John Kartch

Rhode Island Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, October 25th, 2019, 6:30 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 Rhode Island. (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

CVS Health (Woonsocket, Rhode Island) -- Base wage raised to $11 per hour, and other pay ranges adjusted accordingly; company will absorb increased costs of health insurance premiums; creation of new parental leave program:

In a continuing commitment to investing in the growth and success of its employees, CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today announced three major programs that will enable employees to share in the tax savings created by the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The improvements in employee wages and benefits, which are long-term and sustainable compensation investments, total $425 million annually and create continued growth opportunities for the company and its employees. The programs announced today include the following employee-focused investments:

  • CVS Health will increase the starting wage rate for hourly employees to $11 an hour, effective April 2018. As part of this change, the company also plans to adjust pay ranges and rates for many of its retail pharmacy technicians, front store associates and other hourly retail employees later in the year to ensure a competitive compensation structure that supports the company's plans to evolve its retail stores into a health care destination.
  • As part of ensuring access to affordable health care, CVS Health will not increase employee premiums for the 2018-2019 plan year. While medical and prescription costs have increased 5% year-over-year, CVS Health will absorb the entire increase for the 100,000 employees who have elected to enroll in the company-sponsored health plan.
  • The company is also creating a new paid parental leave program. Effective April 1, 2018, full-time employees who welcome a new child into their home can take up to four weeks away from work at 100% of their pay to ensure the newest addition to their family gets off to a strong start in life.

"As part of our ongoing commitment to the patients, customers and communities we serve, we said that we would invest our tax savings back into our business, and that's exactly what we're doing," said Larry Merlo, CVS Health president and CEO. "Today, we're building on the investments we've been making in our employees, in their wages, benefits and career development. It's our employees who drive our performance and we appreciate how hard they work every day to deliver on our purpose of helping people on their path to better health." -- Feb. 8, 2018 CVS Health press release

National Grid Rhode Island (Providence, Rhode Island) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

National Grid Rhode Island announced today that it is reducing its electric and gas base distribution rate proposal with the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (RIPUC) by more than $25 million.  Last November, National Grid had put forth its first proposal since 2012 asking the RIPUC to adjust its base distribution rates for both gas and electric customers. Since that time, National Grid has been assessing how the newly passed federal tax reform legislation that was signed into law in late December could benefit our customers.

"Today's announcement is a key indicator of how this new tax law can provide real benefits to National Grid's customer," said Tim Horan, president and COO of National Grid in Rhode Island. "We are committed to ensuring that the tax savings of the legislation are fully realized and are used to help our customers in their energy bills." -- Jan. 11 2018, National Grid press release

Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling (Newport, Rhode Island) – Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the company was able to buy new equipment and expand:

"The past two years has seen us invest heavily in the business, hiring people, investing in equipment and expanding. That becomes much more difficult when there's a sudden huge expense," Brent Ryan, co-founder of Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling, said.

"A lot of brewers and distillers were managing through it before two years ago, gradually growing, and when the tax law passed, they were able to say, 'Wow, I can invest even more in my business.' Now, if this doesn't get passed, you're looking at having businesses cut back on hiring and investing and growth." – Dec. 25, 2019, Providence Journal article.

Citizens Financial Group (Providence, Rhode Island) -- $1,000 bonuses for 12,500 employees and $10 million for charitable donations

“Corporate tax reform provides us with an opportunity to recognize the role our colleagues have played in delivering better results for customers and shareholders, and to positively impact the communities where we live, work and play,” said Bruce Van Saun, chairman and chief executive officer of Citizens Financial Group. – Citizens Financial Group press release

Waste Management, Inc. (Locations in Cranston, Newport, and Providence) –  $2,000 bonuses:

Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE: WM) announced today that, in light of the meaningful contributions of its employees and the new U.S. corporate tax structure, the company will distribute US $2,000 in 2018 to every North American employee non on a bonus or sales incentive plan; that includes hourly and other employees. 

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

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

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

Walmart – Rhode Island employees at 9 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.

Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc. (Westerly, Rhode Island) – $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees and $500 for part-time employees; $1.00 per hour salary increase for employees below a certain compensation level:

Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: WASH), parent of The Washington Trust Company, today announced that as a result of the anticipated reduction in corporate taxes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Corporation will invest in its employees with special compensation enhancements implemented in January 2018. 

“Recent legislation has provided us with an opportunity to further recognize our employees and the important role they play in delivering excellent results for our customers and shareholders,” stated Joseph J. MarcAurele, Washington Trust Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.  

The Corporation outlined the investment plan as follows:

  • We will award a one-time cash bonus of $1,000 to full-time employees and a $500 cash bonus to part-time employees. This award will benefit employees below a certain compensation threshold, covering more than 70 percent of our approximately 600 employees.
  • Additionally, we will implement a $1.00 per hour salary increase for employees below a certain compensation level, benefitting almost 40 percent of our workforce. 

The special compensation is in addition to any merit increases or incentive bonuses for which they may be otherwise eligible. -- Jan. 16 2018, Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc. press release

T.J. Maxx – Stores in Cranston, Newport, Smithfield, Warwick, Westerly, and North Kingstown – Tax reform bonuses, retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, and increased charitable donations.

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses for 128 Rhode Island-based employeesNationwide, $1,000 bonuses for 200,000 employees, and a $1 billion increase in capital expenditures:

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

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

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

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

Home Depot -- 8 locations in Rhode Island, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's -- 700+ employees at 5 stores in Rhode Island. Employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service, for 260,000 employees; expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance.

CarMax (Cranston, Rhode Island) – $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

Ryder (Two locations in Warwick) – Tax reform bonuses for employees.

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

Chipotle Mexican Grill (Stores in Providence, Warwick, Smithfield, and Newport) – Bonuses ranging from $250 to $1,000; increased employee benefits; $50 million investment in existing restaurants.

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

Starbucks Coffee Company (Stores in Providence, Warwick, Barrington, North Kingstown, Smithfield, Lincoln, Middletown, and Wakefield) –$500 stock grants for all retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plan and support center employee stock grants. Nationally, 8,000 new retail jobs; an additional wage increase this year, totaling approximately $120 million in wage increases, increased sick time benefits and parental leave.

U-Haul (Locations in Warwick, Providence, and Pawtucket) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.

FedEx (Locations in Warwick and Providence) – 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 (40+ locations in Rhode Island) – 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 Rhode Island 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


Vermont Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Saturday, October 5th, 2019, 4:00 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 Vermont (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

Mack Molding (Arlington, Vermont) - Major facility upgrades:

Mack Molding, an injection molder and contract manufacturer based in Vermont, announced this week that it is investing $5.4 million to upgrade two existing facilities in response to “favorable tax changes” and a surging economy. - July 16, 2018 National Association of Manufacturers article excerpt

Green Mountain Power (Colchester, Vermont) – The utility will pass along tax savings to customers:

In a filing today with the Vermont Public Utility Commission, Green Mountain Power is seeking to lower bills for customers by $6 million. The benefit comes from federal tax law changes that reduce GMP's corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. This change will be retroactive and take effect January 1, 2018 at the start of GMP’s new rate year. The reduction will be applied starting in the February bill cycle and will be returned monthly throughout 2018 as a bill credit.

"After the federal tax plan passed, GMP pledged to return 100% of the tax benefit to customers, and today's letter sets in motion our plan to reduce rates to provide those savings to our customers immediately," said President and CEO Mary Powell. “Keeping energy costs low and stable is a key focus at GMP and this decrease will help offset increased cost pressures in other areas outside of our control such as regional transmission costs.”

This rate reduction will help offset the recent rate increase that took effect in January. GMP customers will continue to see the benefits of the new, lower tax rate for as long as these rates are in effect because they will be reflected in future proposed energy rates. GMP is set to file its next rate case in April. – Jan. 23, 2018 Green Mountain Power press release

Vermont Gas Systems, Inc. (South Burlington, Vermont) – The utility will pass savings from tax reform to customers:

Vermont Gas announced today that it will reduce 2018 customer costs by $2.4 million, the full benefit of December's federal tax law changes.

Vermont Gas has filed a notice with the Vermont Public Utility Commission to give customers a monthly credit on 2018 bills, starting February 1st and continuing through October 2018. Each of Vermont Gas’ 51,000 customers will receive a credit on their heating bill, based on usage, over the next eight months. For families, this bill credit will total almost $40 over the year; businesses could see even more.

“Our commitment to our customers is to maintain affordable and competitive rates, while offering top-rate customer service. We are so pleased to return the full benefit of this new federal tax reduction to every family and business this year,” said Don Rendall, President and CEO of Vermont Gas. “Our customers will start to see a reduction in their heating bills next month and with the recent bitterly cold weather we’ve been experiencing, this money will be a welcomed relief.”

While each customer’s total savings will vary depending on their actual usage, the average residential customer’s annual bill will be almost $40 lower because of this change. Businesses could receive hundreds, or thousands of dollars credited over the course of the year, depending on usage.

“As a Vermont Gas customer at my home and for my downtown hair salon, I’m always looking for ways to save money,” said Glenn Brown, Burlington resident and owner of Chop Shop Hair Design. “I’m excited that Vermont Gas is passing along the tax credit to customers – every little bit helps this time of year.”

 “We’re pleased to return this money to customers because we know how important it is for everyone to keep costs in check, especially during the winter months,” Rendall continued. “Natural gas is already the cleanest and most affordable heating choice for over 51,000 families and businesses and we know these savings will help.” – Jan. 23 2018, Vermont Gas Systems, Inc. press release excerpt

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses for 73 Vermont 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

Walmart – Vermont employees at 6 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 -- 3 locations in Vermont; Bennington, Williston, Rutland -- Bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's --200+ employees at two stores in Vermont; Burlington and Essex Junction-- 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 (Two locations in Vermont; White River Junction and Williston) – Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Starbucks Coffee Company (8 locations in Vermont) - $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.

Best Buy -- (Williston, Vermont) -- $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees. 

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

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

Comcast (Three locations in Vermont: Newport, Rutland, South Burlington) -- $1,000 bonuses; nationwide, at least $50 billion investment in infrastructure in next five years.

T.J. Maxx – (Five locations in Vermont; Barre, Burlington, Middlebury, Rutland, St Albans) – 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 Vermont) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.

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

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

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

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

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

McDonald’s (25+ locations in Vermont) – 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 Vermont 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


Norquist Letter to Romney Regarding Capital Gains

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, September 13th, 2019, 5:49 PM PERMALINK

Today, ATR President Grover Norquist sent a letter to Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) regarding indexing capital gains taxes to inflation. The full text of the letter can be found here and below: 

To: Senator Mitt Romney
From: Grover Norquist
Cc: Republican Members of Congress

September 13, 2019 

Dear Senator Romney,

A few weeks ago you said you were “looking at” joining the hard left in the Democrat party in imposing a national energy tax on all Americans – a carbon tax – along with Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, and Pete Buttigieg.

Today in a letter you not only undermined Senator Ted Cruz and 20 other Senate Republicans, you misstated President Trump’s position on ending the taxation of inflation in capital gains.

President Trump has repeatedly, correctly stated that he knows he has the legal authority to end the taxation of inflation in capital gains by allowing taxpayers to calculate cost as “cost plus inflation.”  

The President is aware that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that agencies have that power in Verizon v. FCC in 2002. Even before that finding, Supreme Court lawyer Chuck Cooper made it clear that the President and Treasury Secretary have this authority. That was only made more obvious with the 2002 Verizon decision which Cooper detailed in his updated 2012 legal memo.

You also used regrettable left-wing rhetoric. According to the IRS 24,139,920 American households had a capital gains filing in the most recent year of available data. Eighty-two percent of these households made less than $200,000 that year and 56 percent made less than $100,000.

In your home state of Utah, 181,300 households had a capital gains filing. Eighty-four percent of these Utah households made less than $200,000 per year and 57 percent made less than $100,000 per year.

As noted by the Tax Foundation, “the lower rate on capital gains does not mitigate the inflation issue, as taxpayers still face tax liability whether they made a real gain or real loss.”

As also noted by the Tax Foundation: “Indexing provides important protection for all citizens, even those who have no capital gains, by reducing government’s ability and incentive to raise effective tax rates by inflating the currency.”

White House economists and Congressional Republicans together with free market groups and the business community in all 50 states will continue to push this initiative forward and get it enacted before the 2020 election.

You are putting yourself on the wrong side of the two biggest divisions between the two parties today: Democrats want to tax energy with a carbon tax while Republicans are unified in opposition. Democrats like Joe Biden want to increase the capital gains tax burden, and Republicans want to reduce the capital gains tax burden. The only way to reduce the capital gains tax burden between now and 2020 is through executive action.

It is wrong for the government to tax inflation. Ending the inflation tax will help create jobs and raise wages. ATR will continue to highlight the tens of millions of Americans who will benefit directly from ending the inflation tax, many of whom live in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Good policy is good politics. 

Ending the inflation tax on capital gains has broad and deep support. The growing list of supporters will not be discouraged by your letter.

Sincerely, 

Grover G. Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


Elizabeth Warren Calls for Steep National Gun Tax

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Posted by John Kartch on Saturday, August 10th, 2019, 12:56 PM PERMALINK

Elizabeth Warren Calls for Yet Another Tax Increase

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren today proposed a steep national gun tax.

Warren wants to impose a 30 percent federal excise tax on rifles and shotguns, a significant increase from the current rate of 11 percent.

Warren's proposal would also impose a 30 percent federal excise tax on handguns, a tripling of the current rate of 10 percent.

Warren's proposal would also impose a 50 percent federal excise tax on ammunition, a near five-fold increase from the current rate of 11 percent.

"This is a tax increase on protecting your family, your home," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "The power to tax is the power to control. If Elizabeth Warren suggested such a tax on newspapers it would be understood as unconstitutional."

Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, had also endorsed a gun tax hike, during Senate testimony in 1993.

Warren's proposal can be read here.

Photo Credit: Marta Evry/Flickr


Elizabeth Warren "Wealth Tax" was described by the WaPo editorial board as having "a certain authoritarian odor"

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, July 30th, 2019, 11:10 PM PERMALINK

After dodging questions about middle class tax increases during the CNN Democrat presidential debate in Detroit Tuesday night, Elizabeth Warren repeated her demand for a "wealth tax" on the American people.

"So I have proposed a wealth tax, it's now time to do that. It's time to tax the top tenth of one percent of fortunes in this country," Warren said.

Warren's "wealth tax" would empower IRS agents to keep a list of all household assets, an extremely invasive power. The Warren "wealth tax" also contains a 40% "exit tax." Even the Washington Post editorial board said this arrangement "conveys a certain authoritarian odor."

The Warren "wealth tax" would also be ruled unconstitutional, and wealth taxes have been repealed in the following countries: Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, Ireland, and Italy.

The countries found the tax to be unworkable and economically harmful.

 


CNN on GOP Tax Cuts: "The facts are, most Americans got a tax cut."

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, July 30th, 2019, 7:00 PM PERMALINK

Tonight in Detroit, Democrat presidential candidates will not be truthful about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. But even left-leaning and establishment media outlets such as debate host CNN have confirmed the good news arising from the tax cuts, enacted by the Republican congress and President Trump:


So if Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren fib about the tax cuts tonight during the debate, the CNN hosts have everything they need to rebut them.


 

Photo Credit: salva1745/Flickr


Norquist Letter to Schumer on Indexing Capital Gains

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019, 5:00 AM PERMALINK

ATR President Grover Norquist today released a letter to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) urging him to encourage President Trump to index capital gains taxes to inflation. Schumer has long supported ending the inflation tax, as evidenced by his remarks on the House floor in 1992. 

Read the letter here or below: 

Dear Senator Schumer:

I saw the July 12 letter signed by 15 Democrat senators attacking your long-held support for ending the inflation tax on capital gains.

Your strong statement on Feb. 27, 1992 on the floor of the U.S. House was a powerful endorsement of the need to index capital gains to create jobs.

The fifteen Democrat senators need to listen to you when you stated:

“If we really want to increase growth, there are proposals that we can do. I would be for indexing all capital gains and savings and borrowing.”

How right you were. And are.

The White House shares your view that we must index capital gains to end the taxation of inflation. They are moving to enact this through their executive power as recognized and recently affirmed by the Supreme Court.

The Treasury Secretary has the authority to right this wrong simply by defining “cost” as the real cost, which is “cost plus inflation” rather than “historic cost.” The ability was confirmed by the 2002 Supreme Court decision Verizon Communications Inc. v. FCC.

The court made it clear that “cost” is a not an unambiguous term. There is historic cost, cost plus inflation, replacement cost, and others. And the present Supreme Court just clarified that agencies maintain that authority. The authority of Treasury to choose an appropriate definition of “cost” was made crystal clear in Kisor v. Wilkie on June 26, 2019.

You are correct that ending the taxation of inflation is both just and pro-growth. 

The court is correct that the authority to right this wrong is in the hands of the Treasury Department.                

I write to encourage you to urge President Trump to act as soon as possible to make this change and supercharge the U.S. economy.

That will fix the problem of taxing inflation quicker than you trying to talk sense to the 15 senators who disagree with you.

Sincerely,
Grover Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform 

See also:

Schumer Video: "I Would Be For Indexing All Capital Gains"

Democrats Supported Indexing Capital Gains Taxes to Inflation in 1992

 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


Biden's Tax Hypocrisy

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, July 11th, 2019, 2:00 PM PERMALINK

(Op-ed by Ryan Ellis -- IRS Enrolled Agent and President of the Center for a Free Economy -- as published in The Washington Examiner)

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden this week released several years of income tax returns, probably hoping the story would be that he did so and President Trump has not.

However, Richard Rubin from the Wall Street Journal found a much more interesting nugget: in 2017 and 2018, Joe Biden and his wife ran $13 million of profits through two subchapter-S corporations. In so doing, they avoided $500,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes they would have paid if they instead reported the income as sole proprietors directly on their 1040 income tax returns.

That’s because profits from an “S-corp” are subject to federal income tax, but not to the Social Security and Medicare tax. This is not true for sole proprietors, who are liable for both layers of tax in full.

Biden, incidentally, is campaigning in favor of an across-the-board tax increase.

If this all sounds familiar to veteran politicos, it’s the same tax problem that helped bring down Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards in 2004.

To be clear, the use of S-corps is a perfectly legal tax avoidance strategy deployed commonly in family businesses across the country. It is not tax evasion, but it most certainly is a tax strategy — and if one takes Biden’s history on the matter seriously, it's a tax strategy he thinks is a loophole.

To be equally clear, Joe Biden is a hypocrite for using S-corporations in this way for at least four reasons. This is, after all, a man who said that paying more in taxes was a “patriotic act." [Click here to continue reading]

Photo Credit: Marc Nozell


Carbon Tax Requires Bureaucracy to Distribute 295 Million Monthly “Dividend” Payments

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, June 12th, 2019, 3:00 PM PERMALINK

--That adds up to 3.5 billion payments in a year, more than twice the current total number of payments made by the entire federal government--

--What the carbon tax groups won’t tell you--

A carbon tax and “dividend” (hat tip to the beltway consultant who coined this suspect term) scheme would impose a large tax increase on the American people. It would also create a large new entitlement spending program and give the government more power over your life. It’s no wonder more than 75 conservative groups this week sent a statement to congress: “We oppose any carbon tax.”

Now, assume for a moment that the carbon tax pushers are telling the truth, and that the carbon tax money wouldn’t disappear into a black hole of “urgent” Democrat special spending interests (Green New Deal, etc.)

Because a carbon tax will make most everything in life more expensive, carbon tax advocates breezily mention that someone in Washington DC will send “dividend checks” or “rebates” in order to compensate Americans for the increased burden on their livelihood.

Energy and environment reporters dutifully note each new corporate honcho or Nobel economist who endorses a carbon-tax-and-dividend framework. Yet these same reporters have shown a remarkable lack of curiosity as to the real life ramifications of such a complex redistribution regime. They simply tell their readers that “dividends” or “rebates” will be sent out to the countryside, and then…well that’s it. They do not report the story any further. The carbon tax groups certainly do not mind.

The House carbon tax bill (H.R. 763) -- co-sponsored by 42 Democrats and one Republican, Francis Rooney -- calls for such payments to be made “each month” to “any natural living person who has a valid Social Security number or taxpayer identification number and is a citizen or lawful resident of the United States.”

How many payments is that each month?

Consider:

The estimated population of U.S. citizens is 294,959,400

Therefore the carbon tax bill would require some federal entity to distribute at least 294,959,400 payments each month.

Multiply that number by 12 (months) and you get 3,539,512,800.

3.5 billion individual carbon tax payments in a year.

That’s a lot of payments. For perspective, let’s compare it to the Social Security Administration:

-The Social Security Administration has 68,535,000 total beneficiaries (May 2019).

-294,959,400 (estimated population of U.S. citizens) divided by 68,535,000 (quantity of SSA beneficiaries) equals 4.3

This means the carbon tax bill involves over four times the quantity of beneficiaries as the Social Security Administration.

How big of a bureaucracy is the Social Security Administration?

Headquartered in Baltimore, the SSA has almost 60,000 total employees. According to SSA: “The field organization, which is decentralized to provide services at the local level, includes 10 regional offices, 6 processing centers, and approximately 1,230 field offices. There are 2 additional processing centers in the central office.” Here is the organization chart.

This is not to say that the carbon tax-and-dividend scheme would require the same proportion of employees as the SSA.

But the carbon tax scheme will task some agency or agencies with a significant bureaucratic undertaking: Enrollment, eligibility determination, fraud prevention, case workers -- to resolve lost, missing, or inaccurate payments, custody and divorce issues (kids get the payments too) and bank account number updates -- software development, IT staffing, human resources management, legal staffing, and dozens of other logistical undertakings. Congressional offices will spend some quantity of time on carbon tax problem calls, letters, and related casework.

(Oh, and the “dividend” payments are subject to federal and state income tax and must be reconciled on your annual tax return. This will require coordination across the federal government and trigger an enormous quantity of paperwork for the government, employers, and households.)

The entire federal government makes about 1.38 billion payments per year.

This means the carbon tax bill will require at least twice the quantity of total current annual U.S. government payments.

Ready to get started?

See also:

Romney "looking at" carbon tax

Francis Rooney Endorses Large Tax Increase

 

Photo Credit: Eric Smyth/Flickr


Romney “looking at” carbon tax bill

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, June 5th, 2019, 5:57 PM PERMALINK

Senator Mitt Romney is “looking at” a carbon tax bill, according to a report from E&E News published this afternoon. Democrat Senator Chris Coons of Delaware is trying to convince Romney to impose the tax, which would impose a significant tax increase on the American people.

Details of the bill Coons is trying to sell to Romney:

The bill imposes a massive and continually ratcheting national energy tax, allowing politicians to raise taxes without ever having to vote.

How big is the tax increase? Likely north of $1 trillion over a decade. There isn't an official score on the bill yet, but a recent CBO report estimated the revenue a generic $25 per ton (increasing 2% per year) carbon tax bill would raise: $1.1 trillion over ten years. The Coons bill starts at $15 per ton and increases by a much steeper $10 per ton per year (and in some cases by $15 per ton per year). By any reasonable estimate, the Coons carbon tax will impose an extremely large tax increase on the American people.

The bill gives czar-like powers to EPA and IRS chiefs. The bill directs the IRS and EPA to work closely together on enforcement. The EPA chief is given 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."

The bill shovels taxpayer money into a slush fund for IRS, EPA, and State Department bureaucrats. The IRS and EPA will have direct access to taxpayer money for what the bill calls "Administrative Expenses" and "Other Administrative Expenses." For reasons unclear, State Department bureaucrats will also have access to the taxpayer funds. What could go wrong?

The bill 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 various agencies. Then a leftover "dividend" is supposedly sent out, which is then subject to income tax.

Got it? The "dividend" will need to be reconciled on your federal and state tax return. You'll have the joy of chasing down another tax form before April 15 each year. Here is the bill language:

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

The bill attempts backdoor family planning by considering a child -- and anyone under the age of 19 -- to be one-half of a person. Because the carbon tax will raise the cost of everything, household budgets will get squeezed. Since energy is built into the price of everything, the government will end up with increased control over your livelihood. And the carbon tax bill considers children and all Americans under the age of 19 to be one-half of one person. Why? Backdoor family planning? 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 of amounts available for the month in the Carbon Dividend Trust Fund."

The bill greases the skids for a Value-Added Tax, a cash cow for even bigger government.

The bill authorizes carbon tax enforcement agents. The bill authorizes 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 2020 and thereafter -

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

The bill authorizes certain government sharing of Social Security "individual identity information." More bureaucrats will have access to your information. The bill states:

“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."

Photo Credit: davelawrence8/Flickr


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