John Kartch

Details of the Horrible Carbon Tax Bill

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, November 28th, 2018, 12:01 AM PERMALINK


Democrat Florida Congressman Ted Deutch has introduced a carbon tax bill to impose a new national energy tax on the American people. The bill is a massive tax increase which will increase utility bills and the price of all products and services. In classic politician-speak, Deutch has dubbed it "The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018."

Voters across the USA -- even in blue areas -- have consistently rejected carbon taxes when faced with the issue at the ballot box. See the timeline here. On top of that, Paris is burning as hundreds of thousands of French citizens -- yes even the French -- protest that country's own carbon taxes.

Despite all this, Democrat Deutch just can't take a hint. Let's look at the details of Deutch's horrible bill:

Imposes a massive and continually racheting national energy tax, allowing politicians to raise taxes without ever having to vote. Just like the French proposal that starts with a big tax that gets more oppressive with time, the bill imposes a $15 per ton carbon (energy) tax, increasing by $10 per year into the future. Within five years the tax would automatically rise to $55 per ton. For reference, the carbon tax handily rejected by blue Washington state voters in November started at $15 and ratcheted up by $2 per year. Perhaps Deutch thinks the voters just want to be taxed at even higher rates.

Shovels taxpayer money into a giant vat for IRS, EPA, and State Department bureaucrats. The IRS and EPA will develop a cozy relationship -- and what's not to love about that -- to siphon cash from the vat of taxpayer funds for what the bill calls "Administrative Expenses" and "Other Administrative Expenses." For reasons unclear, State Department bureaucrats will also have access to the vat of taxpayer funds. What could go wrong?

Gives broad powers to IRS chief to find new products and entities to be carbon-taxed. The IRS is directed to work with the EPA in order to find more tax targets: "Any manufactured or agricultural product which the [Treasury] Secretary in consultation with the [EPA] Administrator determines" is a tax target. The newly-carbon-taxed items will be added to the long list already specified in the bill: Iron, steel, steel mill products including pipe and tube, aluminum, cement, glass, fiberglass, pulp, paper, chemicals, and industrial ceramics.

Gives broad powers to the EPA chief. The bill gives czar-like powers to the EPA chief including the power to impose "monitoring, reporting, and record-keeping requirements" on Americans. The bill also gives the EPA chief power to conduct investigations and force "information collection."

Establishes a creepy DC-based "Carbon Dividend Trust Fund" that seeks a backdoor two-child limit on families. The “Carbon Dividend Trust Fund” leftovers will somehow be routed from DC on a per-person basis and households with more than two children are considered unworthy: The legislative language specifically imposes “a limit of 2 children per household.”

Here it is, straight from the bill text:

“A carbon dividend payment is one pro-rata share for each adult and half a pro-rata share for each child under 19 years old, with a limit of 2 children per household, of amounts available for the month in the Carbon Dividend Trust Fund.”

Gives broad powers to the Treasury Department to issue even more rules and regulations. The bill language states:

"The Secretary shall promulgate rules, guidance, and regulations useful and necessary to implement the Carbon Dividend Trust Fund."

Imposes income tax on the carbon tax "dividend." Yes, the government fleeces the taxpayers and sends the carbon tax money to DC, where it is siphoned off by bureaucrats. Then a leftover "dividend" is supposedly sent out to the countryside where it is then subject to income tax! Here is the bill language:

 “(D) FEE TREATMENT OF PAYMENTS. -- Amounts paid under this subsection shall be includible in gross income.

A tax on a tax, which will likely increase the complexity of your annual tax filing. Here's an idea -- how about not taking the money from taxpayers in the first place?

Greases the skids for a European-style Value Added Tax, a cash cow for big government by erecting a complex carbon tax border adjustment scheme.

Authorizes armed carbon tax enforcement agents. The bill authorizes armed carbon tax enforcement agents to collect the new tax on energy used by Americans. As if customs enforcement doesn't already have enough on its plate, the bill states:

“The revenues collected under this chapter may be used to supplement appropriations made available in fiscal years 2018 and thereafter -

 “(1) to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in such amounts as are necessary to administer the carbon border fee adjustment.”

Authorizes certain government sharing of Social Security information. The bill states:

“(B) COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY. -- The Commissioner of Social Security shall, on written request, disclose to officers and employees of the Department of the Treasury individual identity information which has been disclosed to the Social Security Administration as is necessary to administer section 9512

Americans for Tax Reform opposes the bill. "The proposed carbon tax is a gas tax and a tax on your electric bill. Worse, it increases automatically year after year so the politicians can raise your taxes without ever having to vote," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "The tax will be hidden in the price of all goods and services. A hidden tax. A permanent tax. An uncontrolled tax that increases without end."

 
ALERT: Call Florida Republican Congressman Francis Rooney at 202-225-2536 and ask him why he is supporting this vicious tax which seeks to impose a backdoor two-child limit.
 
Stay tuned to www.ATR.org for more horrible carbon tax updates.
 

Photo Credit: Emeric Fohlen/NurPhoto via Getty Images via The Daily Wire

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Norquist: The corporate rate will not be increased

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, November 7th, 2018, 3:01 PM PERMALINK

ATR President Grover Norquist today issued the following statement:

"The corporate rate will not be increased while Trump is President or the Republicans control the House or Senate. Trump has repeatedly said he wants the rate to be 15% -- not 21%. Fifteen is lower than 21. The corporate rate reduction has created millions of jobs. Trump likes that."

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


Voters Reject Energy Tax Hikes Across the Board

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, November 7th, 2018, 12:38 PM PERMALINK

On Tuesday, voters across the U.S. roundly rejected tax increases on energy:

Washington state carbon tax defeated: For the second time in a row, blue state Washington voters firmly rejected a carbon tax. Initiative 1631 was defeated by a 56.3% - 43.7% margin.

Missouri voters reject gas tax hike: Proposition D, which would have hiked Missouri's gas tax by more than 58%, raising the rate from 17 to 27 cents per gallon, was rejected by more than 54% of Missouri voters

Utah voters reject gas tax hike: Utah voters sent a clear message to state lawmakers they do not want them to even think about raising the state gas tax. Non-binding Question 1 asked Utah voters if they wanted to advise the legislature to raise the state gas tax. Utah voters rejected the question with more than 65% voting NO

Florida voters defeated major carbon tax advocate Congressman Carlos Curbelo: With great media hype earlier this year, Florida congressman Carlos Curbelo introduced a bill to impose a massive carbon tax on the American people. The Curbelo bill would have raised the cost of all household goods and services, hitting poor households the hardest. Curbelo also said that if he won the election, he would crusade around the country for a carbon tax. Voters removed him from office.

 

 

Photo Credit: Duncan C


Republican Tax Cuts Help Families Adopt Children

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Posted by John Kartch on Monday, October 22nd, 2018, 10:16 AM PERMALINK

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by the Republican congress and signed by President Donald Trump, 90 percent of wage earners have higher take-home pay. But there is another important family benefit arising from the GOP tax cuts: companies are helping employees cover the cost of adopting a child.

Walmart, in addition to raising wages, giving bonuses, and expanding parental leave, is offering $5,000 for employees who adopt a child. Here is an excerpt from the official Walmart statement:

Walmart will provide financial assistance to associates adopting a child. The adoption benefit, available to both full-time hourly and salaried associates, will total $5,000 per child and may be used for expenses such as adoption agency fees, translation fees and legal or court costs.

Lowe's also raised wages, gave bonuses, expanded parental leave, and is offering $5,000 for employees who adopt a child. Here is an excerpt from the official Lowe's statement:

An adoption assistance benefit to cover up to $5,000 of expenses related to agency, legal and other fees.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also doubled the child tax credit.

“The GOP tax cut is pro-growth, pro-jobs, and pro-family,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

Americans for Tax Reform has state-by-state lists which include the number of Walmart and Lowe's locations per state. If you know of another company offering adoption benefits due to tax reform, please email jkartch@atr.org

 

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Dem Takeover Could Bring Steep National Gun Tax

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, October 19th, 2018, 2:00 PM PERMALINK

 

If they take control of congress, an increasingly radicalized Democrat party will seek to impose gun control and steep national gun taxes on the American people.

Congressional Democrats have already introduced a bill to radically increase the federal excise tax on guns and ammunition. The bill’s sponsor has acknowledged he would like to make guns cost prohibitive and “outlaw them altogether.”

The bill, H.R. 5103, does the following:

-Doubles the federal excise tax on pistols and revolvers, from 10 percent to 20 percent.

-Nearly doubles the federal excise tax on shotguns and rifles, raising it from 11 percent up to 20 percent.

-Nearly quintuples the federal excise tax on ammunition, raising it from 11 percent up to 50 percent.

The bill is sponsored by Chicago-area Congressman Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and has 12 co-sponsors, all Democrats.

In an interview with Sirius XM Patriot’s Kerry Picket, Davis made shocking admissions: He wants to outlaw guns and doesn’t mind if low-income Americans are unable to have guns due to his gun tax increase:

Kerry Picket, Sirius XM Patriot:  “Now some would argue that then guns and ammunition would only be available to those with money, those who are wealthy. And that those who are in the lower classes as far as financial terms are concerned would not be able to afford such weapons. Tell me about that.”

Congressman Danny Davis (D-Ill.):  “Well I would be just as pleased if neither group were able to get them [guns]. So what I am saying is it doesn’t pose an issue for me because I would like to outlaw them altogether. I am saying I would like to make it where nobody except military personnel would ever have access to these weapons. So it wouldn’t bother me that one category of people couldn’t get them even if the other one was willing to pay the high price for them. Then we use that money for services that are needed and people could make use of them.”

Picket: “So rich people only could own firearms?”

Congressman Davis:  “So if rich people could only get firearms then only rich people would be able to pay the price. And if that could prevent some people from getting them, I would want to prevent all people from getting them. But if rich people were willing, and would continue to pay the high price then I’d be happy that we kept the other group from getting them.”

Needless to say, Americans for Tax Reform opposes the bill. “This bill, and the comments of its author, make clear that Democrats just want to tax the Second Amendment out of existence,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

See also: Archive footage shows Hillary Clinton endorsing massive new national gun tax

 

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Louisiana Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018, 8:30 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 Louisiana. (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

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

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

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

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

Entergy Louisiana, LLC (New Orleans, Louisiana) — The utility will pass along tax savings to customers:

Entergy believes that the tax reform legislation will benefit our customers by lowering the tax costs that they otherwise would pay in rates. These lower tax costs come at a time when our utility is making significant investments to modernize our electric infrastructure in order to better serve our customers, and they will help us keep rates down.

Today, our rates are among the lowest in the United States, and we want that to remain the case. We are working very closely with the Louisiana Public Service Commission staff and other interested parties on a plan to present to the Commission to timely and appropriately reflect the benefits of tax reform in customer rates. — Entergy Louisiana LLC statement, as published in a Feb. 22, 2018 KADN News 15 news article

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Entergy New Orleans (New Orleans, Louisiana) – the utility will pass along tax reform savings to customers

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

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

Entergy Louisiana (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) - The utility will pass along tax reform savings to customers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lowe's -- 4,000 employees at 31 stores in Louisiana. Employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service; expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance.

Cleco Corporation. (Pineville, Louisiana) – the utility will pass tax savings to customers:

Cleco confirmed it will pass along savings to customers related to the recent tax reform. 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017 and became effective on Jan. 1, 2018, decreased the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, reducing the amount of federal income tax Cleco will have to pay. 

--

“In an effort to promptly provide our customers with the benefits of the federal tax reduction, Cleco will deliver a plan to the LPSC outlining customer savings,” said Taylor.  “We have anticipated these savings and are prepared to pass them along to our customers at the direction of the LPSC.” – Feb. 22 2018, Cleco Corporation press release excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

Associates

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

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

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

  • Enhancing vacation benefits for certain U.S. Associates

Communities

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

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

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

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

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

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

AT&T --  $1,000 bonuses to 3,934 Louisiana employees; Nationwide, $1 billion increase in capital expenditures:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starbucks Coffee Company (84 locations in Louisiana) – $500 stock grants for all retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plan and support center employee stock grants. Nationally, 8,000 new retail jobs; an additional wage increase this year, totaling approximately $120 million in wage increases, increased sick time benefits and parental leave. 

McDonald’s (275+ locations in Louisiana) – Increased tuition investments which will provide educational program access for 400,000 U.S. employees. $2,500 per year (up from $700) for crew working 15 hours a week, $3,000 (up from $1,050) for managers, and more:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tax Cuts Help Sugarlands Distilling Company Build New Distillery and Barrel House

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, September 12th, 2018, 5:46 PM PERMALINK

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

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

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

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

Sugarlands Distilling Company produces an award-winning line of moonshines, cream liqueurs, rum, and rye whiskey.

See Also: Tennessee Examples of Tax Reform Good News and National List of Tax Reform Good News

Photo Credit: Sugarlands Distilling Company


Norquist: Trump Move to End Inflation Tax on Capital Gains Would Supercharge Economy

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, August 30th, 2018, 10:48 PM PERMALINK


TRUMP on ending the inflation tax: "I'm thinking about it very strongly."

The Inflation Tax on capital gains may finally be coming to an end. President Trump said today that he is "very strongly" considering a decision to index capital gains to inflation.

As reported by Bloomberg News:

President Donald Trump said he’s considering a capital gains tax break by issuing a regulation that would index gains to inflation.

“There are a lot of people that love it and some people that don’t,” Trump said Thursday in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. “But I’m thinking about it very strongly.”

In response, Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist issued the following statement:

"President Trump turned the economy around with his powerful tax cut signed last November. Now he is poised to supercharge the economy by ending the inflation tax on capital gains, a big help to retired Americans."

For decades, Americans have been stuck paying capital gains taxes on phantom, inflation-based gains. As noted in a Norquist letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin:

Under current law, the capital gains tax fails to account for gains that are based on inflation. This unfairly exposes taxpayers to additional taxation. For example, an investor makes a capital investment of $1,000 in 2000 and sells that investment for $2,000 in 2017 will be taxed for a $1,000 gain at a top capital gains tax rate of 23.8 percent. After adjusting for inflation, the “true gain” is much lower – just $579. (1,000 in 2000 - $1,421 in 2017).

According to a 2013 analysis by the Tax Foundation on individual capital gains taxes, the average effective rate excluding gains from inflation between 1950 and 2012 was 42.5 percent, nearly twice today’s 23.8 percent top capital gains tax rate.

Treasury has the legal authority to index the calculation of capital gains taxes to inflation. Under the precedent set by the Supreme Court in Chevron U.S.A. v. National Resources Defense Council (1984), the ability of Treasury to add an inflation adjustment hinges on whether a new definition of “cost” is plausible. Currently, the capital gains tax is calculated as the difference between the cost of the asset and the sale price of the asset.

While in this context, “cost” is commonly understood to mean historical cost, this definition is not explicitly enshrined in law and Treasury has utilized regulatory discretion in the past. For instance, in 1918, Treasury decided that an asset’s cost was not strictly purchase price but was purchase price less depreciation and depletion taken by the taxpayer prior to sale.

Recent legal precedent proves that there is precedent for the term “cost” to include inflation. For instance, in Verizon v. FCC (2002) the Supreme Court affirmed that the term “cost” was ambiguous and the use of historical cost was not required by law.  National Cable & Telecommunications Ass’n v. Brand X Internet Services (2005), affirmed the right of an agency to interpret an ambiguous provision of the law, while in Mayo Foundation for Medical Education & Research v. United States (2011), the Supreme Court affirmed that the Chevron doctrine applies to Treasury regulations.

There is significant support for indexing the calculation of capital gains taxes to inflation in Congress, and from economists:

  • Current and former members of Congress, led by Vice President Mike Pence support indexing capital gains taxes to inflation. Pence introduced legislation in 2007 with 88 co-sponsors including now-Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas).
     
  • Similarly, economist Richard Rahn voiced support for indexation in a Washington Times op-ed published on April 9, 2018. Rahn stated that indexation would “spur economic growth and job creation, increase government revenues, and most importantly stop the immoral practice of taxing government-caused inflation.”
     

Given the clear economic rationale, strong legal precedent, and significant congressional and administration support for indexation, I urge Treasury to swiftly utilize its regulatory authority and index capital gains taxes to inflation. 

See also: Over 700 examples of good news arising from the GOP tax cuts

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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Gillum Wants 40% Corporate Tax Rate Hike


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, August 29th, 2018, 12:33 AM PERMALINK

--Gillum tax hike would give Florida the highest corporate tax in the region--

Bernie Sanders-backed candidate Andrew Gillum has won the Democrat nomination for the governorship of Florida. Taxpayers beware: Gillum wants to impose a massive tax increase on Floridians, starting with a corporate tax rate hike of over 40 percent.

As reported by the Tampa Bay Times:

Gillum said if elected, he would increase Florida's corporate tax rate to 7.75 percent, up from the current 5.5 percent.

That’s a 40.9% increase -- a tax hike of over a billion dollars.

Gillum’s tax hike to 7.75% will give Florida the highest corporate tax rate in the region -- higher than Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi.

The state corporate rates are as follows:

North Carolina            3.0% (Note: NC's rate is dropping down to 2.5% in Jan. 2019)

South Carolina            5.0%

Mississippi                  5.0%

Georgia                        6.0%   

Tennessee                   6.5%

Alabama                      6.5%

GILLUM TAX HIKE      7.75%             

The Republican nominee for governor, Ron DeSantis, has made a firm written commitment to Floridians that he will oppose and veto any tax hike.

Game on.

See also: Florida Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Curbelo's Carbon Tax Threatens 300% IRS Fines for "Any person who fails to comply"

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Posted by John Kartch on Saturday, July 21st, 2018, 4:03 PM PERMALINK


On Monday congressman Carlos Curbelo will introduce an $800 billion tax increase -- a carbon tax hike plan in the U.S. House of Representatives. The carbon tax will raise the price of gas and will hit low-income households especially hard. And consider yourself warned: The IRS will come knocking for a 300% penalty on "any person who fails to comply."

Yes, you read that correctly: Three. Hundred. Percent.

Let's go straight to the bill, so you can see for yourself. Sections 9901, 9902, 9903, and 9904 describe the carbon tax hike, and then Section 9907 reads as follows:

PENALTIES FOR NONPAYMENT

"Any person who fails to comply with the requirements of section 9901, 9902, 9903, or 9904 shall be liable for payment to the Secretary, without demand, of a penalty in the amount equal to 3 times the applicable amount specified by those sections for the same tax year as the year in which the person failed to comply with such requirements."

An IRS Enrolled Agent interviewed for this article noted the unusually harsh -- perhaps unprecedented -- IRS penalty. “As an Enrolled Agent who has run his own tax prep firm for over a decade, I’ve never run into anything close to a 300 percent tax penalty. The biggest one I can think of is 50 percent, and most are far smaller than that," said Ryan L. Ellis.

The Curbelo carbon tax hike bill imposes a massive tax on American employers, encourages the creation of state carbon taxes, creates a long list of products to be carbon-taxed and gives the EPA chief unfettered power to add to that list.

The Curbelo bill also creates a UN-style “National Climate Commission” which will be given the power to access data and documents from any federal government entity. Taxpayer-funded federal employees will be detailed to the Commission while continuing to receive their salary. The Commission will arrange for travel expenses, have the ability to hire "experts and consultants" and even have postal franking privileges.

What could possibly go wrong?


See also:

Hillary Clinton Memo Shows Carbon Tax Devastating to Low Income Households 

Carbon Taxers Beware: Canadians Revolt Against Trudeau’s Carbon Tax

Center for American Progress Founder: "We have done extensive polling on a carbon tax. It all sucks.” 

Carbon Tax Pushers Beware: Australia’s Carbon Tax Politicians Were Quickly Voted Out of Office

Endorsing a carbon tax is bad for your electoral health, even in Vermont

41 conservative groups urge support for @SteveScalise @RepMcKinley anti-carbon-tax resolution  

Even Left-Leaning Washington State Voters Rejected a Carbon Tax 

More details coming. Stay tuned to www.atr.org

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Tiger Direct

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