John Kartch

How the Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Alaska

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Posted by John Kartch on Saturday, January 2nd, 2021, 9:30 AM PERMALINK

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

60,550 Alaska 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.

268,720 Alaska 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.

13,370 Alaska 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, Alaska residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, Enstar Natural Gas Company, Alaska Electric Light and Power, Golden Heart Utilities, and College Utilities (see below) all passed their tax savings on to their customers. 

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

Enstar Natural Gas Company (Anchorage, Alaska) – The utility will pass tax reform savings to customers.

Alaska Electric Light and Power (Juneau, Alaska) – The utility will pass tax reform savings to customers.

Golden Heart Utilities (Fairbanks, Alaska) – The utility will pass tax cut savings along to customers:

In December, Congress passed new tax law that included a major cut to the corporate tax rate — to 21 percent from 35 percent. That will likely mean major savings for the small number of Alaska utilities that aren't cooperatives or municipally owned.

Those utilities include Enstar Natural Gas, which serves Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula and Mat-Su; Alaska Electric Light and Power (AEL&P) in Juneau; and Golden Heart Utilities and College Utilities, water and sewer utilities in Fairbanks.– March 7, 2018 Anchorage Daily News article excerpt

College Utilities (Fairbanks, Alaska) – The utility will pass tax cut savings along to customers:

In December, Congress passed new tax law that included a major cut to the corporate tax rate — to 21 percent from 35 percent. That will likely mean major savings for the small number of Alaska utilities that aren't cooperatives or municipally owned.

Those utilities include Enstar Natural Gas, which serves Anchorage, the Kenai Peninsula and Mat-Su; Alaska Electric Light and Power (AEL&P) in Juneau; and Golden Heart Utilities and College Utilities, water and sewer utilities in Fairbanks. – March 7, 2018 Anchorage Daily News article excerpt

Walmart –Alaskans employed at all nine Alaska 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.

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 455 Alaska employeesNationwide, $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 in Anchorage) -- $2,500 employee bonuses in the form of restricted stock unitsNationally, $30 billion in additional capital expenditures.

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

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

Lowe's -- 800 employees in five stores in Alaska. Employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service; expanded benefits and maternity/paternal leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance. 

Ryder (Anchorage, Alaska) -- Tax reform bonuses for employees.

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

Starbucks Coffee Company (49 locations in Alaska) – $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.

FedEx (Multiple locations in Alaska) – 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 (20+ locations in Alaska) – 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

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

Wells Fargo - 45 banks in Alaska, 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 Alaska 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 Arizona

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, January 1st, 2021, 10:00 AM PERMALINK

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

483,360 Arizona households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

Every income group in every Arizona 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.

2,122,290 Arizona 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.

107,360 Arizona 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, Arizona residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. Arizona utilities that have passed along tax savings include -- but are not limited to -- Arizona Public Service,  Bermuda Water CompanyEPCOR USA, and more (see below).

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

SmithCraft Signs (Phoenix, Arizona) -- Employee bonuses, purchasing new equipment:

MS. BERGSTROM:  Oh, thank you. Thank you Mr. President.  Wow. I’m Nicole, and I run Smithcraft Signs.  We are a veteran-owned, small manufacturing company.  We’re a job shop.

And what tax reform means for me is what we can do for our team.  To improve our capabilities, we’re buying new equipment. We issued a special bonus to our midlevel employees.

Deeann, in our accounting department told me that she is using the extra money for what she describes as a “dream bucket-list vacation” to visit her daughter who was recently discharged from the Navy who is now in Hawaii.

Phil and NOAZ is using the money for a bathroom remodel he has been planning for over 10 years.

I’ve very excited about what the future holds for us.  And again, so many thanks. - April 12, 2018, White House transcript

HT Metals (Tucson, Arizona) - Purchasing new equipment:

His Tucson-based company, HT Metals, cuts pieces for aerospace and medical device industries. In early May, Ruiz told a crowd gathered in Tempe to see Vice President Mike Pence that he recently spent a couple hundred thousand dollars on a new machine.

“And, we get to expense it immediately,” he said. - May 16, 2018, KJZZ.org article excerpt

Pacific Oak Capital and Defer Gain (Phoenix, Arizona) -- The company is building an affordable housing complex in downtown Phoenix that will be located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Three apartment complexes are headed to an Opportunity Zone in downtown Phoenix, addressing the need for affordable housing. These projects are valued at $61 million.

Investment company Pacific Oak Capital and Defer Gain, an Arizona-based real estate development company specializing in Opportunity Zone investments, have announced a joint venture to develop, finance, and operate multi-family, commercial, and industrial income-producing properties in Arizona Opportunity Zones.

In this first phase, three multi-family housing complexes are being built in downtown Phoenix, the 241-unit St. Ambrose Apartments and the 84-unit Presidential Apartments, and another housing development called Imperial Apartments. 

"It's exciting to see Opportunity Zone developments providing support to a critical component of our state's economy — the workforce," said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. "We thank Pacific Oak and Defer Gain for advancing these three projects in downtown Phoenix neighborhoods."

These properties will include amenities such as mail rooms including secured lockers for packages, grocery delivery and cold/ freezer storage, clubhouses, multi-purpose rooms, private conference rooms, exercise facilities, resort style swimming pools, cabanas with private BBQ's, and access to public transportation. There will also be street level retail and mixed use opportunities for the community. 

"Adding quality housing is a top priority for our city. I am excited to see new housing, including much-needed workforce units, near our key job corridors in the downtown and airport area,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said. -- August 16, 2019 Housing Wire article

 

Lucid Moters Inc. (Pinal County, Arizona) -- The company is building a production plant in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Arizona's Pinal County has purchased 500 acres of land that it plans to lease and eventually sell to Silicon Valley electric carmaker Lucid Motors Inc ., which plans to create a $700 million production facility on the site.

The plant in Casa Grande, Arizona, will focus be on the Lucid Air, an under-development all-electric luxury sedan that Lucid claims will have a 400-mile range and top speed of 200 mph when it hits the market next year. Lucid eventually plans to employ 2,300 people at the plant, which is expected to begin construction in the second quarter of this year.

In September, Lucid Motors secured a $1 billion investment from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund. Around the same time, the Business Journal confirmed that it had moved its headquarters and about 300 employees  into the former Theranos space in Newark's Pacific Research Center campus, about four miles from incumbent rival Tesla Inc .'s Fremont factory.

Electric car promise

“The convergence of new technologies is reshaping the automobile, but the benefits have yet to be truly realized,” Lucid Chief Technology Officer Peter Rawlinson said when the Saudi investment was announced last year. “This is inhibiting the pace at which sustainable mobility and energy are adopted. At Lucid, we will demonstrate the full potential of the electric connected vehicle in order to push the industry forward.”

Rawlinson helped design Tesla's Model S sedan, but left the company in 2012.

Lucid has said it plans to build two versions of its electric vehicle, going head-to-head in the market that Palo Alto-based Tesla has pioneered. The Lucid vehicles will start at a base price of around $60,000 and will top $100,000 with options.

Arizona plant moves forward

In Arizona, Pinal County stepped in to help the deal for Lucid's new auto plant by consolidating the land under one ownership that eventually would be sold to the carmaker, Pinal County Manager Greg Stanley said. The county closed on the land at the end of 2018, spending $29.94 million through the issuance of bonds.

As part of the agreement, Lucid will pay $1.8 million per year in rent for the first four years of the agreement, and will buy the land in the fifth year, Stanley said. The county will break even on the deal.

Lucid is required to keep funds in an account that, if the plant does not come to fruition, will be used by the county to complete infrastructure improvements on the site to make it a shovel-ready industrial park.

Most of the land was owned by Scottsdale, Arizona, based Saint Holdings before being purchased by the county. Kirk McCarville of Land Advisors brokered a deal for 80 acres from a separate seller of adjacent land, which was purchased by the county as part of the 500-acre total purchase.

Saint Holdings is owner and developer of the Central Arizona Commerce Park, which contains the Lucid land.

“We have quite a bit of interest in the northern parcels,” said Jackob Andersen, president and CEO of Saint Holdings of the Central Arizona Commerce Park, which is also part of an opportunity zone. “We are open for business on the neighboring sites, we hope the others will get auxiliary uses.” -- Feb. 13, 2019 Silicon Valley Business Journal article

Pacific Oak Capital Advisors (Phoenix, Arizona) -- The company is building affordable apartment units in downtown Phoenix in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Thanks to downtown Phoenix's apartment building boom, there are thousands of new places for people to live in the popular area. Unfortunately, many who work or go to college downtown can't afford the pricey rents.

But three new apartment projects could help ease the rent crunch for hundreds of people who want to live near their job or school in central Phoenix.

An Arizona group is teaming with a national investor to develop three more affordable apartment projects in central Phoenix with almost 500 units. Rents for many of the apartments will be below the area's average, which is more than $1,737 a month, according to Colliers International.

The new tax incentive for developing in lower-income areas designated as Opportunity Zones is spurring the development of the new apartments. -- September 12, 2019 The Arizona Republic article

Pivot Manufacturing (Phoenix, Arizona) - Purchasing new equipment:

Two high-speed machines arrived less than a month after the president signed the tax bill. The law lets Macias avoid paying federal tax on 20 percent of his company’s income. - May 16, 2018, KJZZ.org article excerpt

Davcon Aviation, LLC and Mesa Hangar, LLC (Mesa, Arizona) -- The companies are planning to add 20 hangars to Mesa's Falcon Field Airport that will include office space, located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Mesa's Falcon Field Airport, known for its rich history and as a major economic engine for the city, is adding at least 20 hangars to accommodate its growing clientele.

The municipal airport, which serves private and military aircraft, announced last week that it's preparing for a 23-acre development -- complete with ancillary offices and manufacturing spaces.

Davcon Aviation, LLC, and Mesa Hangar, LLC, will construct the phased project on more than 1 million square feet of vacant city land on the northwest side of the airport.

"We are really excited about it," said airport Director Corinne Nystrom. "One of our big missions has been to finish developing the airport with a strong presence of hangars and aviation businesses and this is exactly what we've been looking for. It's a big win for mesa."

The land will be leased for 40 years, and the initial design concept estimates that the hangars will range from 5,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet.

The number and size of the hangars will vary, depending on the preferences of the new tenants, and will offer high ceilings and wide doors.

The hangars will seek to accommodate corporate jets and specialized fixed-wing and helicopter uses, explained Lynn Spencer, airport economic development project manager.

"One of the things that is so exciting about getting the new hangars is that a lot of the inventory will allow us to have a new stock of facilities that can attract a different variety of businesses and size aircrafts," she said.

"This is going to allow for more potential businesses and jobs to come here," Spencer added.

The project is anticipated to cost more than $30 million, but because the airport is self-sustaining, it won't be dipping into any of the city's general fund.

The U.S. Treasury Department designated Falcon Field as an "opportunity zone," meaning it's an economically-distressed community where new investments could be eligible for preferential tax treatment.

Opportunity Zones are designed to spur economic development and job creation, according to the federal Internal Revenue Service website. -- May 20, 2019 East Valley Tribune article

Banyan Residential (Scottsdale, Arizona) -- The company is revitalizing a vacant lot with apartments, retail, and office space which will be located on a Opportunity Zone, created by the 2017 GOP tax cut:


Banyan Residential announced the start of construction on the long-anticipated Scottsdale Entrada development this morning. Located at the northeast corner of 64th Street and McDowell Road, Scottsdale Entrada will revitalize a long vacant 33-acre lot with a vibrant mixed-use campus, including 736 apartment units, 250,000 square feet of office space, 5,000 square feet of retail and ample public open space. The project is located in an Opportunity Zone, part of a revitalization program formed under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and will be developed with program-compliant funding.
 
"Because of its central location and proximity to Phoenix, this project is critical to the economic prosperity and urban renaissance of the area and surrounding neighborhoods," said Mayor Lane. "As the name conveys, this is a major entry point to Scottsdale. We are very excited for construction to start." -- March 27, 2020 Vertical News article

Crooked Tooth Brewery (Tucson, Arizona) – Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the brewery is planning to invest in new jobs and  has been able to give back to the community:

The Vernons have been in the brewery business for about three years. Most of that time has fallen under the Craft Beverage Modernization Tax Reform Act passed in 2017. Because of this, they pay $3.50 a barrel in taxes, but at the start of 2020 that could double.

“We had about two months of business where we had $7 a barrel,” Vernon said. “That two months of business we didn’t do a lot of brewing, you know.”

This tax break was like a glass half full for small business.

Like the glass, there was plenty of room to grow. But if it expires, there's fear that optimism goes down the drain.

“Something that we may be investing in employment or we also give a lot to the community,” Vernon said.

These are things Vernon said he's been able to do because of this tax break, like working with local nonprofits on events. – Dec. 7, 2019, KLOD article.

Caliber  (Phoenix, Arizona) -- The company is building a behavioral health clinic that will be located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Caliber-The Wealth Development Company has closed a deal as the property owner and developer of a 62,592-square-foot behavioral health clinic in downtown Phoenix. The 96-bed facility will be occupied by Dr. Cameron Gilbert and his company, Medical Behavioral Hospital of Phoenix LLC., and will care for patients struggling with medical and psychiatric conditions. Caliber purchased the facility, located near 14th Street and McDowell Road, for $10 million and will complete $9.5 million of renovations in the next year. 

“This is a great example of how opportunity zones can truly make a positive impact on communities by enabling projects that are profitable, yet otherwise may not have attracted traditional funding,” said Chris Loeffler, CEO and co-founder of Caliber-The Wealth Development Company. “The clinic is expected to bring 80 high-income jobs into downtown Phoenix and, more importantly, serve a population in desperate need for advanced care.” 

The clinic is the fourth investment to be included in the Caliber Tax Advantaged Opportunity Zone Fund, LP. and is one of the first healthcare opportunity zone properties across the country. Over the past year, Caliber has emerged as an industry-leading expert in opportunity zones and its Qualified Opportunity Zone Fund (QOF) has raised more than $40 million since its launch in Q4 2018. The fund is open to investment of short- and long-term capital gains, providing significant tax savings to investors, and is expected to reach its $500 million goal within two years. -- August 7, 2019 AZ Big Media article

Sutter Masonry, Inc. (El Mirage, Arizona) -- The company employs approximately 100 people. Hourly wages were increased by $1.00 and over $50,000 in bonuses were distributed.

Liberty Utilities  (Phoenix, Arizona) – The utility will pass along tax savings to customers:

The Arizona Corporation Commission is following through on its promise to pass savings created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to Arizona utility ratepayers. As of August, the effort has totaled $189,088,437.

The Commission has been working on rate adjustments every month since February. At the July Open Meeting, the Commission addressed federal tax adjustments for both Southwest Gas and Liberty Utilities with adjustments made to their revenue requirements of $20 million and $1.9 million respectively. – August 24, Prescott News Online

San Tan Brewing (Chandler, Arizona) – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allowed the brewery to put their spirits on the market:

Anthony Canecchia owns San Tan Brewing, a company that produces large quantities of beer and a small amount of distilled spirits.

Canecchia and his team had been experimenting with spirits for a while before they put them on the market. In 2017, considering the tax cut, it seemed like a natural time to start production, he says. San Tan Distilling started selling its spirits, such as Saint Anne's vodka and Sacred Stave whiskey and bourbon, in 2018. – Dec. 20, 2019, The Arizona Republic article.

Quail Creek (Phoenix, Arizona) – The utility will pass tax savings on to customers

The Arizona Corporation Commission is following through on its promise to pass savings created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to Arizona utility ratepayers. As of August, the effort has totaled $189,088,437.

At the August Open Meeting, the Commission addressed tax adjustments for both the Quail Creek and Bermuda Water Companies. The largest tax adjustment occurred earlier this year when the Commission approved a $119 million dollar reduction to benefit APS customers. - August 24, Prescott News Online

Rastegar Property Company, LLC (Phoenix, Arizona) -- The company is building an apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Rastegar Property, a vertically-integrated real estate investment firm focused on value-add and development in all asset classes across the United States, today announced its acquisition of a prominently-located high-rise lot in downtown Phoenix, AZ in anticipation of the city’s rapidly growing demand for residential and commercial real estate space.

Located at 334 N. 4th Ave., the 26,500+ square foot high-rise lot is near many employers, higher education campuses, retail spaces including shops, restaurants and bars, and entertainment venues. The lot’s zoning allows for 550 feet of vertical development, and Rastegar Property plans to use the lot to develop a multifamily high-rise residential complex with office and retail components.

“The Phoenix metropolitan area is experiencing some of the most tremendous job growth in the country, and with that comes significant demand for residential and commercial properties,” said Ari Rastegar, CEO of Rastegar Property. “In addition to its attractive size and location, the property also falls within a designated opportunity zone, a program through which the state of Arizona is encouraging investment and development in the Phoenix metropolitan area. This program, combined with the city’s rapidly growing population, and nation-leading rent and job growth, makes Phoenix an ideal market for Rastegar to make strategic acquisitions that bolster our national portfolio.” -- July 17, 2019 Rastegar Property press release

Bermuda Water Company (Phoenix, Arizona) – The utility will pass tax savings on to customers:

The Arizona Corporation Commission is following through on its promise to pass savings created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to Arizona utility ratepayers. As of August, the effort has totaled $189,088,437.

At the August Open Meeting, the Commission addressed tax adjustments for both the Quail Creek and Bermuda Water Companies. The largest tax adjustment occurred earlier this year when the Commission approved a $119 million dollar reduction to benefit APS customers.- August 24, Prescott News Online

Helio Basin Brewery (Phoenix, Arizona) – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allowed the brewery to expand:

Local breweries have been paying a $3.50 tax per barrel, but once the bill expires, it will double, increasing to $7 per barrel. "Even though it doesn't sound like a lot of money, a $3.50 increase, it really does matter a lot to us, especially at our scale," said Dustin Hazer, the owner of Helio Basin Brewery. "Pretty much anything we try to do to increase our efficiency, it's a matter of change. It's not even once the sale happens; it's once we process it. So, we're getting immediately taxed on that volume. It's not when we sell it; it's when we process it."

Hazer opened his brewery a little more than three years ago, before the tax break was put in place.  "The first year we had the full tax and then the last couple we've had the nice tax," he said. "Basically, when that tax break happened, we started to launch into some of the bigger stores, can products. We wouldn't have been able to do that even though it doesn't seem like a lot of money." – Dec. 5, 2019, AZFamily article.

JMA Ventures LLC (Phoenix, Arizona) -- The firm is building an apartment community located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

San Francisco-based JMA Ventures LLC is on track to break ground next week for a $75 million apartment community in the warehouse district in downtown Phoenix.

The last time the developer bought land in downtown Phoenix — about four blocks away from its current location at Fourth and Buchanan streets — it was 20 years ago.

...

Newmark Knight Frank (Nasdaq: NMRK) arranged $51.9 million in construction financing for the 278-unit apartment community, with the rest coming from JMA Ventures and "opportunity zone" funding. -- August 19, 2019 Phoenix Business Journal article

The Beer Shop Co. (Tempe, Arizona) – Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the owner was able to open his business and create jobs:

Dylan DeMiguel is a partner at the The Shop Beer Co. in Tempe. 

Originally he thought he’d head to law school, but it turns out his entrepreneurial spirit drew him into the booze business. 

It's booming, he says, thanks in part to a tax break that went into effect in 2018.

“We’re taking this money to fuel the growth of this company. We’re literally hiring people,” DeMiguel said. “We’re buying equipment. And we’re investing in our community.” – Dec. 8, 2019, KPNX 12 News article.

CAVU Aerospace (Mesa, Arizona) -- The aerospace company is opening an aircraft component repair facility in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

CAVU Aerospace Inc. is opening a $5 million aircraft component repair facility in Mesa, with plans to hire up to 75 employees.

The Stuttgart, Arkansas-based aerospace company, which focuses on end-of-service aircraft dismantling, engine repair and aerospace maintenance, was founded in 2010.

Component repair is a new business for the company, and Mesa will be the first of this facility for the company, said Ken Kocialski, CAVU Aerospace’s managing partner.

"We’re very excited to get this operation started," said Kocialski, who has lived in Chandler since the 1980s and will work out of the new facility. "This will bring our operation full circle."

...

A Los Angeles-based investment firm purchased the 20 acres of land in an opportunity zone for $2.25 million in February. -- August 1, 2019 Phoenix Business Journal article

U-Haul (Headquarters in Phoenix, with many locations statewide) – $1,200 bonus for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees; over 28,000 workers will receive a bonus:

Officials with U-Haul say Friday its employees will receive a one-time bonus, as a result of the tax cut bill that was signed by President Donald Trump.

According to a statement, full-time team members will get a $1,200 bonus, while part-time employees will get $500. The bonuses, which will be issued by the end of February, will cost the company $23 million.

Officials say over 28,000 workers will benefit from the bonus, with more than 3,800 of those in Arizona. – Feb. 9 2018, Fox 10 Phoenix news article

YAM Worldwide (Scottsdale, Arizona) -- $2,000 bonuses for the 595 employees who have been with the company more than six months; $1,000 bonuses for the 131 employees who have been with the company less than six months. More than $1.3 million in bonuses were paid:

American entrepreneur and philanthropist Bob Parsons today announced that in celebration of the passage of the GOP tax plan, all 725 YAM Worldwide employees will receive additional bonuses. The 594 staffers who have been with the company for more than six months will receive $2,000, and the remaining 131 employees who have been on the YAM Worldwide team six months or less will receive $1,000 each. The more than $1.3 million in bonuses will be distributed today.

“The passage of the tax credit is a catalyst for explosive economic growth. On a massive scale, the lowered federal tax burden on businesses will increase investment, entrepreneurship and corporate philanthropy,” said Parsons. “I’ve always believed in sharing good news and have decided to celebrate the tax plan by mgiving back to my staff.” – Dec. 17 2017, YAM Worldwide press release

Data Sales Co., Inc. (Scottsdale, Arizona) – $1,000 bonuses for all 80 employees:

Data Sales Co., Inc. announced today that the Company will celebrate the recent passage of tax reform legislation by distributing to all 80 plus employees a special bonus of $1,000 each. Data Sales Co. will benefit from the new tax law lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent:

“Our hard-working employees make this company succeed, and we wanted them to share in the savings the company will see and also help grow our economy. Today I’m announcing that every employee will receive a cash bonus of $1,000 each,” said Paul Breckner, President of Data Sales Co. “I also want to thank our local Congressman, Jason Lewis, for his consistent advocacy of tax reform and seeing it through to becoming law. With the majority of our 80+ strong workforce here in Burnsville, I’m pleased that the benefits of tax reform will be felt at home.”

Background on tax reform bonuses and Data Sales Co.:
All employees, whether full-time or part-time, hourly, salaried, commission or non-commission will receive the bonus to show our appreciation and heartfelt thanks for their service. We believe this tax reform will be good for Data Sales, spur economic growth, continue to grow jobs and keep unemployment at an all-time low. – Jan. 22, 2018 Data Sales Co., Inc. press release

Virtua Partners (Phoenix, Arizona) - Launched an Opportunity Zone Fund, raising $200 million for the fund:

Virtua Partners (Virtua), a global private-equity real-estate investment firm, today announced the launch of the first-ever Opportunity Zone Fund. This groundbreaking fund is the first vehicle designed to invest in the newly created Opportunity Zones -- one of the lesser known provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the Tax Reform Act). Virtua Opportunity Zone Fund I, LLC aims to raise $200 million and is designed to utilize the tax-savings opportunities created by the tax-reform law. - June 20, 2018 Virtua Partners press release

Pacific Oak Capital and Defer Gain (Phoenix, Arizona) -- The company announced an investment into affordable multi-family, commercial, and industrial income-producing properties within the Opportunity Zones, which will create jobs:

“Three apartment complexes are headed to an Opportunity Zone in downtown Phoenix, addressing the need for affordable housing. These projects are valued at $61 million.

In this first phase, three multi-family housing complexes are being built in downtown Phoenix, the 241-unit St. Ambrose Apartments and the 84-unit Presidential Apartments, and another housing development called Imperial Apartments.” -- August 16th, 2019, Housing Wire

EPCOR USA (Phoenix, Arizona) - The utility will pass along tax cut savings to customers:

More than 57,000 EPCOR wastewater customers will receive more than $1.1 million in federal corporate tax cut savings, reducing the amount of their monthly wastewater bill starting with the July 2018 billing cycle.

Today, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) approved EPCOR’s request to refund $1,106,392 in tax reform savings to all of the company’s residential and commercial wastewater customers.

Residential customers will receive a monthly credit of $1.26 until new rates are determined in a future rate case. Because wastewater service is billed at a flat rate, all residential customers will receive the same monthly credit. Residential customers will also receive a one-time credit of $7.56 on their July 2018 bill, refunding corporate taxes collected through June 2018 at the previous tax rate before today’s ACC approval of EPCOR’s application.

“We are extremely pleased to help our wastewater customers save more than $1 million each year, and it’s important to us that we put this into effect as soon as possible,” commented Joe Gysel, President of EPCOR USA, Arizona’s largest regulated water utility. “All our customers deserve to share in the savings generated by federal tax reform. It's positive for them, for their communities and for our state.” - June 12, 2018 EPCOR press release

 

Western Alliance Bancorporation (Phoenix, Arizona) – Base pay raise of 7.5 percent for the lowest-paid 50% of employees; increased bonuses; increased 401(k) match; etc.

Western Alliance, which has $20 billion in assets, plans to increase the base pay of the lowest-paid 50% of employees by 7.5% once the bill becomes law, the bank’s chief executive Robert Sarver said in an interview Wednesday. Bonuses will also go up, bringing the total pay increase for this group of employees to around 10%. These employees generally make $75,000 or less.

Western Alliance, which operates units including Bank of Nevada and Torrey Pines Bank, also plans to increase its 401(k) match from 50% of an employee’s contribution up to 6% of pay to 75% of an employee’s contribution up to that same level. The bank, which has about 1,700 total employees, also plans to improve maternity leave benefits, though Mr. Sarver declined to detail those changes. – Dec. 20, 2017 Wall Street Journal article excerpt

Arizona Public Service (Phoenix, Arizona) -- The utility requested a $119 million bill reduction for customers due to tax reform:

"APS has requested the Arizona Corporation Commission approve a $119 million bill reduction for customers, based on federal corporate tax cuts, effective February 1, 2018.

If approved, the $119 million decrease will offset the $95 million revenue increase that resulted from APS’s last rate review. The savings of $0.004258/kWh will be passed directly to customers through the Tax Expense Adjustor Mechanism (TEAM), a new adjustor mechanism that was included in the company’s rate review, and customer savings will vary with actual energy usage. APS customers would receive the credit on their monthly bill. – Jan. 9, 2018 Arizona Public Service press release

Tucson Electric Power Company (Tucson, Arizona) – The utility will pass tax reform savings to customers:

EP and its sister utilities “believe it is in the public interest to share a substantial portion of the expected income tax savings with their respective customers on an expedited basis,” the companies said.

TEP says its proposals may include a fast-tracked regulatory approval process to implement a billing credit as soon as possible; a higher seasonal credit that would help offset customer bills during higher usage months; or bill credits that would decline over time while still smoothing the bill impacts of future rate requests. – Feb. 2, 2018 Tucson.com article excerpt

AT&T - $1,000 bonuses to 1,510 Arizona 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 Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson ) -- Arizona-based Apple employees received $2,500 bonuses in the form of restricted stock unitsNationally, $30 billion in additional capital expenditures; 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.

Wal-Mart – Arizona employees at 113 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.

Lowe's -- 4,000 employees at 32 stores in Arizona. 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 -- 57 locations in Arizona, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000:

"This incremental investment in our associates was made possible by the new tax reform bill." -- Jan. 25, 2018 Home Depot press release

Ryder (Six locations in Arizona) -- Tax reform bonuses for employees.

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

T.J. Maxx – 17 stores in Arizona – 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

FedEx (Multiple locations in Arizona) – 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

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

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

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

Starbucks Coffee Company (Multiple locations in Arizona) – $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 (280+ locations in Arizona) – 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 – 181 bank locations in Arizona; 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 Arizona examples, please email John Kartch at jkartch@atr.org

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


Biden Domestic Climate Czar: No Gas Powered Cars After 2035

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, December 16th, 2020, 2:00 PM PERMALINK

Joe Biden recently named NRDC head Gina McCarthy as his domestic climate czar (John Kerry is handling the international climate czar portfolio).

In a recent interview, McCarthy vowed to end fossil fuel powered cars by 2035.

On Sept. 16 she told Bloomberg:

"We're looking at moving away from fossil fuel vehicles by 2035. Right? Just stop selling anything other than a fuel cell or electric vehicle."

Click below to view:


Warnock and Ossoff Vow to End Georgia's Right to Work Status

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, December 15th, 2020, 10:47 AM PERMALINK

Georgia has been a Right to Work state since 1947. But if Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have their way, Right to Work will be abolished in Georgia.

Both have endorsed the PRO Act, federal legislation that bans Right to Work.

Jon Ossoff (D) endorsed the PRO Act. From the CWA Union:

"Ossoff supports the PRO Act, landmark legislation that will strengthen the rights of workers to join together in unions and collectively bargain with their employers, and oppose any efforts to weaken or remove protections for workers’ right to organize and collectively bargain."

Raphael Warnock (D) endorsed the PRO Act. From the CWA Union:

"Warnock supports the PRO Act, landmark legislation that will strengthen the rights of workers to join together in unions and collectively bargain with their employers, and oppose any efforts to weaken or remove protections for workers’ right to organize and collectively bargain."

As seen on video and in writing, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris also vow to ban Right to Work laws which protect 166 million Americans in 27 states, more than half the U.S. population. Right to Work laws allow workers the freedom of employment without forced membership in a labor union or forced payment to a union boss.

Joe Biden said: "We should change the federal law [so] that there is no Right to Work allowed anywhere in the country. For real. Not a joke. Not a joke."

Kamala Harris said: "Banning Right to Work laws. That needs to happen."

Click here or below to watch Kamala Harris and Joe Biden vow to abolish Right to Work:

Harris and Biden also documented their anti-Right to Work position in writing here and here. And both have endorsed the PRO Act which bans Right to Work. The PRO Act legislation is live ammunition, having already passed the Democrat-run U.S. House of Representatives. In the Senate, it is co-sponsored by self-described socialist Bernie Sanders and 40 Democrat senators.

Right to Work states outperform non-Right to Work states:

  • Right to Work states experience stronger growth in the number of people employed, growth in manufacturing employment, and growth in the private sector. According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, the percentage growth in the number of people employed between 2007-2017 in Right to Work states was 8.8%, and 4.2% in forced-unionism states. Growth in manufacturing employment between 2012-2017 in Right to Work states was 5.5%, and 1.7% in forced-unionism states. The percentage growth in the private sector from 2007-2017 in Right to Work states was 13.0%, and 10.1% in forced-unionism states.
     
  • Right to Work laws increase individual life satisfaction and economic sentiment. A study by Christos Makridis of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that Right to Work laws are associated with an increase in self-reported current life satisfaction, expected future life satisfaction, and sentiments about current and future economic activity among workers, as Forbes describes. The study explains that "these improvements in well-being are consistent with an increase in competition among unions, which prompts them to provide higher quality services that are valued by their members." As the Heritage Foundation explains, "It was no accident that foreign automobile brands located their U.S. plants primarily in right-to-work states like Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee."
     
  • Forced-unionism states experience severe out-migration. An analysis by Stan Greer of the National Institute for Labor Relations Research found that forced unionism states, between 2007-2017, experience net migration of -7.4%, whereas Right to Work states experience a 1.6% growth in number of residents. 
     
  • Right to Work laws protect workers from union corruption. The Detroit Free Press reported that U.S. Department of Labor documents showed embezzlement from hundreds of union offices across the country over the past decade. In the past two years, "more than 300 union locations have discovered theft, often resulting in more than one person charged in each instance." Workers should not be forced to fund entities that have high instances of theft and corruption, especially when there are no similar demands that citizens must directly fund a private organization.


Consider yourself warned: If Democrats win full control of the federal government, Georgia's Right to Work will be gone overnight.

"No one should have to pay someone for the right to have a job. Forced union dues were recognized as wrong when congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "Everyone in a free country has the right to work without being asked to pay off union bosses."

The 27 Right to Work states are: Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky, Nevada, Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Idaho, Utah, Kansas.

See Also:

Biden and Harris Threaten Independent Contractors and Freelancers Nationwide

Photo Credit: John Ramspott


Biden HHS Pick Becerra Wants Tax-Hiking Single Payer System

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, December 8th, 2020, 8:45 AM PERMALINK

During the campaign Joe Biden criticized "Medicare for All" because it would raise middle class taxes.

Biden told CBS 60 Minutes: "Let's talk about Medicare for All. Do you think there's been any truth in advertising on that? It's gonna raise taxes on middle class people."

So why did Biden select Xavier Becerra to serve as HHS chief? Becerra has spent decades pushing for a Medicare for All and single-payer system.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE OR BELOW

When asked on October 22, 2017 if he supports Medicare for All, Becerra said "Absolutely. "I've been a supporter of Medicare for All for the 24 years that I was in Congress."

"I would scrap all of that and move us toward a system where everyone has access to healthcare, a single-payer system, a Medicare for All system," Becerra said on October 2, 2019.

"We need to reform the system. My solution would have been Medicare for all," Becerra said on March 21, 2010.

During the campaign, Biden also pointed out that Vermont imposed a Medicare for All system which raised middle class taxes and had to be scrapped.

Biden said: "In Vermont, they did pass Medicare for All. It doubled the income tax in the state. Put a 14% tax on withholding, and they got rid of it."

Biden continues to surround himself with big-government progressives.

"Biden's presidential campaign told America he would not raise any tax on middle income Americans, would not take away their health insurance and not bankrupt America with a Green New Deal," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "His cabinet picks -- now including Becerra -- shout loudly that he does want to take away your health insurance and replace it with a top down, one size fits all government program, burden middle class Americans with an energy tax and spend without limit in the name of a Green New Deal."

Photo Credit: Talk Media News Archived Galleries


Democrat Raphael Warnock Dodges Court Packing Question During Georgia Senate Runoff Debate

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Posted by John Kartch on Sunday, December 6th, 2020, 7:08 PM PERMALINK

In a debate Sunday night, Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Raphael Warnock (D) refused to state whether he supports packing the Supreme Court.

WATCH:

During their presidential campaign, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris also dodged the court packing question at least 23 times:

Photo Credit: raphael390


Biden Adviser: Change Constitution to Impose Wealth Tax

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, December 4th, 2020, 9:30 AM PERMALINK

Heather Boushey, one of Joe Biden's picks for his Council of Economic Advisers, wants to impose a wealth tax and earlier this year suggested amending the Constitution in order to make it happen.

On Feb. 6, Boushey said:

“The United States [was] one of the first in the world to do a federal income tax. When we first passed it into law it was deemed unconstitutional and it took decades to change the constitution to have a federal income tax. We might need to do that again on a wealth tax."

A "wealth tax" is wrong on principle and unconstitutional. Article 1, Section 9, Clause 4 states: "No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken."

Wealth taxes have proven so unworkable, and raise so little money, and chase so many people away that even Sweden and Denmark abolished their wealth taxes.

Wealth taxes were also repealed in The Netherlands, Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, Ireland, and Italy.

Wealth taxes pushed by Democrats and left-leaning academics typically include an "exit tax" which even the Washington Post editorial board said "conveys a certain authoritarian odor."

Joe Biden is not exactly surrounding himself with "moderates."

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


Supercut: Team Biden Vows to Impose Carbon Tax

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, December 1st, 2020, 9:00 PM PERMALINK

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have endorsed a carbon tax on the American people.

And as shown in the video below, they are surrounding themselves with others pushing a carbon tax, including climate czar John Kerry, OMB pick Neera Tanden, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen:

A carbon tax would impose burdens on households due to higher costs of cooling and heating, transportation, and groceries.

Even Hillary Clinton in 2016 decided to oppose a carbon tax after she learned the following from an internal Clinton report prepared by policy staff:

The Hillary memo states that a carbon tax would devastate low-income households: “As with the increase in energy costs, the increase in the cost of nonenergy goods and services would disproportionately impact low-income households.”

The Hillary memo states that a carbon tax would cause gas prices to increase 40 cents a gallon and residential electricity prices to increase 12% - 21%: “In our analysis, for example, a $42/ton GHG fee increases gasoline prices by roughly 40 cents per gallon on average between 2020 and 2030 and residential electricity prices by 2.6 cents per kWh, 12% and 21% above levels projected in the EIA’s 2014 Annual Energy Outlook respectively. 

The Hillary memo states a carbon tax would cause household energy bills to go up significantly: “Average household energy costs would increase by roughly $480 per year, or 10% relative to the levels projected in EIA’s 2014 Outlook.”

The Hillary memo states that a carbon tax would increase the cost of household goods and services: “The cost of other household goods and services would increase as well as companies pass forward the higher energy costs paid to produce those goods and services on to consumers.”

(Source: MEMORANDUM FOR HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON -- Jan. 20, 2015)

Carbon taxes are highly unpopular with voters. In fact, carbon tax advocates can’t even get a carbon tax passed in a single blue state, as this timeline shows.

Carbon taxes also saddle state and local governments with huge costs. For example, a school district in Canada was forced to kick 400 kids off the school bus program in order to pay a $3.3 million carbon tax bill.

It's no wonder conservative groups wrote a letter to Congress Stating: "We oppose any carbon tax." The official Republican Party platform also rejects "any carbon tax."

Biden's carbon tax will also shatter his pledge to each and every American making less than $400,000 that he will not raise a single penny of any tax.

 

 


How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is Helping DC Residents and Businesses

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, December 1st, 2020, 6:00 AM PERMALINK

 

Thanks to the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, below are several examples of local good news in Washington, D.C. (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

Right Proper Brewing Company (Washington, D.C.) -- The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act helped create new jobs and prevent a consumer price increase:

At Right Proper Brewing Company in Washington, D.C., the tax cut saved the company more than $13,000. The brewery produces roughly 600 barrels annually at its restaurant and another 3,200 barrels at its production house in Northeast D.C., which opened in December 2015, co-owner Leah Cheston said.

 With the rate of $3.50 per barrel, the reduced federal excise taxes have allowed Cheston to keep prices at Right Proper's brewpub low, especially when compared with other restaurants in the area.

 "It's prevented us from having to raise prices because everything increases constantly," she said. "To get that break is great. As a small business, every little bit counts."

In addition to keeping its prices the same at its restaurant, Right Proper was able to boost the hours of one employee to full time and hire another part-time worker. -- Sept. 26, 2019 Washington Examiner article

Pepco (Washington, DC) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

Pepco today announced they will file with the Public Service Commission of the  District of Columbia in early February, outlining plans to provide annual tax savings to more than 296,000 electric customers in the District of Columbia. If approved, Pepco would plan to begin providing a credit lowering customer bills starting in the first quarter of 2018.       

The tax savings are the result of federal tax reductions under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017, and became effective on Jan. 1, 2018. The decrease in the Corporate Tax Rate from 35 percent to 21 percent reduces the amount of federal income tax Pepco will have  to pay. 

“The tax law will result in lower bills for our customers and lower taxes for Pepco,” said Dave Velazquez, President and CEO, Pepco Holdings, which includes Pepco. – Jan. 5 2018, Pepco press release

MidCity (Washington, D.C.) -- The company is building an apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A new 108-unit apartment building at 1400 Montana Ave. NE is among the District's first projects under the federal government's new opportunity zone program, enacted as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Under the program, anyone who invests in a designated "opportunity zone" — typically economically distressed neighborhoods — can receive tax incentives. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) designated 25 locations in the District as opportunity zones, including the Brentwood neighborhood in Northeast.

MidCity, which has developed more than 15,000 units across the United States and owns about 9,000 units in the District and in Maryland, is financing 1400 Montana with its first opportunity fund. Construction is anticipated to begin in spring 2020 and be complete by the summer of 2021.

The project will include 11 affordable units available to households earning 60 percent of area median income, which is $121,300 for a household of four in the D.C. metro area. Eligibility requirements are based on household size as well as income. The apartment building will have a roof terrace, a fitness center, a lounge for residents and workspaces, as well as parking for 34 cars.

The new project is adjacent to MidCity's 20-acre Brookland Manor property, which is being redeveloped in several phases into RIA, a mixed-income, mixed-use project that will eventually have 1,800 residential units. That site is also designated as an opportunity zone, which will assist MidCity, along with charitable and public financing, in supporting community development and infrastructure improvements. -- July 10, 2019 Washington Post article

EJF Development -Washington, DC (Washington, D.C.) -- The company announced they will be building a 262-unit mixed-use, mixed-income, multifamily community located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

EJF Capital LLC ("EJF"), Donatelli Development ("Donatelli") and Blue Skye Development today announced the development of a 262-unit mixed-use, mixed-income, multifamily community in the Hill East neighborhood of Southeast Washington, D.C. Hill East is a 67-acre master planned development in an area certified as an "Opportunity Zone" under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 ("TCJA") which offers investors attractive tax benefits to create economic growth. The approximately $95 million project is under construction and is expected to be completed in August 2020. Eagle Bank is providing $59.5 million of construction financing.

Located adjacent to the Stadium-Armory Metro station at the corner of 19th Street and Massachusetts Avenue S.E., the project is only 1.6 miles east of the U.S. Capitol and offers easy access to major employment areas throughout Capitol Hill and downtown Washington D.C. The project will also offer 13,000 square feet of retail.

"We are thrilled to partner with Donatelli Development on this project. Hill East is a major Opportunity Zone development that will transform the area just east of Capitol Hill and west of the Anacostia River," said EJF Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Neal Wilson. "This anchor project will make a major contribution to the neighborhood by adding hundreds of construction jobs and creating the momentum necessary for the successful long-term growth of the Hill East neighborhood." -- May 29, 2020 press release

Enlightened (Washington, D.C.)  – Moving locations in Washington D.C. as a direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which allows the company to be closer to their customers:

Hope is building at the corner of MLK Ave and Good Hope Road in Southeast. 

For the first time in more than 50 years, a large company will move across the Anacostia. It is a direct result of a portion of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017: Opportunity Zones.

Will it be a boom or a sign of change for the residents of Ward 8? In this project, the hopes of an entrepreneur and community ride together.

Antwanye Ford thinks there is a positive way to redevelop impoverished neighborhoods in D.C. In fact, he is willing to bet on it. 

The CEO of tech firm Enlightened is prepared to move his K Street business to the corner of MLK and Good Hope.

"For me I am closer to my customers in Northwest," Ford said. "I’m closer to my home so for me moving (to Ward 8)."

"It’s gonna be less convenient because it’s more important for me to be here." – February 1, 2020, WUSA9 Article.

Washington Gas Light (Washington, DC) – The utility will pass tax cut savings on to customers:

The legislation cuts the federal corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% effective January 1, 2018. This tax cut, in turn, reduces the cost of service for many of Virginia’s major electric, gas and water utilities. Utility rates paid by customers are based on the cost of service.

To preserve the savings from this tax cut for customers, the Commission ordered all applicable Virginia utilities to account for the tax savings by accruing a regulatory liability on the utility’s books. The tax savings will thus be quantified and available to be passed on to customers in subsequent rate proceedings.

The utilities subject to the Commission’s order serve millions of Virginia residential and business customers. They include Virginia-American Water Company; Aqua Virginia, Inc.; Washington Gas Light; Columbia Gas of Virginia; Virginia Natural Gas; Roanoke Gas; Atmos Energy; Southwestern Virginia Gas; Appalachian Natural Gas Distribution; Kentucky Utilities; Appalachian Power Company; and Virginia Electric and Power Company. –January 8, 2018, Virginia SCC Press Release

Walmart - Washington D.C. employees at 3 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.

Starbucks Coffee Company (91 locations in Washington, D.C.) – $500 stock grants for all  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. Nationally, 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.

T.J. Maxx – (Four locations in Washington, D.C.) – 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

AT&T $1,000 bonus to 222 D.C. employees; Nationwide, $1 billion increase in capital expenditures.  

Apple (One store location in Washington, D.C.) -- $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.

Lowe's -- 150+ employees at one store in Washington, D.C. -- 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 (One location in Washington, D.C.) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Best Buy -- Two stores in Washington, D.C. - $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees.

Bank of America (Three locations in Washington, D.C.) - $1,000 bonuses. 

Home Depot - One location in Washington, D.C., bonuses for all employees, up to $1,000.

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

Waste Management Inc. (Locations in Washington, D.C.) -- $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

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

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

FedEx (Multiple locations in Washington, D.C.) – 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 (25+ locations in Washington, D.C.) – 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 (22 locations in Washington D.C.) - 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 D.C. examples, please email John Kartch at jkartch@atr.org 

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

More from Americans for Tax Reform


Biden Treasury Pick Wants Carbon Tax

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Posted by John Kartch on Sunday, November 22nd, 2020, 11:31 AM PERMALINK

Joe Biden's Treasury Secretary pick wants to impose a carbon tax on the American people. Biden and Kamala Harris have also endorsed a carbon tax, an idea so radical that it was rejected by Hillary Clinton because it would devastate low income households.

In an October 19 interview on Bloomberg television, Biden's Treasury pick, Janet Yellen said:

"What I would recommend for the United States -- that hopefully we will in the years ahead, go in this direction -- is simply to put in place a carbon tax."

WATCH:

Biden endorsed a carbon tax during on CNN town hall on September 24, 2019:

CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Biden: "Would you support a carbon tax?"

Biden replied: "Yeah, no, I would."

Harris endorsed a carbon tax. "Under my plan there will also be a carbon fee," she said. CNN asked her, "How do you make sure that [companies] don't do what they will try to do, which is immediately pass that on to consumers?” 

Harris replied: “That should never be the reason not to actually put a fee, in particular, a carbon fee."

Another key Biden adviser -- Jennifer Hillman -- said she expects Biden to impose a "very high" carbon tax. Hillman is reportedly in the mix for a job in the Biden administration.

A carbon tax would impose burdens on households due to higher costs of cooling and heating, transportation, and groceries.

Even Hillary Clinton in 2016 decided to oppose a carbon tax after she learned the following from an internal Clinton report prepared by policy staff:

The Hillary memo states that a carbon tax would devastate low-income households: “As with the increase in energy costs, the increase in the cost of nonenergy goods and services would disproportionately impact low-income households.”

The Hillary memo states that a carbon tax would cause gas prices to increase 40 cents a gallon and residential electricity prices to increase 12% - 21%: “In our analysis, for example, a $42/ton GHG fee increases gasoline prices by roughly 40 cents per gallon on average between 2020 and 2030 and residential electricity prices by 2.6 cents per kWh, 12% and 21% above levels projected in the EIA’s 2014 Annual Energy Outlook respectively. 

The Hillary memo states a carbon tax would cause household energy bills to go up significantly: “Average household energy costs would increase by roughly $480 per year, or 10% relative to the levels projected in EIA’s 2014 Outlook.”

The Hillary memo states that a carbon tax would increase the cost of household goods and services: “The cost of other household goods and services would increase as well as companies pass forward the higher energy costs paid to produce those goods and services on to consumers.”

(Source: MEMORANDUM FOR HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON -- Jan. 20, 2015)

Carbon taxes are highly unpopular with voters. In fact, carbon tax advocates can’t even get a carbon tax passed in a single blue state, as this timeline shows.

Carbon taxes also saddle state and local governments with huge costs. For example, a school district in Canada was forced to kick 400 kids off the school bus program in order to pay a $3.3 million carbon tax bill.

It's no wonder conservative groups wrote a letter to Congress Stating: "We oppose any carbon tax." The official Republican Party platform also rejects "any carbon tax."

Biden's carbon tax will also shatter his pledge to each and every American making less than $400,000 that he will not raise a single penny of any tax.

 


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