John Kartch

Idaho Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, November 21st, 2019, 5:10 PM PERMALINK

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by congressional Republicans and President Trump, 90 percent of American wage earners have higher take-home pay. And employers of all sizes are hiring, raising pay, increasing benefits, upgrading equipment and expanding operations.

Below are several examples of tax reform good news in Idaho. (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

Telaya Winery (Boise, Idaho) -- The winery hired more employees and improved its marketing because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

At Boise’s Telaya Winery, grapes are sorted by hand onto a conveyor belt heading to the destemmer. Owner Earl Sullivan said the big bunches of fruit need to be pulled apart or they can explode in the machine.

“It’s a product of the freeze we just had a couple days ago,” he said, “We’re just having to work a little bit harder to make sure the fruit is as clean as we want it.”

 Sullivan is also the chair of the Idaho Wine Commission Board. Today’s grapes are processed and barreled for aging, but won’t be bottled and taxed as wine for two years. That delay can make tax law changes difficult to prepare for. 

 “We spend several hundred thousand dollars per year on production for two years down the road, so the most likely impact in the short term would be a reduction in production,” Sullivan said. He also noted the winery has beefed up its hiring and marketing in the last two years while the tax rates have been lower. -- Oct. 22, 2019 Boise State Public Radio

Melaleuca (Idaho Falls, Idaho) – All 2,000 employees received a $100 bonus for each year they have worked at the company:

“We’re going to be able to have quite a few substantial dollars after taxes,”[CEO Frank] VanderSloot said. “I suspect we’re one of the largest taxpayers in the state, so we’re going to have some more dollars to spread around. That money should go to the people who built the company.” – Dec. 21, 2017 Associated Press article excerpt

Colling Pest Solutions (Idaho Falls) -- Tax reform bonuses for employees:

Representatives from an Idaho Falls-based pest control and lawn care company are traveling to Washington, D.C., this week to meet with President Donald Trump after the company gave its employees bonuses after Congress enacted tax cuts.

Colling Pest Solutions is sending six employees, including its owner, to the “American Workers for Tax Reform” event scheduled for Thursday afternoon at the White House.

The event recognizes small businesses throughout the country that have used tax cuts to benefit employees, whether through salary hikes or additional benefits. The company is paying for the employee’s travel to the event.

Over the past year, employees at Colling Pest Solutions have seen an 8 percent quarterly bonus due to anticipated benefits from recent tax cut legislation. Eligible employees also can receive child care assistance, where the company will pay 50 percent of costs for parents at a local child care center.

Tim Colling, owner of Colling Pest Solutions, believes it is his duty as an employer to pay added income from the business forward to his employees in order to maintain a competitive workforce. And he proposes other small businesses follow his company’s lead. -- April 9, 2018 Post-Register article excerpt

Ball Ventures (Idaho Falls, Idaho) - $100 bonuses for every year of employment.

DePatco, Inc. (St. Anthony, Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Mother Earth Brewing Company (Nampa, Idaho) -- The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allowed the brewery to almost double their production, buy new equipment, and hire new employees:

Even the largest Idaho craft brewery has a fraction of that productivity. Mother Earth's Idaho brewery (the company has a second location in California) produced 10,000 barrels in 2018, the first year of the tax cut. This year, the brewery expects to produce 18,000 barrels, according to owner Daniel Love.

 ….

Mother Earth hired two new employees and bought two Unitanks, stainless steel fermenters, with the tax savings. -- Oct. 19, 2019 Idaho Press Article

Idaho Power (Boise, Idaho) – The utility requested to pass along tax reform savings to customers:

Idaho Power has filed a settlement agreement with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) that, if approved, will result in reduced rates for customers within the company’s Idaho service area in 2018 stemming from recent federal and Idaho state tax rate changes.

According to an agreement between Idaho Power, IPUC Staff and the Industrial Customers of Idaho Power, customers will see a total benefit associated with reduced tax expense of $33.9 million, provided through: 1) a base rate reduction of approximately $18.7 million, 2) an additional $7.8 million decrease that will be provided through the 2018 Power Cost Adjustment mechanism, and 3) a non-cash annual benefit of $7.4 million in the form of an offset to other deferred costs.

If the proposal is approved by the IPUC as filed, the typical Idaho residential customer using 950 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy per month will see a monthly bill decrease of $2.15, beginning June 1. – April 13, 2018, Idaho Power Press Release

Intermountain Gas (Idaho Falls, Idaho) - The utility will pass along tax cut savings to customers:

State regulators have approved a rate decrease for customers of Intermountain Gas Company, to reflect the benefits of federal and state tax cuts.

The decision returns approximately $5.1 million to customers.

That is a 2.62-percent decrease for residential customers. It took effect June 1. - June 22, 2018 East Idaho News Excerpt

Suez Water Idaho Inc. (Boise, Idaho) - The utility will pass along tax cut savings to customers:

“A main feature of the tax law that took effect Jan. 1 was to reduce the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent,” noted one such release, from the Idaho Public Utilities Commission. “Soon after the federal law took effect, Idaho Governor C.L. ‘Butch’ Otter signed into law House Bill 463, reducing the state’s corporate tax rate from 7.4 percent to 6.925 percent. Since a utility’s tax expenses are a factor in determining customer rates, the Commission directed all regulated utilities in the state with more than 200 customers to report the financial benefits of the law and how it planned to pass those benefits along to customers.”

Utility rate reductions are as follows:

Avista – 5.3 percent for electricity and 6.1 percent for natural gas

Idaho Power – 7.06 percent

Intermountain Gas – 2.62 percent

Rocky Mountain Power – 1 percent

Suez Water Idaho Inc. – 5.6 percent - June 19, 2018 Idaho Business Review Excerpt

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses for 937 Idaho 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

Avista – The utility will pass federal tax reform savings to customers:

Avista customers could collectively see a $50 million to $60 million annual benefit from federal tax reform, utility officials said Wednesday.

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

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

--

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

Walmart – Idaho employees at 26 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 -- 11 locations in Idaho: Idaho Falls, Meridian, Chubbock, Twin Falls, Coeur d'Alene, Eagle, Lewiston, Nampa, Ponderay, and two in Boise -- Bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's --1,000+ employees at eight store locations in Idaho: Idaho Falls, Boise, Coeur d'Alene, Twin Falls, Nampa, Pocatello, and two in Meridian -- 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 (Boise, Idaho) – Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Best Buy -- Six locations in Idaho: Nampa, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, Coeur d'Alene, and two in Boise -- $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees. 

Cintas (Locations in Twin Falls and Nampa) -- $1,000 bonuses for employees of at least a year, $500 for employees of less than a year.

Taco John’s (Grangeville, Lewiston, Meridian, Mountain Home, Twin Falls): 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

Waste Management Inc. (Multiple locations in Idaho) -- $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 (Chubbock, Nampa, Meridian, Twin Falls, Coeur d'Alene, and three in Boise) – Bonuses ranging from $250 to $1,000; increased employee benefits; $50 million investment in existing restaurants.

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

Starbucks Coffee Company (67 locations in Idaho) – $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 – (Seven locations in Idaho: Boise, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Falls, Lewiston, Nampa, Pocatello, Twin Falls) – 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 Idaho) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.

Dollar Tree, Inc. (Blackfoot, Boise, Burley, Caldwell, Chubbock, Coeur d'Alene, Eagle, Emmett, Idaho Falls, Jerome, Kuna, Lewiston, Meridian, Moscow, Mountain Home, Nampa, Oldtown, Payette, Pocatello, Ponderay, Post Falls, Rathdrum, Rexburg, Twin Falls) -- Increased base wages, enhanced benefits including maternity leave for qualifying employees and employee training, totaling $100 million nationwide.

Bank of America (Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene) -- $1,000 bonuses.

FedEx (Multiple locations in Idaho) – 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

Gardner Company (Boise, Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

GetFoundFirst.com (Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

EastIdahoNews.com (Idaho Falls, Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Elite Roofing Systems (Idaho Falls, Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

InUnison Inc. (Idaho Falls, Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees. 

Elite Clinical Trials, Inc. (Blackfoot, Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Willow Creek Woodworks (Idaho Falls, Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Eagle Ridge Ranch (Island Park, Idaho) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

McDonald’s (60+ locations in Idaho) – 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 (76 locations in Idaho) - 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 Idaho 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


Moms to Trump: Don't Ban Flavored Vapes

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Posted by Adam Sabes, John Kartch on Thursday, November 21st, 2019, 5:00 PM PERMALINK

"I have never smoked again saving my life for my children and my grandchildren. What saved me was the flavors."

In their own words, self-posted on Twitter using the hashtag #15sec4Vape -- please read and watch the powerful testimonials from moms, below:

“Hi, my name is Tiffany Everett. I’m a consumer, a suburban mother of two, and I serve on the board of the Tennessee smoke-free association. I was able to quit smoking cigarettes after several failed attempts, using flavored nicotine and open-end devices. Thank you!” -- @BlondeVaper

“My name is Annie. I'm an ex stay-at-home mom who smoked. Together with my son Richard, we've been for six and a half years in our little small store in Michigan helping thousands of customers get off cigarettes just like we did. We noticed early on that it's different for every single person, a different flavor, a different [nicotine] level, a different device. Because everybody smokes different, everybody vapes different. And we weren't off cigarettes until it worked for us. And we pay attention. And in our small little store, we're making a big difference. Thank you so much for whoever's responsible for calling us big vape. Never thought of it in those terms before, but we really are making a big difference for people's lives.” -- @anniezway

“In 2012, my son took me to the vape shop and bought me my first vape. From that point on, I have never smoked again saving my life for my children and my grandchildren. What saved me was the flavors. I immediately started vaping dessert flavors, and I have kept that up till the present day. Without flavors, I don't know what I will do because I do not like the taste of tobacco anymore. I refuse to go back to cigarettes, so, please, don't take my flavors away. I am too old to start with something new like smoking. Cannot do it. Just will not do it. Thank you." -- @opieyumyum

“I’m Michelle Hughes from Verbena, Alabama, 50 years old, mother of 5 grandmother of 2, diagnosed with COPD in 2015. Started vaping cookie custard and bakery flavors. I kicked the habit and saved my lungs. We vape, we vote.” -- @MichelleHughes_

“I smoked for 20 years despite having a dangerous heart condition I knew was being made worse by smoking. I tried everything to quit, but nothing worked until vaping. And since then, I’ve been able to stabilize my health, my heart has improved, and I finally have the possibility of a very long and full life, and seeing my daughter make it to adulthood, and maybe even seeing my grandchildren. So yes, vaping saved my life because without it, I probably wouldn’t even be here today.” - @Red_Phoenyx_

 “My name is Hannah. I'm a single issue voter. I am a mother of two middle school students and I gave up my two pack a day smoking habit by vaping flavored nicotine e-liquids and use flavors like banana nut bread, birthday cake, and apple pie. Flavors save lives." -- Hannah

“I'm a mother, a wife, ex-smoker and a registered Republican voter. For the last nine years, my husband and I have built our vape company into 20 retail locations and a manufacturing facility. In September, we had to close five locations and layoff over 20 employees due to the uncertainty of a flavor ban. We still have over 50 employees and 65,000 customers that rely on flavors to keep them smoke-free. Please, President Trump, give vape shops a clear path forward. We live in fear and daily that politicians will decide our future. Keep America smoke-free, save flavors, save lives. We vape we vote.” --@ecigcharleston

“My name is Sarah Rutland. I am a mother, wife, sister and daughter. I smoked cigarettes for 20 years. I desperately tried everything to quit. Nothing worked until I found flavored vapor products eight years ago. Since making the switch my health has improved tremendously. Flavors save lives. I am a single-issue voter. We vape and we vote.” -- @piercersarah

“Hi, my name is Erica. I was able to quit smoking after 15 years using bluegrass cotton candy and grape jelly. I vape, I vote.” -- @VerhagenErika

“Hi, my name is Teresa and I am a mother, a grandmother and a wife. I smoked for over 30 years. I tried numerous things the patches, the gum, Chantix, none of that worked. I found flavored vaping, that worked. I quit smoking haven't had a cigarette in nine years. Also, I haven't had bronchitis and laryngitis yearly since I quit smoking. I vape, I vote.” -- @mrsgeno1

See Also:

Concerned Women in America Oppose Ban on Flavored Vaping Products

Conservative Groups Urge President to Reject Flavored E-Cigarette Ban

Vape flavor ban will devastate Main Street businesses nationwide             

If you don't understand the power of the flavored vape issue, watch this video 

Vape ban could swing election against Trump

Sen. Ron Johnson letter to Trump: A flavored vape ban would harm public health and wipe out small businesses nationwide

NYT Editorial Board and Conservatives Agree: A Vape Ban is Bad for Public Health

WaPo: Vapers are "Astroturf" and Should Probably Die in Darkness

Testimonials from adults who need flavored vapes to stay off cigarettes


Conservatives Oppose Flavored Vape Ban

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, November 21st, 2019, 3:42 PM PERMALINK


The following groups and individuals oppose a ban on flavored vaping products for adults:

American Conservative Union
Americans for Tax Reform
Heritage Action
Independent Women's Forum
FreedomWorks
Goldwater Institute
Citizens Against Government Waste
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Becky Norton Dunlop, Heritage Foundation's Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow
60 Plus Association
Freedom Foundation of Minnesota
Hispanic Leadership Fund
James Madison Institute
Pelican Institute for Public Policy
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
Montana Policy Institute
R Street Institute
Reason Foundation
Rio Grande Foundation
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
American Consumer Institute
Consumer Choice Center
And many others: click here to see a conservative coalition letter to President Trump urging him to oppose a ban.

Many left wing politicians want to impose a flavored vape ban including Chuck Schumer, Michael Bloomberg, Dick Durbin, Rashida Tlaib, Patty Murray, and pretty much everyone in charge of San Francisco.

Also of note:

Moms to Trump: Don't Ban Flavored Vapes

Vape flavor ban will devastate Main Street businesses nationwide             

If you don't understand the power of the flavored vape issue, watch this video

Vape ban could swing election against Trump

Sen. Ron Johnson letter to Trump: A flavored vape ban would harm public health and wipe out small businesses nationwide

NYT Editorial Board and Conservatives Agree: A Vape Ban is Bad for Public Health

WaPo: Vapers are "Astroturf" and Should Probably Die in Darkness

Testimonials from adults who need flavored vapes to stay off cigarettes

Photo Credit: SeanL/Flickr


Maryland Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, November 20th, 2019, 1:22 PM PERMALINK

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by congressional Republicans and President Trump, 90 percent of American wage earners have higher take-home pay. And employers of all sizes are hiring, raising pay, increasing benefits, upgrading equipment and expanding operations.

Below are several examples of tax reform good news in Maryland. (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

Arnold Packaging (Baltimore, Maryland) - Increasing employee salaries, purchasing new equipment:

According to Mick Arnold, president of Arnold Packaging, the company reinvested its savings by raising salaries by 4 percent for employees in the manufacturing facility and purchasing more equipment to meet demand.

“We are constantly making reinvestments in our people, not just equipment, not just automation, but in our people,” Arnold said. “Our workforce is critical to our success.” - May 3, 2018, National Association of Manufacturers Shopfloor blog excerpt

Jamison Door (Hagerstown, Maryland) - Employee bonuses, facility expansion, growing workforce by 115%,  investing in new technology:

Jamison Door, which manufactures temperature-controlled doors, has been a family-owned business since 1906. The company’s commitment to the men and women on its shop floor means that every single employee is sharing in the benefits of tax reform.

Jamison’s 120 employees received two bonuses, each equivalent to one week’s salary—first in August, in anticipation of tax reform, and again in February, after the new law took effect.

That is just the beginning: this year, Jamison plans to do even more, offering another raise to its employees.

Jamison Door is also taking advantage of tax reform and using its tax savings to reinvest in its business. That means growing its facilities, investing in new technology and creating skilled jobs in the Hagerstown plant.

Over the next year, Jamison is adding more than 50,000 square feet in new manufacturing space.

“Right now, we’re in the process of adding a significant-sized facility to add different product lines,” added Chairman and CEO John Williams, referencing his company’s plan to expand a product line of high-speed roll-up doors. “It’s a 400 percent increase in plant size.”

“We are spending about $1.5 million on new state-of-the-art equipment in our main plant, which makes foamed-in-place cold storage doors, and more than $3.5 million on the new plant for high-speed roll-up doors. These are significant investments for a company our size, and we feel comfortable making these investments because of the favorable business climate and the benefits of the lower tax rates.”

Expanding the company’s facilities also means Jamison will need more workers, and it plans to increase hiring dramatically. Over the next three years, Jamison plans to increase its workforce by more than 115 percent.

“Tax reform has absolutely made it more feasible to undertake these projects,” explained Williams. “Tax reform is necessary for us to keep expanding and to keep our business strong.” - July 5, 2018, National Association of Manufacturers article excerpt

Flying Dog Brewery (Frederick, Maryland) - purchasing new equipment:
 

It's a similar story for Maryland's Flying Dog Brewery. CEO Jim Caruso (who is a donor to the Reason Foundation, which publishes this website) says the tax cuts might not look like much at the consumer level, but they free up a lot of money for businesses to reinvest in their operations.

 

"When you look at this reduction in taxes. That translates to a penny per bottle. It's a small cost per bottle times the number of cases, that adds up pretty quickly," says Caruso, saying his company saved some $300,000 thanks to the tax cuts, which he says has gone toward buying new capital equipment. - November 21, 2018 article excerpt from Reason Hit & Run Blog excerpt

 

Marlin Steel (Baltimore, Maryland) - Increased workforce by 10 percent, new investments in machinery:

At Marlin Steel, which only buys American steel and exports to 39 countries, we have already done just that. We increased our workforce by 10 percent to manage more than $1 million in new USA-made equipment. Tax reform gave us the confidence to make these important investments — investments not just in our company but in the lives of hardworking Marylanders. One of the machines we bought makes products here in Baltimore that we will export to Mexico two times a week.

Our existing employees are also better off, given that tax cuts mean they are taking home more money in their paychecks. It’s a little extra security after years of economic anxiety and uncertainty. One of our employees put the savings toward buying his new house. Some of our new employees hired since tax reform have also achieved important life goals: One bought a car; another moved to a new apartment; and a third is able to pay off debt, support his daughter and move to a new apartment. - June 21, 2018, Baltimore Sun article excerpt

Lyon Distilling Company (St. Michaels, Maryland) – The owner said that the distillery used savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to double locations, create new jobs, and invest in new equipment:

I mean, in the last two years every distillery I know has taken the savings from this tax cut and reinvested in their team, in their equipment, expanded, doubled locations. Lyon Distilling has grown ten times in size alone in the last two years. – Dec. 5, 2019, WMAU radio show.

Danko Arlington Inc. (Baltimore, Maryland) - Employee wage increases, hiring new employees, renovating company facilities, purchasing new equipment:

Danko Arlington and its employees have also benefited from the tax cuts.  Just in the past few months, the company purchased and fully depreciated a new 3-D sand printer in December 2017, provided higher wage increases in January, renovated its seventy-five-year-old pattern shop into a state-of-the-art additive manufacturing center in February, and hired six more workers in March.

Overall the company is looking forward to the expanding economy — including increased funding for defense.  Danko Arlington is not alone. According to a recent survey from the National Association of Manufacturers, optimism among manufacturers registered its second-highest level ever recorded (93.5 percent) in the 20-year history of the survey. - April 12, 2018, Danko Arlington release excerpt

Dixon Valve (Chestertown, Maryland) – $1,000 bonuses:

A Maryland manufacturer will pay $1,000 bonuses to full-time employees as a result of the Republican tax cuts, a move cited by House Speaker Paul Ryan’s press office Wednesday as an example of the tax law working.

Dixon Valve, a company in Chestertown that makes hose fittings and accessories, said the bonuses were a “direct result” of the tax overhaul and regulatory relief.

Hundreds of companies have announced bonuses, raises or other benefits for workers tied to the tax overhaul, according to the anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform.

Dixon Valve’s announcement stands out, though, because it is one of the companies that Ryan visited in October as he was trying to build support for the massive legislation. – March 28, 2018 Washington Examiner article excerpt

Sprouts Farmers Market (Ellicott City, Maryland) – Pay raises and enhanced employee benefits:

The company also said it plans to use about one third of the savings from the recently-passed tax reform for “investments” in employees.

“to ensure we remain in a leadership position to attract the right talent, we will further invest in our team members by improving pay and improved benefits such as healthcare and expanding maternity leave,” Maredia said. “We will invest an additional $10 million, or approximately one-third of our tax savings, for our team members in 2018. – Feb. 23 2018, Produce Retailer article excerpt

 

Reliable Contracting Co. (Millersville, Maryland) – The company's president says that he plans on using savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to invest in new heavy equipment such as dump trucks, a backhoe, a bulldozer and a loader:

In Millersville, Md., Reliable Contracting Co. President Jay Baldwin believes the new tax structure “is going to be of great value. One hundred percent depreciation on equipment in year one, things like that make a lot of difference.”

In Baldwin's case, he and his executives so far this year have authorized spending more than $5 million on heavy equipment, including 10 dump trucks, a backhoe, a dozer and a loader.

It's almost too much of a good thing. Baldwin said the company is prepared to invest even more in equipment, but is having trouble finding it.

“We can't get the equipment. Manufacturers can't make them as fast as we want them,” he said.

Reliable Contracting is a $100 million-a-year company still recovering from the collapse of the construction economy 10 years ago. – Aug. 10, 2018, Construction Equipment Guide.

Turbohaul (Annapolis Junction, Maryland) - Purchased new equipment:

“We desperately needed to invest in equipment. For years now I have an aging fleet and have just been very hesitant to pull the trigger on that investment because of the economic climate and the regulatory climate that we are in, tax climate that we’re in. So it was a real shot in the arm to us to get this tax bill passed and I’m happy to report that over the next 18 months we’ll be investing over $2 million in new trucks and equipment for our locations.”

“But what’s even better for me really than trucks…is the effect it has on our people. Most of our people, it’s the first job that they get. A lot of guys and gals that come to work for us, they’re right out of high school. It’s all they’ve got as a high school diploma maybe. We take them, we train them, we give them opportunities and real professional environment and a company, and they’re able to make a real wage and provide for their families. A lot of them from disadvantaged backgrounds and communities and so on. These new trucks they not only will look great and, you know, haul things great, but they’ll be able to be more efficient in their jobs and we incentivize everybody from the starting labor on up through the driver. …we’ve estimated that they have the potential now with these new trucks and equipment to add about $5,000 to their salaries to their wages for this year based on just averages of what they will likely make with these new trucks and equipment that will make them more efficient more safe more comfortable you know in their jobs.” - April 17, 2018 Tax Talk Roundtable, Kevin Daly, Founder of Turbohaul

McCormick & Company (Sparks, Maryland) – $1,000 bonuses:

McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE: MKC), a global leader in flavor, announced plans to reinvest a portion of its incremental tax savings from the recent U.S. Tax Act into one-time $1,000 bonus payments for eligible U.S. hourly employees in May. The company also announced plans to accelerate hourly employee wage increases to ensure more competitive compensation and attract, develop and retain top talent within the organization. The changes will benefit the majority of the company's U.S. based hourly employees.

"At McCormick, we take a long-term view of the people in our organization. We want McCormick to be a great place for people to come work and have engaging and fulfilling careers. The passage of the U.S. Tax Reform Act provides us an opportunity to demonstrate the Power of People, and for the company to show its commitment to the 2-for-1 spirit," said Lawrence E. Kurzius, Chairman, President and CEO of McCormick. – March 27, 2018 McCormick & Company, Inc. press release

St. John’s Properties Inc. (Baltimore, Maryland) – $1,500 bonuses:

Developer St. John Properties, Inc. is awarding its employees a one-time cash bonus of $1,500 in response to the recent federal tax plan passed by Congress.

The Baltimore-based real estate development and management company said Monday its 180 workers would receive the bonus this month in their paychecks as a result of corporate tax savings allocated under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. – Feb. 12, 2018 Baltimore Business Journal article excerpt

Comfort Inn (Cambridge, Maryland) (Neema Hospitality Franchise) - Renovations:

$400,000 investment in renovation and upgrades due to tax reform - August 3, 2018 phone call with Americans for Tax Reform

Sinclair Broadcast Group (Hunt Valley, Maryland) -- $1,000 bonuses for 9,000 employees:

“We are grateful to our president and legislature for passing the landmark Tax Cuts and  Jobs Act and are excited about the benefits it will provide for our country’s economy, our Company, and our employees,” stated Chris Ripley, Sinclair’s President and CEO.“We recognize that our employees are our most valuable resource, truly appreciate their combined achievements for our Company and look forward to a very bright future.” – Dec. 22, 2017 Sinclair Broadcast Group press release

Harford Alarm Company (Bel Air, Maryland) - $1,000 bonuses for all 13 employees.

Baltimore Gas & Electric (Baltimore, Maryland) – The utility is passing on $82 million worth of tax savings, resulting in lower gas and electric bills for customers:

Today BGE will file with the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to pass approximately $82 million in annual tax savings to customers, resulting from federal tax cost reductions. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which decreased the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, was signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017 and became effective on Jan. 1, 2018. If approved by the PSC, the average BGE residential electric customer can expect to see an estimated $2.31 decrease on their monthly bill, and the average residential combined natural gas and electric customer can expect an estimated $4.27 monthly reduction, effective in February 2018.

“Reduced tax costs create an opportunity for BGE customers to benefit from further decreases in their total energy bills, said Calvin G. Butler Jr, chief executive officer of BGE. – Jan. 5, 2018 Baltimore Gas & Electric press release

Apple (Retail locations in Annapolis, Bethesda, Columbia, Towson) -- $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 for 1,521 Maryland 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

STERIS Corp. (Maryland locations in Rockville and Timonium) -- $1,000 bonuses totaling $7 million for non-executive U.S. -based employees:

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

Dayton T. Brown Inc. (Lexington Park, Maryland) -- $400 bonuses:

A small Bohemia company is following the lead of large corporations that are passing on some expected savings from tax reform to employees in the form of bonuses.

Dayton T. Brown Inc., an engineering and testing company, is giving each of its roughly 210 employees a $400 bonus, Steve Marini, chief financial officer, said Friday.

President Donald Trump signed the tax overhaul bill into law Friday. The bill lowers the corporate tax rate in 2018 to 21 percent from 35 percent.

All of Dayton T. Brown’s full- and part-time employees will receive the bonuses, likely in January, Marini said.

“We’re going to save a significant amount of money on this new tax law and . . . certainly, we’re nothing without our employees,” Marini said.

The inspiration for the bonus was AT&T’s announcement Wednesday that it was giving its employees $1,000 bonuses, Marini said.

Dayton T. Brown, founded in 1950, is a private company that primarily serves the aerospace and defense industry. Its largest customers are the U.S. Navy, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and Northrop Grumman.

It has 170 employees in Bohemia. The rest work in Shelton, Connecticut, and Lexington Park, Maryland. -- Dec. 22, 2017 Newsday article excerpt

Best Buy -- 32 locations in Maryland; $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees.

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

Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc. (Hagerstown, Maryland) -- 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

Wal-Mart –  60 locations in MarylandWalmart employees are receiving tax reform bonuses of up to $1,000; Nationally, base wage increase for all hourly employees to $11; expanded maternity and parental leave; $5,000 for adoption expenses.

Home Depot -- 41 locations in Maryland, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000

Lowe's -- 4,000 Maryland employees at 28 stores and one distribution facility -- 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 (11 locations in Maryland) – Tax reform bonuses to employees.

Starbucks Coffee Company (257 locations in Maryland) –$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 – (25 locations in Maryland) – 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 Maryland) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.

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

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

Bank of America (155 branch locations in Maryland) -- $1,000 bonuses.

McDonald’s (370+ locations in Maryland) – 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 – 81 banks in Maryland; 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 next three years.

Note: If you know of other Maryland 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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Hawaii Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, November 15th, 2019, 11:00 AM PERMALINK

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by congressional Republicans and President Trump, 90 percent of American wage earners have higher take-home pay. And employers of all sizes are hiring, raising pay, increasing benefits, upgrading equipment and expanding operations.

Below are several examples of tax reform good news in Hawaii (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

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

Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, Hawai’i Electric Light (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

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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Ron Johnson Letter to Trump: A Flavored Vape Ban Would Harm Public Health and Wipe Out Small Businesses Nationwide

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, November 13th, 2019, 3:18 PM PERMALINK

"I am strongly opposed to far-reaching, unchecked government action that stifles innovation and restricts adults’ freedom to choose safer alternatives to smoking."

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson today sent a letter to President Donald Trump noting the important role flavored vaping products play in helping adults quit smoking combustible cigarettes. He also noted a flavored vape ban would wipe out thousands of small businesses and kill jobs.

The full Johnson letter is below:

Dear Mr. President:

Recent reports indicate that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will issue guidance restricting the sale of certain e-cigarette flavors, which could have a devastating effect on the e-cigarette industry and force many small businesses to shut down.  

The costs of a ban on most e-cigarette flavors will almost certainly be substantial.  Many stakeholders in the e-cigarette industry are small businesses—over 10,000 according to some estimates —so an outright ban on the most popular flavors purchased by adults will likely force them to close.  The closure of these small businesses, including the loss of thousands of jobs, could essentially destroy this estimated $9 billion industry. 

Although major restrictions on the sale of e-cigarette flavors will have a significant financial impact on this industry, reporting indicates that the guidance under review at FDA and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) was designated as not “economically significant.”   The “economically significant” designation, which applies to any action that is likely to have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, ensures a thorough review by both the FDA and OIRA of the costs and benefits.

Aside from the significant monetary costs of the flavor restrictions, there is also a significant cost to the public health.  Many adults have quit smoking by switching to e-cigarettes, a product that is 95 percent less harmful according to Public Health England,  and they rely on flavors that this guidance threatens to restrict or make harder for them to obtain.  If former smokers cannot access products that they have used to kick the habit, they could very well return to less healthy alternatives like smoking cigarettes or purchasing illicit products on the black market.  That outcome would be a public health disaster.

Under your leadership, the regulatory burden faced by businesses has been greatly reduced.  You have successfully implemented policies that reduce government interference in the private sector and help small businesses flourish.  Further, you have also led much-needed efforts to stop federal agencies’ use of guidance documents to circumvent the formal rulemaking process.  However, a costly guidance document from the FDA restricting e-cigarette flavors would be inconsistent with those significant achievements.

I am supportive of regulations that ensure the safety of consumer products, and common-sense efforts that prevent youth access to e-cigarettes.  But I am strongly opposed to far-reaching, unchecked government action that stifles innovation and restricts adults’ freedom to choose safer alternatives to smoking.  As your administration finalizes this anticipated guidance, I respectfully urge you to consider to the long-term costs and public health consequences this type of policy could have on Americans.

Sincerely,

Ron Johnson
Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

See also: If you don't understand the power of the flavored vape issue, watch this video

See also: Vape flavor ban will devastate Main Street businesses nationwide              

See also: Vape ban could swing election against Trump

 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr


Nebraska Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, November 12th, 2019, 7:30 PM PERMALINK

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by congressional Republicans and President Trump, 90 percent of American wage earners have higher take-home pay. And employers of all sizes are hiring, raising pay, increasing benefits, upgrading equipment and expanding operations.

Below are several examples of tax reform good news in Nebraska. (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

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.

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

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New Mexico Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, November 7th, 2019, 10:09 AM PERMALINK

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by congressional Republicans and President Trump, 90 percent of American wage earners have higher take-home pay. And employers of all sizes are hiring, raising pay, increasing benefits, upgrading equipment and expanding operations.

Below are several examples of tax reform good news in New Mexico. (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

Allsup’s Convenience Stores, Inc. (Headquarters in Clovis, New Mexico, with 118 store locations statewide) -- $1,000 bonuses:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haciendas at Grace Village (Las Cruces, New Mexico): Hiring additional employees:

Haciendas at Grace Village had planned to expand in the future but the company is moving forward now because of lower taxes according to Coppedge. The assisted living facility which has 49 employees may hire as many as 40 additional people. — Feb. 23, 2018 Albuquerque Journal article excerpt

Public Service Company of New Mexico (Albuquerque, New Mexico) – The utility will pass tax reform savings to customers:

The company will gain about $48 million from the lowering of the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. It will pass those gains onto consumers starting this year as part of Public Service Co. of New Mexico’s latest rate case that concluded in December, allowing PNM to lower its newest rate hike to just 1.4 percent. – Feb. 27 2018, Albuquerque Journal article excerpt

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 287 New Mexico 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 – New Mexico employees at all 46 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 -- 11 locations in New Mexico - Bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's -- 1,000+ employees at eight store locations in New Mexico. Employees received bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service; expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance.

Ryder (Albuquerque, New Mexico) – Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Best Buy -- Eight locations in New Mexico; $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees. 

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

Apple (Apple store in Albuquerque, New Mexico) -- $2,500 employee bonuses in the form of restricted stock units; Nationwide, $30 million 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. 

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

Dollar Tree, Inc. (Multiple locations in New Mexico) -- Base wage increases, enhanced benefits including maternity leave, and employee training.  

CarMax (Albuquerque, New Mexico) – $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

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

Bank of America (Locations in Albuquerque, Edgewood, Farmington, Gallup, Las Cruces, Los Lunas, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe) -- $1,000 bonuses. 

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

Starbucks Coffee Company (76 locations in New Mexico) –$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.

T.J. Maxx – (Five locations in New Mexico) – 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 New Mexico) – 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 New Mexico) -- $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 (90+ locations in New Mexico) – 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 (76 locations in New Mexico) - 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 New Mexico 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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Kansas Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, November 5th, 2019, 9:55 AM PERMALINK

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by congressional Republicans and President Trump, 90 percent of American wage earners have higher take-home pay. And employers of all sizes are hiring, raising pay, increasing benefits, upgrading equipment and expanding operations.

Below are several examples of tax reform good news in Kansas. (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

Ferroloy (Wichita, Kansas) -- Doubled the size of its workforce:

Ferroloy, a Kansas-based small business that manufactures ductile and gray iron castings, was once on the verge of bankruptcy. But with the help of tax reform, they have doubled the size of their workforce and are in the process of dramatically expanding their facilities.

“We could tell in early 2018 that activity was picking up, so we added a second shift and more than doubled our workforce by the end of the year,” Soucie explained.

Soucie cited tax reform as a significant driver in allowing Ferroloy’s expansion plans to move faster than they otherwise would. More importantly, tax reform has ushered in the strongest economy in more than a decade, which is impacting Ferroloy by increasing demand for their products.

“To me, tax reform is an opportunity to level the playing field,” Soucie explained. “Large businesses have a significant competitive advantage due to scale and capability relative to smaller businesses. Over 50 percent of our working population is employed in small businesses. If you want small businesses to grow and prosper in this country, we need laws, like tax reform, that can drive economic growth and drive business.”

In Soucie’s eyes, keeping tax reform on the books is a no-brainer.

“I don’t understand why some people in Washington want to roll back something that allows small businesses to compete,” Soucie added. “Maybe it’s me being politically naïve, but economically, tax reform that allows small businesses to compete just makes sense.” --June 5, 2019 National Association of Manufacturers Shop Floor Blog

Lawrence Paper Company (Lawrence, Kansas) -- $5 million in new equipment and expansion at all three locations; $500 bonuses for all 300 employees:

The tax bill signed by President Donald Trump last month was met with mixed reviews by some wondering who it would truly benefit, but the Lawrence Paper Company who employs three-hundred workers throughout its Freemont, Nebraska, Lawrence and Hutchinson locations is confident the tax bill will contribute to their future success as a business.

"Assuming you've got the same amount coming in then obviously you're going to make more as a company that we can then again do three things, reinvest it into the business, into your people or pass it along to your shareholders," says Tony Schleich, president of the Hutchinson company division.

Re-investing into its employees is the first step company owners took. This week, they surprised their 300 workers with the news each would receive a $500 bonus.

Employees like Josh Marshall were surprised at the news.

"This money is going to help me recover from the holidays and everything like that," Marshall said. – Jan. 10, 2018 CBS KWCH Channel 12 news report

Heartland Seating Inc. (Shawnee, Kansas) – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act helped the small business add four new jobs, raise wages, give bonuses to employees, and invest in new technology:

Members like Kathy Peterson of Heartland Seating Inc. in Kansas are reporting how the deduction is helping. “The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 helped me grow my small business,” she explained. “With the money I saved, I was able to add four positions, offer raises and bonuses to many of our existing employees, and invest in a new database that allowed my company to expand from five states to six.”Dec. 5, 2019, NFIB article.

Black Hills Energy (Wichita, Kansas) – Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the energy company was able to reduce rates for customers:

About 37,000 customers in the Wichita area are getting a cut in natural gas bills starting this month to pass along federal tax reductions approved about a year ago.

Black Hills Energy customers in Wichita will see about a $7.30 reduction in their January gas bill and about a dollar a month in the future.

In total, the company is passing through about $1.7 million in annual savings to its customers, according to a statement issued Friday. – January 14, 2019 The Wichita Eagle

United Bank & Trust (Marysville, Kansas) - All employees received a raise of $100 per month. According to ABA Bankers Journal the raise applies to both salaries and hourly employees. 

Spirit Aerosystems (Wichita, Kansas) - Increased investment in training and technology:

“In my community, Spirit AeroSystems announced new investments in training and technology.” - June 11, 2018, Rep. Ron Estes statement on U.S. House Floor

WeStar Energy (Topeka, Kansas) – The utility will pass along tax savings to customers:

“Topeka, Kan., Jan. 18, 2018 – Today Westar Energy announced it will file a request before the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) to reflect in its electricity rates the full amount of tax savings from the change in the federal tax law. Westar said that a detailed application is being prepared and will be filed later this month or early February. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which decreased the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, was signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017, and became effective Jan. 1, 2018. 

“We agree with the KCC Staff and others that all these tax benefits should go to our customers,” said Mark Ruelle, President and CEO of Westar. “This application to update rates starts that process.”

All utility rate changes must be approved by the KCC. That process typically takes a few months to review and confirm. While the company estimated the tax benefit to be $65 million annually, or more, the KCC Staff and other parties will confirm the precise figures before the KCC.  In addition to passing through the benefit of lower tax rates, regulators will review and update all other costs to provide electricity.”—Jan. 18 2018, WeStar Energy press release

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses for 1,572 Kansas 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

Legacy Bank (Wichita, Kansas) - Employee bonuses:

Legacy Bank's board of directors has approved paying a mid-year bonus of up to $1,000 per employee after the federal government’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law in December, lowered tax rates for businesses and individuals. - July 25, 2018, Wichita Business Journal article excerpt

Walmart – Kansas employees at 75 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 -- 16 locations in Kansas -- Bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's --1,000+ employees at eleven stores in Kansas-- 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 (Nine locations in Kansas) – Tax reform bonuses for employees.

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

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

Taco John’s (Sixteen locations in Kansas): 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

Waste Management Inc. (Multiple locations in Kansas) -- $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 Kansas) – Bonuses ranging from $250 to $1,000; increased employee benefits; $50 million investment in existing restaurants.

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

Starbucks Coffee Company (94 locations in Kansas) – $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.

T.J. Maxx – (Nine locations in Kansas; Derby, Garden City, Hutchinson, Kansas City, Lawrence, Overland Park, Topeka, Wichita) – 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 Kansas) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.

Dollar Tree, Inc. (Multiple locations in Kansas) -- Increased base wages, enhanced benefits including maternity leave for qualifying employees and employee training, totaling $100 million nationwide.

Bank of America (Locations in Andover, Derby, Kansas City, Lawrence, Lenexa, Manhattan, Mission, Olathe, Overland Park, Prairie Village, Shawnee, Topeka and Wichita) -- $1,000 bonuses.

FedEx (Multiple locations in Kansas) – 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 (180+ locations in Kansas) – 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 (Eight locations in Kansas) - 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 Kansas 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


Oregon Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Monday, November 4th, 2019, 4:30 PM PERMALINK

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by congressional Republicans and President Trump, 90 percent of American wage earners have higher take-home pay. And employers of all sizes are hiring, raising pay, increasing benefits, upgrading equipment and expanding operations.

Below are several examples of tax reform good news in Oregon (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

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

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

Portland Cider Company (Clackamas, Oregon) – Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the owner was able to create new jobs and invest in new equipment:

Jeff Parish, Co-Founder of Portland Cider Company and Committee Member of the United States Association of Cider Makers: “As a cider maker, the temporary CBMTRA allowed me to purchase new equipment, hire new staff and grow my business. If the excise tax credits go away, I have to reverse those choices. We're hopeful the permanent version of the bill passes, so we can plan with certainty for a growth-future." – Feb. 6, 2019, U.S. Senate Finance Committee press release.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alter Ego Cider (Portland, Oregon) – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allowed the company to invest in the business and hire more people:

Anne Hubatch, co-owner of Alter Ego Cider and VP of the Northwest Cider Association, said “The [CBMTRA] has made real and lasting impacts to my small business. As a micro-craft cidery, this act helps us to save on our excise taxes which in turn keep more money in the business to grow and invest in more staff and equipment." – Feb. 13, 2019, BeverageDaily article.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trail Distilling (Oregon City, Oregon) – The distillery was able to hire more employees and invest in new equipment because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

“It allowed us to put that savings back into our distillery,” Sara Brennan, co-owner of Oregon City’s Trail Distilling told KOIN 6 in September. “It allowed us to hire more people for sales … (and) invest in more equipment so we can distill more product.” – Dec. 15, 2019, KOIN 6 article.

Avista Corporation – The utility will pass federal tax reform savings to customers:

Avista customers could collectively see a $50 million to $60 million annual benefit from federal tax reform, utility officials said Wednesday.

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

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

--

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

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

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

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 637 Oregon employeesNationwide, $1,000 bonuses for 200,000 employees and a $1 billion increase in capital expenditures:

Today, Congress approved legislation representing the first comprehensive tax reform in a generation. The President is expected to sign the bill in the coming days.

Once tax reform is signed into law, AT&T* plans to invest an additional $1 billion in the United States in 2018 and pay a special $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 AT&T U.S. employees — all union-represented, non-management and front-line managers. If the President signs the bill before Christmas, employees will receive the bonus over the holidays.

“Congress, working closely with the President, took a monumental step to bring taxes paid by U.S. businesses in line with the rest of the industrialized world,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “This tax reform will drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs. In fact, we will increase our U.S. investment and pay a special bonus to our U.S. employees.”

Since 2012, AT&T has invested more in the United States than any other public company. Every $1 billion in capital invested in the telecom industry creates about 7,000 jobs for American workers, research shows. -- Dec. 20, 2017 AT&T Inc. press release

Apple -- (Apple store locations in Tigard and Portland) -- $2,500 employee bonuses in the form of restricted stock units; Nationwide, $30 billion in additional capital expenditures over five years; 20,000 new employees will be hired; increased support of coding education and science, technology, engineering, arts, and math; increased support for U.S. manufacturing.

Walmart – Oregon employees at 43 Walmart stores received tax reform bonuses, wage increases, and expanded maternity and parental leave. Walmart employees who adopt children will be given $5,000 to help cover expenses.

Home Depot -- 37 locations in Oregon - Bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's -- 2,000 employees at 14 stores and one distribution facility in Oregon. Employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service, for 260,000 employees; expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance.

Ryder (Locations in Portland, Salem, Springfield, Tigard) – Tax reform bonuses for employees.

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

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

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

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

Starbucks Coffee Company (359 locations in Oregon) –$500 stock grants for all retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plan and support center employee stock grants. Nationally, 8,000 new retail jobs; an additional wage increase this year, totaling approximately $120 million in wage increases, increased sick time benefits and parental leave.

T.J. Maxx – (12 locations in Oregon) – Tax reform bonuses, retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, and increased charitable donations:

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

Associates

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

Communities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McDonald’s (200+ locations in Oregon) – Increased tuition investments which will provide educational program access for 400,000 U.S. employees. $2,500 per year (up from $700) for crew working 15 hours a week, $3,000 (up from $1,050) for managers, and more:

McDonald’s Corporation today announced it will allocate $150 million over five years to its global Archways to Opportunity education program. This investment will provide almost 400,000 U.S. restaurant employees with accessibility to the program as the company will also lower eligibility requirements from nine months to 90 days of employment and drop weekly shift minimums from 20 hours to 15 hours. Additionally, McDonald’s will also extend some education benefits to restaurant employees’ family members. These enhancements underscore McDonald’s and its independent franchisees’ commitment to providing jobs that fit around the lives of restaurant employees so they may pursue their education and career ambitions.

The Archways to Opportunity program provides eligible U.S. employees an opportunity to earn a high school diploma, receive upfront college tuition assistance, access free education advising services and learn English as a second language.  

“Our commitment to education reinforces our ongoing support of the people who play a crucial role in our journey to build a better McDonald’s,” said Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s President and CEO. “By offering restaurant employees more opportunities to further their education and pursue their career aspirations, we are helping them find their full potential, whether that’s at McDonald’s or elsewhere.”

Accelerated by changes in the U.S. tax law, McDonald’s increased investment in the Archways to Opportunity Program includes:

  • Increased Tuition Investment:
    • Crew: Eligible crew will have access to $2,500/year, up from $700/year.
    • Managers: Eligible Managers will have access to $3,000/year, up from $1,050.
    • Participants have a choice for how they apply this funding – whether it be to a community college, four year university or trade school. There is no lifetime cap on tuition assistance – restaurant employees will be able to pursue their education and career passions at their own pace. The new tuition assistance is effective May 1, 2018 and retroactive to January 1, 2018.
  • Lowered Eligibility Requirements: Increase access to the program by lowering eligibility requirements from nine months to 90 days of employment. In addition, dropping from 20 hours minimum to 15 hours minimum (roughly two full time shifts) per week to enable restaurant employees more time to focus on studies.
  • Extended Services to Families: Extension of Career Online High School and College Advisory services to restaurant employees’ family members through existing educational partners Cengage and Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).
  • Additional Resources: Career exploration resources for eligible restaurant employees to be available later this year.
  • Creation of an International Education Fund: Grants to provide local initiatives and incentives in global markets to further education advancement programs.
     

“Since its inception, Archways to Opportunity was meant to match the ambition and drive of restaurant crew with the means and network to help them find success on their own terms,” said David Fairhurst, McDonald’s Chief People Officer. “By tripling tuition assistance, adding education benefits for family members and lowering eligibility requirements to the equivalent of a summer job, we are sending a signal that if you come work at your local McDonald’s, we’ll invest in your future.”

After launching in the U.S. in 2015, Archways to Opportunity has increased access to education for over 24,000 people and awarded over $21 million in high school and college tuition assistance. Graduates have received college degrees in Business Administration, Human Resources, Communications, Accounting, Microbiology and more. – March 29, 2018 McDonald’s Corporation press release excerpt 

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

Wells Fargo (95 locations in Oregon) - Raised base wage from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour; $400 million in charitable donations for 2018; $100 million increased capital investment over the next three years.

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

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

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