staff a pay raise starting Jan 1 2018. – Jim Rinehart, State Farm Agent

Alpha Omega Winery (St. Helena, California) -- The winery used savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to invest in employee raises and new equipment:

"It was unbelievably timely because we were just coming off those fires of 2017," said Robin Baggett, who owns Alpha Omega winery in California’s Napa Valley. He used the tax savings to invest in equipment and employee raises.

“The cuts had two major parts—decreases on the amount taxed per gallon and an adjustment on the amount taxed on wines of differing alcohol levels. Before the bill, wine over 14 percent in alcohol (very common in California) fell into in a higher tax bracket, and Baggett said this led to people consciously making wine just under that threshold to avoid it. "We don't have to fiddle around with our wine [anymore]," he said.” -- Nov. 8, 2019 Wine Spectator article

Amgen (Thousand Oaks, California) – Construction of a new $300 million U.S. manufacturing plant which will employ up to 300 at the facility; $300 million investment in biotechnology ventures; $3.5 billion in capital expenditures; $100 million investment in Amgen Scholars and Amgen Biotech Experience programs; $100 million in charitable donations, and more:

  • Amgen will build a new “Next Generation” manufacturing plant in the U.S. (location TBD by Q2) – a $300 Million investment to implement Amgen’s next-generation biomanufacturing capabilities, and manufacture products for the U.S. and export markets. The construction and validation work is expected to add 220 jobs to the local economy.  In addition, Amgen expects this new facility to employ up to 300 highly skilled full-time employees.
  • We will make product in the U.S. and export it to cover 85% of our international sales. 
  • An investment up to $300 Million of growth capital for early-stage, innovative biotechnology companies in the U.S. through the Amgen Ventures fund.
  • We expect to invest ~$3.5 Billion in capital expenditures in the U.S. over the next 5 years.   
  • We’ll also grow our already substantial commitment to our communities with plans for the Amgen Foundation’s investments in the proven Amgen Scholars and Amgen Biotech Experience programs which we expect to reach $100 Million of commitment within 4 years.  We have engaged some 600,000 college and high school students in person through these programs and consider this our commitment to helping to build a pipeline of talented scientists and biologists in the U.S. and beyond. 
  • Through our Foundation’s philanthropic giving we expect to deploy $100 Million over the next 5 years in the communities where we work and live. 
  • We estimate that lower personal tax rates combined with investments we are making in enhancing base wages for these staff will create literally thousands of dollars of improvement in the average take-home pay for our typical U.S. non-executive staff member. 
  • Tax Reform provides us with more flexibility for capital deployment.  Since 2011, we have invested more than $42 Billion in research and development, innovation-based acquisitions, and long-term oriented capital expenditures.  We expect to continue making such long-term investments now while also being able to return excess capital to our shareholders in the form of growing dividends and share buybacks. 
  • Based on our confidence in the long-term outlook for the business, which was enhanced by the benefits of tax reform, we have increased our share repurchase authorization by $10 Billion. -- Amgen CEO Bob Bradway, Amgen 4th quarter 2017 earnings call
     

The Charles Schwab Corporation (San Francisco, California) – $1,000 bonus for about 9,000 non-executive employees:

President and CEO, Walt Bettinger commented, “In 2017, anticipating the tax law change and in response to the company’s strong financial performance and our employees’ unwavering commitment to clients, Schwab provided a special $1,000 bonus for about 9,000 non-executive employees. Based on the favorable environment, we also continued hiring staff across the firm’s geographic locations, adding over 1,200 net new employees, and we allocated part of our 11% overall spending increase to support client service efforts and continue to build out new business centers in Austin and Dallas that will allow us to house over 4,000 new employees in the next two years. Additionally, we expanded parental leave benefits for all Schwab employees and increased the annual corporate contribution to philanthropy to benefit our local communities.” – Jan. 25 2018, The Charles Schwab Corporation press release

Bank of the West (San Francisco, California) – Base wage increase to $15 per hour:

Bank of the West announced it will increase the company's minimum wage across the business to $15 per hour. The change will impact one-quarter of hourly team members, primarily in the Bank's branches and call centers.

The permanent increase will take effect on April 1 and is part of our long-standing commitment to reward our team members and attract the industry's best talent. At more than double the federal minimum wage, the Bank's new minimum wage is the result of a thorough internal review of the Bank's business stemming from the federal tax reform recently completed by the U.S. Congress. – Feb. 8 2018, Bank of the West press release

T.J. Maxx 118 stores in California – tax reform bonuses, increased retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, and charitable donations:

The 2017 Tax Act benefited the Company in the fourth quarter and full year Fiscal 2018. The Company expects to continue to benefit from the 2017 Tax Act going forward, primarily due to the lower U.S. corporate income tax rate. As a result of the estimated cash benefit related to the 2017 Tax Act, the Company is taking the following actions:

Associates

  • A one-time, discretionary bonus to eligible, non-bonus-plan Associates, globally
  • An incremental contribution to the Company’s defined contribution retirement plans for eligible Associates in the U.S. and internationally
  • Instituting paid parental leave for eligible Associates in the U.S.
  • Enhancing vacation benefits for certain U.S. Associates

Communities

Made meaningful contributions to TJX’s charitable foundations around the world to further support TJX’s charitable giving. – Feb. 28, 2018 The TJX Companies Inc. press release excerpt

Saban Capital Group Inc. (Los Angeles, California): $1,000 bonuses:

Media mogul Haim Saban on Friday became the latest to dole out $1,000 bonuses to employees in celebration of tax reform.

According to a letter to staffers at Saban Capital Group, which invests in entertainment and communications companies, Haim and his wife, Cheryl, were inspired by Disney's decision to award bonuses to its employees.

Before Disney, several companies including Comcast and Starbucks said they'd be handing out bonus checks (and Apple gave out stock bonuses) because of tax reform championed by President Donald Trump that reduces the rate paid by corporations to a maximum of 21 percent, down from 35 percent previously.

AT&T, which is trying to purchase Time Warner, was one of the first companies to announce $1,000 bonuses for 200,000 U.S. employees.

Unlike some other companies, though, the Sabans stipulate that the bonuses will amount to $1,000 after taxes. – Feb. 2 2018, The Hollywood Reporter news article excerpt

International Offset Corporation (Los Angeles, California) -- $1,000 bonuses to all employees and 1099 subcontracting partners. 

First Northern Community Bancorp (Dixon, California) -- Base pay raised by $2 per hours; $1,000 bonuses for all non-executive employees; increased charitable donations. 

Jordan Winery (Healdsburg, California) -- $1,000 bonuses for each of its 85 employees:

In response to the tax cut bill that passed this week, John Jordan, owner of Jordan Winery in Sonoma County, California, announces that he will give all eligible winery employees a $1,000 bonus as a result of the passage of the 2017 tax reform bill.Dec. 22, 2017 Jordan Winery press release

Summit State Bank (Santa Rosa, California) -- $2,000 bonuses for non-executive employees.

Wells Fargo (San Francisco, California) – Raised base wage from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour; $400 million in charitable donations for 2018; $100 million increased capital investment over next three years:

“Our announcement was directly related to the passage of tax reform.” -- Arati Sontakay Randolph, Wells Fargo senior vice president

Willis Lease Finance Corporation (Novato, California) -- $1,000 bonuses for all non-executive employees:

Willis Lease Finance Corporation (NASDAQ:WLFC) today announced that it has given all non-executive employees a one-time bonus of $1,000 as a result of the tax laws recently passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump.

"We believe the new tax laws will help stimulate growth in our industry and our business specifically," said Charles F. Willis, Chairman and CEO. "We have therefore decided to return some of that benefit to our employees who work incredibly hard and are an important part of the American and global economy." – Jan. 19 2018, Willis Lease Finance Corporation press release

Walt Disney Company (Burbank, California) -- $1,000 bonuses for 125,000 employees; $50 million investment in employee educational programs:

Disney announced Tuesday it will pay over 125,000 employees a one-time cash bonus of $1,000, as well as make a new $50 million investment into education program for employees.

"We are directing approximately $125 million to our cast members and employees across the country and making higher education more accessible with the launch of this new program," CEO Bob Iger said in a statement.

Disney says both initiatives are due to recent tax reform. Some of the biggest companies in the United States have been giving out bonuses to employees, often citing the recently-passed tax bill as the motive. Boeing, AT&T, Wells Fargo, Comcast, Bank of America, and Walmart are just a few of those distributing new tax benefits to workers.

The bonus applies any full-time and part-time employees who have been working for Disney since before January 1. Those eligible will receive the bonus in two parts, with one in March and the other in September. Executive level employees are exempt.

Disney's education initiative will be available to nearly 88,000 hourly employees in the U.S.  -- Jan. 23 2018, CNBC article excerpt

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 32,247 California 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

Community Valley Bank (El Centro, California) – $500 bonus for all employees; increased charitable donations:

In consideration of the expected benefit from the corporate tax reduction, the bank awarded each employee a $500 bonus. The bank has also enhanced employee education and training opportunities for 2018 and expanded its community contribution budget toward local non-profit services. — Jan. 29 2018, Community Valley Bank press release

Lowe's (In California -- 17,000 employees at 111 stores and four distribution facilities) --  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.

Home Depot (232 locations in California) -- bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Walmart (304 retail locations in California) -- Pay raises, bonuses of up to $1,000, expanded maternity and parental leave, and $5,000 for adoption expenses:

Today, more than 890,000 Walmart U.S. associates, including more than 136,000 in California, are receiving a share of more than $560 million total cash bonuses, including:

  • More than $160 million in cash bonuses based on their stores’ Q4 performance, and
  • More than $400 million in one-time cash bonuses tied to recent changes in tax law.
  • In California, Walmart associates are receiving approximately $34 million in combined bonuses.
     

The bonuses, along with an annual pay raise for our hourly field associates, are included in their March 8 paycheck. Between Q4 performance bonuses, tenure-based bonuses, pay increases and recent paid time off (PTO) cash outs, more than $1 billion flowed to U.S. hourly associates during the months of February and March.

In January, Walmart announced plans to increase the starting wage for all hourly associates in the U.S. to at least $11, expand maternity and parental leave benefits, and provide a one-time cash bonus for eligible associates of up to $1,000. A new adoption assistance benefit of $5,000 per child – announced in conjunction with the other changes – went into effect on February 1. -- March 8, 2018 Walmart press release

Chipotle Mexican Grill (408 locations in California) – Bonuses ranging from $250 to $1,000; increased employee benefits; nationally, $50 million investment in existing restaurants.

Ryder (35 locations in California) -- Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Starbucks Coffee Company (Over 2,000 locations in California) – $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.

STERIS Corp. (California locations in Costa Mesa, Hayward, Ontario, Petaluma, Point Richmond, San Diego, Santa Clara, Temecula, and Tustin) -- $1,000 bonuses 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

FedEx (Multiple locations in California) – 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

Bank of America (Over 800 California locations) -- $1,000 bonuses for non-executive employees.

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

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

Note: If you know of other California examples, please email John Kartch at jkartch@atr.org

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

 


How the Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Iowa

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, June 30th, 2021, 7:01 PM PERMALINK

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

243,620 Iowa households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

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

1,008,949 Iowa 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.

38,430 Iowa 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, Iowa residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, at least four Iowa utilities reduced their customers' bills (see below).

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

Geetings, Inc. (Pella, Iowa) -- Was able to purchase new semitrailers and give employees raises because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

When small business owners anticipated how much they would save in taxes under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, many reinvested those savings in their businesses and their employees. 

Lana Pol, who owns several small businesses including Geetings, Inc., a transportation firm in Pella, says she gave employees raises and purchased six new semitrailers. -- June 3, 2019 Des Moines Register

Smokey Row Coffee Shops (Des Moines, Iowa) --  Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the company is planning to open two new stores.  

When small business owners anticipated how much they would save in taxes under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, many reinvested those savings in their businesses and their employees.

...

Butch Hayes, of Smokey Row Coffee Shops, is planning to open two new stores. -- June 3, 2019 Des Moines Register

Global Water Services (Lisbon, Iowa) -- Hired new employees and built a new warehouse because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

When small business owners anticipated how much they would save in taxes under the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, many reinvested those savings in their businesses and their employees.

...

 The owner of Global Water Services in  Lisbon, Keith Huebner, built a new warehouse and added employees. -- June 3, 2019 Des Moines Register

Anfinson Farm Store (Cushing, Iowa) -- $1,000 bonuses and 5% pay raises for employees:

Anfinson Farm Store, a family business in Cushing, Iowa (population 223), has awarded $1,000 bonuses and raised wages 5% for all full-time employees as a result of tax reform. The good news was delivered to employees in person just after Christmas.

In an interview with Americans for Tax Reform, store owner John Anfinson said tax reform will boost “money that will be available for the business overall and I want to use it in the right places.”

Anfinson has helmed the store for about 45 years. His grandfather started the business as a general store in 1918, so they will soon celebrate 100 years of operation. His customers chiefly grow corn, soybeans, and alfalfa.

“For us, we have a small number of employees. I work every day shoulder to shoulder with everyone,” said Anfinson. “When you work every day with a group of people, you know them and their family and you appreciate everything they do. I value them and the interest they take in our customers. They are the most valuable asset in any business.” Jan. 9, 2018 Americans for Tax Reform blog post

Mowbility Sales & Service (Pella, Iowa) – The owner said that she was able to save around $40,000 from the tax bill, which allowed her to give employees raises and purchase new semitrailers:

Lana Pol’s small businesses are enjoying big savings under the new tax law — at least for now.

The entrepreneur runs four small companies across Iowa, including Mowbility Sales & Service, which sells agricultural equipment, and Geetings Inc., a trucking and warehousing business. Pol said she saw a drop in her overall tax burden this year thanks to the qualified business deduction, a change made to the individual tax code, available for pass-through entities. Her savings look substantial.

“We’re estimating around up to $40,000,” Pol said. “By utilizing that, we gave our employees raises, knowing that was going to help us for taxes this year.”

Pol said she also utilized Section 179 expensing to write off a major purchase of new semitrailers — six in all, totaling $1 million. Taxes were often a top issue prior to reform, she said.  March 18, 2017, CNBC article.

Keg Creek Brewing (Glenwood, Iowa) - Expanding operations, purchasing new equipment:

“A small brewery in Glenwood, Iowa, in Mills County called Keg Creek is expanding their operations and investing in new equipment as they grow.” - June 11, 2018, Rep. David Young statement on U.S. House Floor

Mississippi River Distilling Co. (Le Claire, Iowa) – The owners of the distillery said that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act helped create new jobs:

Both Quint and Ryan Burchett, co-owner of Mississippi River Distilling Co. in Le Claire, said the tax cut — formally called the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act — has helped their businesses add full- and part-time jobs. 

Cedar Ridge currently has 24 full-time and 28 part-time employees and, Quint said, now that he’s “optimistic” the liquor tax cut will be extended, he plans to make two new job offers over the next two weeks.

Burchett said Mississippi River Distilling had three full-time and five part-time employees in 2017, before Congress approved the liquor tax cut as part of the broader Tax Cuts and Jobs Act– Dec. 18, 2019, The Gazette article.

Dyersville Die Cast (Dyersville, Iowa) - $200 bonus for all eligible full-time employees; $50 monthly bonus for at least twelve months for all eligible full-time employees; $150,000 in total on bonuses:

“Dyersville Die Cast employees will be getting bonuses thanks to the recently passed tax reform bill.

Full-time employees who were with the company prior to Oct. 1, 2017 will receive a $200 bonus on March 9. But, that’s not all.

All full-time, hourly employees will also be receiving $50 monthly bonuses for at least the next 12 months.

In addition, employees will still receive their regular “profit bonus” in June, according to General Manager Bob Willets.

The big news is thanks to that fact that Dyersville Die Cast is slated to save approximately $200,000 thanks to the new tax law, and have decided to dole out $150,000 of that to its workers” – Feb. 21 2018, Dyersville Commercial article excerpt

 

Nelson Construction & Development (Sioux City, Iowa) -- The company is in the process of restoring the historic building that they acquired, which is located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A Sioux City developer has purchased the historic Benson Building at the corner of Douglas and Seventh streets.
 
Nelson Construction & Development, the property's new owner, is planning to "breathe new life into" the six-story brick and terra cotta structure built in 1920, according to a press release from the firm.
 
The sale price was $350,000, according to county sales records.
 
Steve Nelson, the head of Nelson Construction, said the firm is in the process of having the building, 705 Douglas St., registered as an Iowa historic building.
 
The plan is to return the building to its 1920s-1930s glory, Nelson said, preserving original elements of the building wherever possible. The firm has the original planning documents used during the building's construction a century ago, which could be something of a roadmap for a historically accurate restoration.
 
"You'll see a lot of restoration, not necessarily new things added," Nelson said.
 
Nelson said the firm is in talks with a retailer as a tenant for the lower floor, which he said would "really supplement the downtown."
 
Floors three through six, he said, will probably be apartments, while the second floor and the remainder of the first floor would be office space. The first floor, the only part of the building that currently has occupants, is about 80 percent filled at present, he said.
 
The building's basement could become an underground parking garage, which would complement the property's adjacent surface parking lot.
 
The possibility of a rooftop patio with a view of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is also under consideration, according to the press release.
 
Interior work on the building, Nelson said, could start within the next 60 days or so, with more construction beginning possibly in September or October. From the time construction starts, Nelson estimated it could be 12 to 14 months until apartments are leased.
 
The Benson Building is situated within the boundaries of a newly created federal "Opportunity Zone," a part of the 2017 tax law which provides tax advantages for owners of properties in areas considered economically distressed. -- March 4, 2020 Sioux City Journal article

Pattison Sand Company (Clayton, Iowa): $600 cash bonuses, base pay raised by $1.50-$2.50 per hour:

“Last fall, Congressman Rod Blum visited our mine in Clayton County. He met many of our people and saw for himself what we do every day. We told him about the high costs of over-taxation and over-regulation. He listened. He did his part, taking our message back to Washington. He fought for real tax reform that will bring our business taxes in line with other industrialized countries. More importantly it will mean more take home pay for our people. He is also working put more common sense into federal regulations. We did our part too. We gave every employee a $600 cash (in $2 bills) bonus and we raised base pay by $1.50-$2.50 an hour. And yes we are growing, adding staff and buying more equipment. We thought you should know.” – The Waterloo- Cedar Falls Courier

Cedar Rapids Toyota (Hiawatha, Iowa) – $500 bonuses to each full-time employee:

The car dealership off Boyson Road in Hiawatha expects to see a savings on its taxes under the federal tax reform bill that taxes effect next month. Instead of investing in the facility or new equipment, the company invested in its people.

Owner Scott Ryan decided to give each full-time employee a $500 tax break. The company sees the bonus checks as a way to give back to both the employees and the community, thinking many of the employees will spend the extra money around town. – Jan. 19, 2018 KCRG TV9 news report

Employers Mutual Casualty Insurance (Des Moines, Iowa) -- $1,000 bonuses for employees with the exception of Vice Presidents and above.

Ohnward Bancshares (Maquoketa, Iowa) -- $1,000 bonuses for all 260 employees:

"As a result of the passage of the tax relief bill this week, Ohnward Bancshares has   announced it will pay a $1,000 tax relief, holiday bonus to every company employee. This bonus is separate, and, in addition to, normal bonuses received based  on company performance. “There has been a lot of debate about what a tax cut will do for the nation’s economy. This sweeping tax reform will create economic growth in our communities, but only if the expense savings are shared”, comments the Ohnward leadership team, Abram Tubbs, Brigham Tubbs, Alan Tubbs and Kendra Beck."  –  Dec. 21 2017, Ohnward Bancshares press release

Bank Midwest (Spirit Lake, Iowa) -- $500 bonuses for full-time employees; $250 bonus for part-time employees.

Iowa American Water Co. (Davenport, Iowa) – The utility will pass along tax savings to customers:

And Iowa-American Water Co., which provides service in eastern Iowa, would provide $1.5 million and $1.8 million to customers. – Jan. 29, 2018 Des Moines Register article excerpt

Alliant Energy (Madison, Wisconsin) – The utility will pass along tax savings to customers:

Alliant Energy announced this week that it will pass savings from lower federal taxes on to its customers in Iowa.

Annual savings, including tax-related savings from Alliant Energy’s transmission providers, are expected to be approximately $75 million, the company said.

“These tax savings are great for our Iowa customers and the new, lower corporate tax rate will benefit our families, businesses and communities today and in the future,” Doug Kopp, president of Alliant Energy’s Iowa energy company, said. “In the last six years, we’ve delivered about $500 million in other separate tax-related savings to customers, reducing energy costs.”

Typical residential electric customers will see an annual savings of approximately $50 to $60. Typical residential natural gas customers will see annual savings of approximately $30 - April 10, 2018 We Are Iowa article excerpt

MidAmerican Energy Company (Des Moines, Iowa) – The utility will pass along tax savings to customers:

"A big part of the tax reform is the corporate income tax rate changing from 35 to 21 percent," said MidAmerican spokeswoman Tina Hoffman. "That is what the $42 million represents, with 100 percent going back to the customers."

The company expects to distribute $33 million on electrical bills and $8.8 million on natural gas bills. The total also includes annual savings for commercial and industrial consumers: $75 in electricity, $25 in natural gas for commercial customers and $8,000 in electricity, $175 in natural gas costs for industrial customers, she said.    

In addition, Hoffman said MidAmerican expects to save another $40 million to $50 million in 2018 from other tax-related benefits including new provisions related to how companies account for excess accumulated deferred taxes and depreciation. The utility plans to create an account to capture these benefits and use them to reduce the size or need for a future rate case in Iowa. - April 5, 2018 Quad-City Times excerpt

Black Hills Energy (Rapid City, South Dakota) – The utility will pass along tax savings to customers:

The Iowa Utilities Board issued multiple orders this week approving an estimated $78.7 million in savings for utility customers based on the IUB’s investigation and review of the tax refund proposals filed with the IUB by MidAmerican Energy, Alliant Energy-Interstate Power and Light, and Black Hills Energy regarding the 2017 federal tax reform law.

The IUB opened an investigation into the impact of the federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 on Iowa’s rate-regulated utilities in January 2018, Docket No. INU-2018-0001. The utilities’ tax refund proposals detailing how customers would benefit are a result of this investigation. The new tax law reduced the federal corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

The following tax refund proposal tariffs were approved by the IUB, subject to complaint or investigation:

Black Hills Energy will return an estimated $2.2 million to its natural gas customers in Docket No. TF-2018-0037. - April 27, 2018 Iowa Utilities Board statement

T.J. Maxx – 11 stores in Iowa – tax reform bonuses, retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, and charitable donations:

The 2017 Tax Act benefited the Company in the fourth quarter and full year Fiscal 2018. The Company expects to continue to benefit from the 2017 Tax Act going forward, primarily due to the lower U.S. corporate income tax rate. As a result of the estimated cash benefit related to the 2017 Tax Act, the Company is taking the following actions:

Associates

  • A one-time, discretionary bonus to eligible, non-bonus-plan Associates, globally

  • An incremental contribution to the Company’s defined contribution retirement plans for eligible Associates in the U.S. and internationally

  • Instituting paid parental leave for eligible Associates in the U.S.

  • Enhancing vacation benefits for certain U.S. Associates

Communities

Made meaningful contributions to TJX’s charitable foundations around the world to further support TJX’s charitable giving. – Feb. 28, 2018 The TJX Companies Inc. press release excerpt

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 541 Iowa 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

Home Depot -- 10 locations in Iowa, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000

Lowe's -- 1,000 employees at 11 stores in Iowa. 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 in West Des Moines) -- $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.

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

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

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

Ryder (Eleven locations in Iowa) – Tax reform bonuses for employees totaling $23 million nationwide.

Starbucks Coffee Company (89 locations in Iowa) – $500 stock grants for all retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plant 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 Iowa) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.

Wal-Mart – 59 store locations in Iowa -- Walmart employees are receiving tax reform bonuses of up to $1,000; base wage increase for all hourly employees to $11; expanded maternity and parental leave; $5,000 for adoption expenses.

McDonald’s (165+ locations in Iowa) – 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 – 64 bank locations in Iowa; raised base wage from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour; $400 million in charitable donations for 2018; $100 million increased capital investment over next three year

Note: If you know of other Iowa 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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How the Trump Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Nebraska

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, June 30th, 2021, 4:34 PM PERMALINK

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

157,230 Nebraska households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

Every income group in every Nebraska 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.

650,590 Nebraska 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.

30,930 Nebraska 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, Nebraska residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, at least two Nebraska utilities reduced their customers' bills (see below).

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

Werner Enterprises Inc (Omaha, Nebraska) – Increasing driver wages and increasing capital expenditures:

“Mr President, you care about truck drivers, and it shows,” said Ward, a US Army veteran. “Thank you so much for fighting for us. This tax law means a better future for me, and a significant pay increase this year. As a result, my sister and I are planning a cruise with our family.”

“To fully understand the true size and scale of this law’s impact on our company, I point to some concrete numbers: We have increased our capital expenditures for 2018 by $127 million, or 64%, over the previous year--90% of which was for newer and safer trucks,” Leathers said. “For our employees, we are increasing driver pay by more than $24 million--an average increase of $2,400 per driver.” –  April 18, 2018 Bulk Transporter article excerpt 

Crete Carrier Corporation (Lincoln, Nebraska) - Increase employee pay, invest in new equipment, expand operations:

Executives and employees from Werner Enterprises Inc., Crete Carrier Corporation and TCW Inc., were in attendance to share how the tax cuts have enabled the carriers to increase employee compensation, invest in new equipment and expand operations.

TCW was represented by President Dave Manning, chairman of ATA, and driver David Livingston; Werner was represented by President & CEO Derek Leathers and driver Quinton Ward, driver Marvin Fielder, and associate Kathryn Oswald; and Crete was represented by CEO & Chairman Tonn Ostergard, Vice Chair Holly Ostergard, and driver Jeff Tetzloff.  - April 12, 2018 American Trucking Association press release excerpt

Nelnet (Lincoln, Nebraska) -- $1,000 bonuses for 4,100 employees:

Nelnet CEO Jeff Noordhoek said the tax plan will greatly benefit the financial services company, which does very little business overseas and pays close to the full corporate tax rate. According to its 2016 annual report, its effective tax rate that year was 35.5 percent.

While the reduction in taxes will provide the company extra cash to invest and return to shareholders, "We also want to share this benefit with our employees," Noordhoek said. – Dec. 22, 2017 Beatrice Daily Sun article excerpt

Omaha Track (Omaha, Nebraska) - $500 bonuses.

Pinnacle Bank (Lincoln, Nebraska) -- $1,000 bonuses for 1,007 employees:

"We feel strongly that the message should be loud and clear that this is a tax cut that will benefit all Americans.” – Dec. 22, 2017 Pinnacle Bank press release

Union Bank & Trust (Lincoln, Nebraska) - All full-time and part-time employees received a $1,000 bonus. Over 800 employees.

Black Hills Gas Distribution, LLC (Lincoln, Nebraska) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

There is a benefit to be realized by both Black Hills entities named in this docket as a result of the reduction in the federal corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%. This benefit should be passed on to Black Hills customers. 

Under the plan proposed by the parties in the Stipulation, BHE would credit customers through a combination of fixed bill credits and volumetric bill credits. BHGD would only provide a fixed credit to its customers, with no volumetric component, due to the operation of the Choice Gas supply program. 

---

For BHGD, the total amount to be refunded would be approximately $926,691. The average residential customer of BHGD would receive $9.15 annually. The average small commercial customer would receive $15.87 annually. The average large commercial customer would receive $93.39 annually. - June 19, 2018 Nebraska Public Service Commission document

Black Hills/Nebraska Gas Utility Company (Lincoln, Nebraska) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

There is a benefit to be realized by both Black Hills entities named in this docket as a result of the reduction in the federal corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%. This benefit should be passed on to Black Hills customers. 

Under the plan proposed by the parties in the Stipulation, BHE would credit customers through a combination of fixed bill credits and volumetric bill credits. BHGD would only provide a fixed credit to its customers, with no volumetric component, due to the operation of the Choice Gas supply program. 

For BHE, the total amount to be refined would be approximately $2,287,403. The average residential customer would receive a total of approximately $9.53 annually. The average commercial/industrial customer would receive a total of approximately $22.65 annually. The average Energy Options Firm customer would receive a total of approximately $39.80 annually. - June 19, 2018 Nebraska Public Service Commission document

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses for 180 Nebraska 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

Heartland Bank (Geneva Nebraska) - $1,000 bonuses for full-time non-executive employees; $500 bonus to part-time employees. 

Walmart – Nebraska employees at 42 Walmart stores received tax reform bonuses, wage increases, and expanded maternity and parental leave. Walmart employees who adopt children will be given $5,000 to help cover expenses.

Home Depot -- Eight locations in Nebraska - Bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's -- 700+ employees at five store locations in Nebraska. 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 (Three locations in Nebraska) – Tax reform bonuses to employees.

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

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

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

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

Dollar Tree, Inc. (Multiple locations in Nebraska) - Nationwide, $100 million investment in raising base wages, enhanced benefits including maternity leave for qualifying employees, and employee training. 

Starbucks Coffee Company (58 locations in Nebraska) –$500 stock grants for all retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plan and support center employee stock grants. Nationally, 8,000 new retail jobs; an additional wage increase this year, totaling approximately $120 million in wage increases, increased sick time benefits and parental leave.

T.J. Maxx – (Lincoln, Omaha, Papillion, and five locations in Grand Island) – Tax reform bonuses, retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, and increased charitable donations:

The 2017 Tax Act benefited the Company in the fourth quarter and full year Fiscal 2018. The Company expects to continue to benefit from the 2017 Tax Act going forward, primarily due to the lower U.S. corporate income tax rate. As a result of the estimated cash benefit related to the 2017 Tax Act, the Company is taking the following actions:

Associates

  • A one-time, discretionary bonus to eligible, non-bonus-plan Associates, globally
  • An incremental contribution to the Company’s defined contribution retirement plans for eligible Associates in the U.S. and internationally
  • Instituting paid parental leave for eligible Associates in the U.S.
  • Enhancing vacation benefits for certain U.S. Associates

Communities

Made meaningful contributions to TJX’s charitable foundations around the world to further support TJX’s charitable giving – Feb. 28, 2018 The TJX Companies Inc. press release excerpt

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

FedEx (Multiple locations in Nebraska) – Accelerated and increased compensation; pension plan contributions:

FedEx Corporation is announcing three major programs today following the recently enacted U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

  • Over $200 million in increased compensation, about two-thirds of which will go to hourly team members by advancing 2018 annual pay increases by six months to April 1st from the normal October date. The remainder will fund increases in performance- based incentive plans for salaried personnel.
  • A voluntary contribution of $1.5 billion to the FedEx pension plan to ensure it remains one of the best funded retirement programs in the country.
  • Investing $1.5 billion to significantly expand the FedEx Express Indianapolis hub over the next seven years. The Memphis SuperHub will also be modernized and enlarged in a major program the details of which will be announced later this spring.

FedEx believes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will likely increase GDP and investment in the United States. -- Jan. 26 2018, FedEx press release

Waste Management Inc. (Multiple locations in Nebraska) -- $2,000 bonuses:

In light of the meaningful contributions of its employees and the new U.S. corporate tax structure, the company will distribute US $2,000 in 2018 to every North American employee not on a bonus or sales incentive plan; that includes hourly and other employees.

“We are about to get a tax benefit as our U.S. corporate tax rate goes from 35 percent to 21 percent. In considering how to best spend that, we wanted to find a way to help grow our economy, which in turn, will help grow our business, and give some of the tax savings back to those hardworking employees who do not get the opportunity to participate in our salaried incentive plans,” said Jim Fish, president and chief executive officer, Waste Management.

“So, we are offering each North American hourly full-time employee and salaried employee who does not participate in any sales incentive or bonus plan during 2018, a cash bonus of US $2,000 to show our appreciation to so many of our valued employees while growing our business and returning a good portion of the tax savings directly to the overall economy,” he continued. – Jan. 10 2018, Waste Management Inc. press release excerpt

McDonald’s (80+ locations in Nebraska) – 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 (37 locations in Nebraska) - 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 Nebraska 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


How the Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Arkansas

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, June 30th, 2021, 3:33 PM PERMALINK

Arkansas is benefiting greatly from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by Republicans in 2017:

207,210 Arkansas households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

Every income group in every Arkansas 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.

951,010 Arkansas 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.

41,130 Arkansas 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, Arkansas residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, at least six Arkansas utilities reduced their customers' bills (see below).

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

Bean Counter Farm (Fayetteville, Arkansas) - Hiring new employees, new investments:

Additional hiring is in store for bookkeeping franchise Bean Counter Farm, according to Chief Operating Officer Tom Porterfield. “We also plan to invest in target marketing to the franchise industry,” he said. - April 17, 2018, @ Our Franchise article excerpt

Entergy Arkansas (Little Rock, Arkansas) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers: 

Customer bill credits will begin in April so customers will begin to benefit almost immediately and prior to summer when usage is typically higher.

Residential customers will see a savings of an estimated $20 per month for every 1000 kWh consumed from April 2018 to December 2019.

Business customers also will see significant bill reductions, allowing them to reinvest those savings into their business in 2018 as they deem appropriate.

Other effects of the TCJA are being considered in a docket opened by the APSC, and we expect those customer benefits to be reflected in future rate changes. - February 28, 2018 Entergy Arkansas press release excerpt

Center Point Energy (Jonesboro, Arkansas) – The utility is passing along 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

Black Hills Energy (Rapid City, South Dakota) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers: 

Arkansas customers served by Black Hills Energy are seeing the benefits of the federal corporate tax rate reduction from 35 percent to 21 percent. These benefits first appeared on customers’ October 2018 bills. A typical residential customer will receive a monthly refund of about $4.64 per month ending in the middle of May 2019.

The total amount of cost-savings related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for Arkansas customers is $8.2 million. - Black Hills Energy website

Oklahoma Gas & Electric (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

OG&E today announced that its average Arkansas residential customer will see approximately $113 in savings on upcoming electric bills.

In October, customers will see a credit of approximately $57 on their electric bill. Then, beginning in November, customers will see a credit of approximately $4 per month through the end of 2019. The savings are made possible by the reduction in corporate tax rates approved by Congress and signed by President Trump in December 2017.

“We’re pleased to pass on to our customers the benefits of tax savings that resulted from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” said OG&E spokesman Brian Alford.

The credit will be noted on October bills as “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Credit.” - Oklahoma Gas & Electric press release

Arkansas Oklahoma Gas (Fort Smith, Arkansas) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

The purpose of this rider is to provide customers with certain tax benefits associated with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA). The TCJA reduces the maximum corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% beginning January 1, 2018. TA flows back to customers the net impact of the lower corporate income tax rate that includes annual tax savings, as well as changes to Accumulated Deferred Income Tax (ADIT) amounts. An adjustment for WNA impact for January 2018 through April 2018 will be included in the 2018 TA Rates.

TA applies to all natural gas service provided under any rate schedule, including rates under Special Contracts, subject to the jurisdiction of the Arkansas Public Service Commission. 

Monthly credits shall appear as a line item on the bill titled, “Tax Cuts & Jobs Act Credit.” 

Beginning with the November 2018 billing month through the December 2018 billing month, all retail base rates will be decreased by the amounts listed in Attachment A. The rates include carrying charges, calculated using the pre-tax rate of return approved in the Company’s most recent rate case in Docket No. 13-078-U, for the over collection in tax expense from January 1, 2018 until the date this rider became effective. - October 9, 2018 Arkansas Public Service Commission document 

Southwestern Electric Power Company (Little Rock, Arkansas) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

On January 31, 2020, Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) filed with the Arkansas Public Service Commission (Commission) proposed revisions to Rate Schedule 49, Federal Tax Cut Adjustment Rider (FTCA Rider) and the Supplemental Direct Testimony and Exhibits of Shawnna G. Jones. 

Ms. Jones testifies that the total true-up amount due to Arkansas retail customers is an additional refund of $s,866,955 with carrying charges in the true up resulting in an additional refund of $321,726. She requests that the Commission approve Rider FTCA to be in effect for the March 2020 billing month that begins on February 28, 2020. Other than the true-up revisions to Rider FTCA, Ms. Jones testifies that SWEPCO proposes additional language to Rider FTCA that any residual amounts, after the refund is applied in March 2020, will be included in SWEPCO's next Energy Cost Recovery Rider filing with interest. Ms. Jones testifies that the bill impact to an average Residential customer using 934 kWh per month is a credit of $22.91 or a 23.28 percent decrease to total monthly bill. She states that SWEPCO will reflect the true-up as a separate line item on the customer bills labeled "Tax Cuts & Jobs Credit." Jones Supplemental Direct at 6-9.

---

On the basis of the evidence currently before the Commission, namely, the testimony and exhibits filed herein by SWEPCO and Staff, the Commission approves SWEPCO's Rate Schedule No. 49 filed on January 31, 2020, as Supplemental Direct Exhibit SGJ-2, to become effective for bills rendered on or after February 28, 2020, and remain in effect until March 31, 2020. - February 5, 2020 Arkansas Public Service Commission document

Jetton General Contracting (Jonesboro, Arkansas) -- The contracting company has built a number of "micro-lofts" in the Opportunity Zones:

"Just about any type of business can qualify in an Opportunity Zone, as can property and equipment. The only businesses that don’t qualify on the front end are so-called “sin” businesses such as massage parlors, strip clubs, country clubs, golf courses and others.

.....

Jetton General Contracting has built a number of downtown “micro-lofts” that are small, modern loft-style apartments suited for college students, she said. The downtown area has about 130 lofts and other apartments." -- February 27, 2020 Talk Business article

 

Arkopolis Properties (Little Rock, Arkansas) -- The company is building an apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A real estate investment and development group said Wednesday that it will spend some $20 million in the first phase of developing 41 acres of riverfront property in North Little Rock into a mix of “resort-style” apartments, single- and multifamily homes, retail shops and a hotel.

The first phase, with groundbreaking set in early January, will consist of the construction of 92 one- and two-bedroom apartments and infrastructure, said Blake Jackson, who with his brother Edward are managing members of Monde Group and other companies behind what will be called the Esplanade District. All permits and financing have been acquired, he said. Monde is based in Maumelle.

The Jacksons, through their Arkopolis Properties LLC of Maumelle, own 41 wooded acres along the Arkansas River, just west of the relatively new Rockwater Village and Rockwater Marina and east of Emerald Park.

The first phase of construction begins next month on 7 of those acres, providing utility services and other infrastructure needs for 92 apartment homes that the Jacksons hope will open in the first quarter of 2021, if weather doesn’t interfere. The first phase also includes construction of Esplanade Circle, the main roadway into the development just off River Road.

Other planned phases of the project — including a boutique hotel, condominiums, single-family homes, multifamily residential buildings and small retailers — will take place over the next 10 to 15 years, Blake Jackson said. The apartments in the first phase will be rental; housing in other phases will be for sale, he said.

“With Rockwater Village and Riverside at Rockwater [apartments] nearby, we already have a community of a thousand people,” he said.

A price tag for the entire project depends on a lot of factors and isn’t available now, he said. The order of each phase also will depend on the market, he said.

The Jacksons formed Arkopolis Opportunity Fund LLC, making use of a tax break on capital gains set up within the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson identified 85 census tracts in the state, including the one for the Esplanade site, where investors can have their taxes on capital gains deferred or eliminated. The program is aimed at encouraging longterm private investment in low-income communities and neighborhoods by providing a tax incentive for those who reinvest unrealized capital gains into those zones.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for Arkansas and for our local communities,” Hutchinson said in April 2018 when he identified the Arkansas zones ultimately approved for the program by the U.S. Treasury Department. “We tried to mirror the designated census tracts with the most likely area of investments. We relied on priorities set by local economic development leaders and sometimes based on the information of an investor who’d say, ‘This is what I want to invest in.’”

--

According to census data and an analysis by the Economic Innovation Group, a Washington, D.C., group that pushed for the Opportunity Zone program, the 8,762 zones in the nation have a median household income of $33,345, an average poverty rate of 31.75%, and an average unemployment rate of 13.41%. -- December 19, 2019 Arkansas Democrat Gazette article

Big River Steel (Osceola, Arkansas) - $1.2 bill expansion and hiring 500 new employees:

Big River Steel is investing $1.2 billion in expansion and creating an additional 500 jobs. That means more opportunity for American workers.

A spokesman for the state notes the jobs will pay on average about $75,000 annually. - June 29, 2018 Arkansas Times article excerpt

Monde Group (North Little Rock, Arkansas) -- The company is building an apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Arkansas-based Monde Group broke ground Wednesday (Jan. 8) on the Esplanade District, a 41-acre mixed-use neighborhood development in North Little Rock along the Arkansas River. It is located adjacent to Rockwater Village and Riverside at Rockwater Apartments.

The first phase includes the construction of Esplanade luxury apartment homes, which will feature 92 one- and two-bedroom units, all with private balconies or patios. The property, which is expected to cost about $20 million to develop, is scheduled to open in early 2021.

“Esplanade will offer a unique living experience unlike any other in central Arkansas,” said Blake Jackson founder and managing partner of the Monde Group. “In addition to our premiere valet services and enhanced security features, our property will also feature a spa, fitness center, bicycle lockers, beach, swim-up bar, entertainment and lush gardens.”

Future costs of the acreage to be developed are unknown. Over the next 10-15 years, Jackson said the development will include restaurants, bars and specialty shops with condos, single-family homes and a boutique hotel.

“We really see Esplanade as the first step on a new path to modern living in central Arkansas,” Jackson said. “With close proximity to parks, golf courses, the millennium bike trail, Rockwater Marina, the Argenta Arts District, downtown Little Rock, North Little Rock, and the Clinton National Airport, Esplanade will boast the first significant phase of what will be a multi-phase community development and continue the momentum of Rockwater Village and North Little Rock’s building renaissance.” -- January 8, 2020 Talk Business article

Walmart (Headquarters in Bentonville plus 132 retail locations statewide) – Base wage increase for all hourly employees to $11; bonuses of up to $1,000; expanded maternity and parental leave; $5,000 for adoption expenses:

Today, Walmart announced plans to increase the starting wage rate for all hourly associates in the U.S. to $11, expand maternity and parental leave benefits and provide a one-time cash bonus for eligible associates of up to $1,000. The company is also creating a new benefit to assist associates with adoption expenses. The combined wage and benefit changes will benefit the company’s more than one million U.S. hourly associates.

“Today, we are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO. “It’s our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families.”

He added, “We are early in the stages of assessing the opportunities tax reform creates for us to invest in our customers and associates and to further strengthen our business, all of which should benefit our shareholders. However, some guiding themes are clear and consistent with how we’ve been investing -- lower prices for customers, better wages and training for associates and investments in the future of our company, including in technology. Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.”

This increase in wages to associates will take effect in February and will be approximately $300 million incremental to what was already included in next fiscal year’s plan. The one-time bonus represents an additional payment to associates of approximately $400 million in the current fiscal year, which ends Jan. 31, 2018.

While the new law will create some financial benefit for the company, Walmart is early in the process of assessing potential additional investments. That assessment will be done not only through the lens of associates, customers and shareholders, but also within Walmart’s financial framework of strong, efficient growth, consistent operating discipline and strategic capital allocation. Further details will be shared, as appropriate, when the company releases quarterly results Feb. 20, 2018.

Associates will hear more from their managers in the coming days about details.

But, broadly, associates in the U.S. will share in tax savings through:

· A one-time bonus benefiting all eligible full and part-time hourly associates in the U.S. The amount of the bonus will be based on length of service, with associates with at least 20 years qualifying for $1,000. A discrete one-time charge will be taken in the fourth quarter of the current year to account for the bonus; qualification will be determined before the end of the month and payments will be paid as quickly as practical thereafter.

· An increase in Walmart’s starting wage rate to $11 an hour, effective in the Feb. 17, 2018, pay cycle. The change is in addition to wage increases already planned for many U.S. markets in the coming fiscal year. The increase applies to all hourly associates in the U.S., including stores, Sam’s Clubs, eCommerce, logistics and Home Office.

·       An expanded parental and maternity leave policy, providing full-time hourly associates in the U.S. with 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave. Salaried associates will also receive six weeks of paid parental leave.

·       Walmart will provide financial assistance to associates adopting a child. The adoption benefit, available to both full-time hourly and salaried associates, will total $5,000 per child and may be used for expenses such as adoption agency fees, translation fees and legal or court costs.  –  Jan. 11 2018, Walmart press release

Tyson Foods, Inc, (Springdale, Arkansas) -- 100,000 employees will receive a tax reform bonuses: $1,000 for full-time employees and $500 for part-time employees. 

Peoples Bank (Magnolia, Arkansas) -- $500 bonuses and $50,000 in charitable donations.

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses for 2,044 Arkansas-based employeesNationwide, $1,000 bonuses for 200,000 employees, and a $1 billion increase in capital expenditures:

Today, Congress approved legislation representing the first comprehensive tax reform in a generation. The President is expected to sign the bill in the coming days.

Once tax reform is signed into law, AT&T* plans to invest an additional $1 billion in the United States in 2018 and pay a special $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 AT&T U.S. employees — all union-represented, non-management and front-line managers. If the President signs the bill before Christmas, employees will receive the bonus over the holidays.

“Congress, working closely with the President, took a monumental step to bring taxes paid by U.S. businesses in line with the rest of the industrialized world,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “This tax reform will drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs. In fact, we will increase our U.S. investment and pay a special bonus to our U.S. employees.”

Since 2012, AT&T has invested more in the United States than any other public company. Every $1 billion in capital invested in the telecom industry creates about 7,000 jobs for American workers, research shows. -- Dec. 20, 2017 AT&T Inc. press release

Apple (Retail location in Little Rock) - $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. 

Bank of the Ozarks (Little Rock, Arkansas) – Bonuses of up to $1,200 for 2,300 employees

“Recently signed U.S. corporate tax legislation has given us the opportunity to enhance current compensation programs for our employees. This bonus plan rewards hard work and performance while promoting our longstanding commitment to excellence which has driven our Company’s success for decades.” – Dec. 28, 2017 Bank of the Ozarks press release

Diamond Bear Brewery (Little Rock, Arkansas) – The brewery saved over $10,000 because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and invested it in employees and equipment:

Russ Melton, president of Diamond Bear Brewing, said the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act is a big relief for his business.

"It lowered it from $7 per barrel which is 31 gallons to $3.50 a barrel," he said.

He said it's allowed him to save thousands every year.

"Doesn't sound like a lot but if you do 3,000 barrels that's $10,000," Melton said.

That's 10-thousand dollars that can be used on employees or equipment.

"It is a big help for small businesses," he said. – Dec. 18, 2019, THV11 article.

Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc. -- "YellaWood" (Glenwood, Arkansas) -- Significantly increased employee benefits: lower healthcare costs, more paid time off, scholarships, and more:

Great Southern Wood Preserving, Incorporated, has begun an active and ongoing process to increase employee benefits by reinvesting its tax savings in its people, the company has announced. The company expects full implementation to take place in 2018.

In late 2017, Congress passed and the President signed into law legislation providing significant tax breaks for corporations. Across America, many companies have chosen a variety of options for applying these savings, such as providing one-time bonuses to employees, increasing charitable giving and reinvesting in facilities upgrades.

For its part, Great Southern Wood will make investments on an ongoing basis to lower healthcare costs for eligible employees, allow employees to accrue more paid time off based on length of service, develop scholarships for dependents of employees and enhance other benefits going forward.

“I’m very pleased that every employee across the company will see the results of the change in tax laws,” said Jimmy Rane, Great Southern Wood’s founder, president and CEO. “The success we’ve enjoyed as a company comes from every one of us working hard and doing our part, and I can’t think of a better way to apply our tax savings than by further investing in benefits programs for our employees. We strive to be an employer that draws the best and brightest to our company, and we believe that providing stronger benefits is essential to this continuing effort.”

Great Southern employs almost 1,200 at locations in eleven states. [Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Florida] -- March 29, 2018 Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc. press release

Home Bancshares, Inc. (Conway, Arkansas) – $500 bonuses for 850 employees:

Home BancShares, Inc. (Nasdaq:HOMB) ("Home" or "the Company"), parent company of Centennial Bank ("Centennial"), announced plans today to distribute a one-time bonus of $500 for more than 850 full-time tenured employees. The actions are in appreciation for the commitment employees show in supporting customers and building stronger communities.

"We are investing in our most important asset - our people," said John Allison, Home BancShares, Inc. Chairman.  "Our employees drive our reputation, our business and ultimately our success.  Investing in these individuals is an important step to help support them, their families and the communities in which we operate."

Newly passed tax legislation includes a reduction in corporate tax rates from 35% to 21% and is designed to spur economic growth. 

"The tax reform has created the opportunity for us to reward our employees who are working hard each day to both serve our customers and enrich relationships in our communities," added Mr. Allison. "We look forward to identifying additional opportunities for Home BancShares to invest in our people and communities as we continue to execute our business strategies and deliver long-term value to our shareholders."

"We believe tax reform is good for our U.S. economy and we are very happy to share with our valuable team members some portion of the benefits Home BancShares will realize by the enactment of the recent tax reform," said Tracy French, Centennial Bank President and CEO.

Approximately 53 percent of full-time employees will receive this one-time bonus which is expected to be distributed during January 2018.  Employees with base salaries exceeding $50,000 are excluded from this compensation. – Jan. 12, 2018 Home Bancshares, Inc. press release

Home Depot -- 14 locations in Arkansas, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's -- 3,000+ employees at 20 stores in Arkansas. 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 (Eight locations in Arkansas) – Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Starbucks Coffee Company (55 locations in Arkansas) –$500 stock grants for all retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plan and support center employee stock grants. Nationally, 8,000 new retail jobs; an additional wage increase this year, totaling approximately $120 million in wage increases, increased sick time benefits and parental leave.

T.J. Maxx – (13 locations in Arkansas) – 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

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

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

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

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

FedEx (Multiple locations in Arkansas) – 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

Taco John’s (Two locations in Russellville, Arkansas): All full-time and part-time crew members received a $200 after-tax bonus:

Taco John’s International, Inc. announced today that in response to the 2018 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, the company gave part of its projected tax savings to its restaurant crews, general managers, corporate staff and CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees).

On Friday, Feb. 23, Taco John’s International, Inc.’s employees received a one-time bonus, as follows:

  • Every restaurant crew member - full-time and part-time - received $200 (after taxes);
  • General managers and employees at the Taco John’s Franchisee Support Center in Cheyenne received $1,000 each; and,
  • The Executive Council of Taco John’s International, Inc. (Vice Presidents and above) donated their $1,000 bonuses (a total of $10,000) to CORE, a national not-for-profit organization that grants support to children of food and beverage service employees who are navigating life-altering circumstances.
     

“At Taco John’s International, our team is our family, so sharing the financial benefits that were a result of the recent tax reform legislation only makes sense,” said Jim Creel, CEO of Taco John’s International, Inc. “We encourage other restaurant brands to follow our example and give a portion of their savings to the people that are at the heart of what we do and to great organizations like CORE that support our crew. One hundred percent of CORE’s funds directly benefit children of restaurant employees who have been afflicted with life-threating conditions.”

“We are so grateful to the Taco John’s team for their generous donation to our CORE family members,” said Lauren LaViola, executive director of CORE. “Donations like theirs help us provide for our food and beverage service families experiencing loss, illness and other life-changing circumstances, and help us get closer to our goal of helping even more families across all 50 states in 2018.”

The total amount that Taco John’s International, Inc. gave exceeded $150,000.00. – Feb. 28, 2018 Taco John’s International, Inc. press release

McDonald’s (180+ locations in Arkansas) – 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

BancorpSouth Bank (44 branch locations in Arkansas) Pay raises for over 70 percent of employees; $1,000 bonuses for nearly 20 percent of employees: 

BancorpSouth Bank (NYSE: BXS) today announced an additional investment in its employees, which includes pay increases and /or one-time bonuses to nearly all non-commissioned employees.

The investment of over $10 million in 2018 will benefit 96% of the Company's non-commissioned workforce. Pay increases were effective January 1, 2018.

"We are proud to reward our team with this opportunity since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act should benefit everyone" said Dan Rollins, Chairman and CEO. "BancorpSouth's continued and future success is based on the economic vitality of the communities we serve and taking care of our teammates allows us to provide the very best service to our customers, communities and shareholders." – Jan. 3, 2018 BancorpSouth Bank press release

-----------------------

The increased compensation overall at BancorpSouth affected more than 70 percent of all employees, and provided a $1,000 bonus to nearly 20 percent of all employees.

BancorpSouth employs some 4,000 employees in more than 230 locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas, plus an insurance location in Illinois. – Jan. 4, 2018 Daily Journal/BizBuzz article

Bank of America (19 branch locations in Arkansas) -- $1,000 bonuses.

Wells Fargo  (Arkansas branch locations in Ashdown and Texarkana) 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 Arkansas examples, please email John Kartch at jkartch@atr.org

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

Photo Credit: Jo Naylor/Flickr

More from Americans for Tax Reform


How the Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Tennessee

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, June 30th, 2021, 2:20 PM PERMALINK

Tennessee is benefiting greatly from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by Republicans in 2017:

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, at least five Tennessee utilities reduced their customers' bills (see below).

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

AEP Appalachian Power (Kingsport, Tennessee) - The utility will pass along tax cut savings to customers:

Beginning with February bills and going forward, AEP Appalachian Power customers in Tennessee will see rate reductions as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. - February 12, 2019 AEP Appalachian Power press release

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

To minimize impact on customers’ bills, Chattanooga Gas is proposing accelerating the return of credits stemming from the 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) to customers. The different tax savings from the TCJA would have been spread over multiple years, but Chattanooga Gas is proposing crediting all savings to customers in 2020. This allows customers to receive the benefit of the tax savings sooner and offsets a portion of the bill increase related to the ARM filing. - May 29, 2020 Chattanooga Gas Company press release

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) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

Chattanooga water users will soon get a reprieve on their monthly bills due to cuts in corporate tax rates and investment incentives adopted by Congress nearly two years ago.

“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

Atmos Energy Corporation (Dallas, Texas) - 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

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.

 

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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