How the Trump Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping New Hampshire

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Posted by John Kartch on Monday, July 6th, 2020, 12:02 PM PERMALINK

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

88,860 New Hampshire households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

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

481,950 New Hampshire households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the standard deduction. Thanks to the tax cuts, nine out of ten households take the standard deduction which provides tax relief and simplifies the tax filing process.

23,610 New Hampshire households are benefiting from the TCJA’s elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate tax. Most households hit with this tax made less than $50,000 per year.

Lower utility bills: As a direct result of the TCJA’s corporate tax rate cut, New Hampshire residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. New Hampshire utilities that have passed along tax savings include -- but are not limited to -- Granite State Electric (Liberty Utilities) and The United Illuminating Company (see below).

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

Connection (Merrimack, New Hampshire) -- $1,000 bonuses:

Connection (PC Connection, Inc.; NASDAQ: CNXN), a leading technology solutions provider to business, government, and education markets, today announced that it will pay a $1,000 cash bonus to each employee in consideration of their efforts for the year ended December 31, 2017.

"We are pleased to be able to provide this special reward to our valued employees for their hard work and commitment to excellence," said Timothy McGrath, CEO and President.

The Company is still evaluating all the provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted on December 22, 2017, which effected numerous changes in existing tax law, including a permanent reduction in the federal corporate income tax rate. The rate reduction takes effect on January 1, 2018, and the Company currently anticipates that the net impact on its tax provision and cash taxes paid will be beneficial. -- Feb. 7, 2018 Connection press release

Franklin Savings Bank -- branch locations in Concord, Bristol, Franklin, Gilford, Merrimack, and Tilton – $1,000 bonuses:

Franklin Savings Bank announced today that it will use a portion of its tax savings to provide employees with a special bonus in recognition of their contribution to the continued success of the bank. FSB will benefit from the reduction in corporate tax rates, and has chosen to share the savings with its employees. All employees will receive a $1,000 bonus.

“Our employees consistently go ‘above and beyond’ for our customers and the communities we serve,” said Ron Magoon, President & CEO. “This bonus is another opportunity to thank them for their outstanding commitment, dedication and service.” – Feb. 26 2018, Franklin Savings Bank press release excerpt

Portsmouth Brewery (Portsmouth, New Hampshire)  – The founder of the brewery said that the tax cut allowed the company to hire more employees and invest in new equipment:

"For a small brewery like us, we make about 1,000 barrels a year,” said Peter Egelston, founder of Portsmouth Brewery. “So saving $3.50 per barrel, you can do the math, that's about $3,500 in savings. That may not sound like a lot of money, but it is."

The tax cut was set to expire at the end of 2019, but with support from Congress, Trump signed a one-year extension. 

"That's money going back into small businesses, and it's being used to invest in equipment,” said Egelston. “It's being used to hire more people. It's being used in a lot of different ways. That’s a choice each individual business can make. When they get a windfall like a reduced tax rate, they can either keep that money in the business or they can pass it along to the consumer in the form of lower prices."  – Jan. 1, 2020, WMUR article.

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

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

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

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

Pentucket Bank -- branch locations in Hampstead and Salem -- $500 bonuses, increased wages, and increased educational opportunties.

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

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 171 New Hampshire employeesNationwide, $1 billion increase in capital expenditures:

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

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

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

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

T.J. Maxx16 stores in New Hampshire – 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

Best Buy -- Nine store locations in New Hampshire -- $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees. Over 100,000 employees will receive bonuses:

Best Buy is the latest major corporation to hand out bonuses to its employees as a result of the recently passed corporate tax reform.

In a letter sent to employees Friday afternoon, CEO Hubert Joly said full-time employees will receive a one-time bonus of $1,000 and part-time employees $500.

All permanent employees who are not on an existing bonus plan will receive the additional funds. The bonuses are expected to show up in their paychecks this month.

In all, more than 100,000 of Best Buy’s 125,000 employees in the U.S., Mexico and Canada are slated to receive the extra payouts.

In addition, Best Buy is making a one-time contribution of $20 million to the Best Buy Foundation to help further expand its teen tech centers and Geek Squad Academies across the U.S.

“Our goal was simple: to say ‘thank you’ to more than 100,000 of our employees and help accelerate our work to bring much needed technology training to 1 million underserved teens a year,” said Jeff Shelman, a Best Buy spokesman.Feb. 2 2018, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Granite State Electric (Liberty Utilities) (Salem, New Hampshire) – The utility will pass along tax cuts savings to customers:

In this order, the Commission approves a distribution revenue decrease for Liberty Utilities, passing on to ratepayers the benefits of reduced corporate taxes resulting from recent changes to state and federal tax laws. This order also approves Liberty’s proposal to forego other distribution rate increases that were scheduled to take effect June 1, 2018, as a way to pass additional benefits of corporate tax reductions on to customers. – http://www.puc.state.nh.us/Regulatory/Orders/2018orders/26139e.pdf

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

Home Depot -- 20 locations in New Hampshire, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's --1,000 employees at 13 stores in New Hampshire; Employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service, for 260,000 employees; expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance.

Ryder (Three locations in New Hampshire) – Tax reform bonuses.

CarMax (Location in Manchester, New Hampshire) – $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

Walmart - New Hampshire employees at 27 Walmart stores received tax reform bonuses, wage increases, and expanded maternity and parental leave. Walmart employees who adopt children will be given $5,000 to help cover expenses.

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

FedEx (Multiple locations in New Hampshire) – 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

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

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

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

Note: If you know of other New Hampshire 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


New Jersey Congressional Candidates Make Bold “No New Taxes” Pledge Ahead of Tomorrow’s Primary

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Posted by Gerald Sharpe on Monday, July 6th, 2020, 11:48 AM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform applauds the federal incumbents and candidates in New Jersey who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge ahead of tomorrow’s congressional primary. The Pledge is a written commitment to the American people to oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes. 

“By signing The Pledge, these candidates and incumbents demonstrate that they will safeguard taxpayers from higher taxes,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform. “Pledge signers understand that government should be reformed so that it spends less and will oppose tax increases that prolong the failures of the past.” 

There are currently 172 Pledge signers in the U.S. House and 48 Pledge signers in the U.S. Senate. Eighty-nine percent of all congressional Republicans have made the written commitment to oppose higher taxes. In contrast, zero congressional Democrats have made that promise. 

Candidates running for public office like to say they will not raise taxes, but often turn their backs on the taxpayer once elected. The idea of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is simple enough: Make them put their no-new-taxes rhetoric in writing, so the promise is harder to break.  

New candidates sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge regularly. For the most up-to-date information on these races or any other, please visit the ATR Pledge Database.  

Candidates can still make this important commitment to voters ahead of the primary by visiting: www.atr.org/take-the-pledge 

The following candidates and incumbents have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge: 

New Jersey  

  • Tricia Flanagan (SEN) 
  • Seth Grossman (NJ-02) 
  • David Richter (NJ-03) 
  • Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) 
  • Mike Ghassali (NJ-05) 
  • Thomas Kean (NJ-07) 
  • Rosemary Becchi (NJ-11)  

More from Americans for Tax Reform


How the Trump Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping North Carolina

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Posted by John Kartch on Monday, July 6th, 2020, 11:20 AM PERMALINK

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

704,160 North Carolina households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

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

3,241,150 North Carolina households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the standard deduction. Thanks to the tax cuts, nine out of ten households take the standard deduction which provides tax relief and simplifies the tax filing process.

141,730 North Carolina households are benefiting from the TCJA’s elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate tax. Most households hit with this tax made less than $50,000 per year.

Lower utility bills: As a direct result of the TCJA’s corporate tax rate cut, North Carolina residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress (see below) passed along savings from the new federal tax law to its North Carolina customers, lowering bills in the near term and helping offset increases in the future.

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

C.R. Onsrud (Troutman, North Carolina) -- The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has allowed the company to hire 40 new employees and invest over $8 million in plant upgrades and new equipment.

“At C.R. Onsrud, we appreciate Rep. Budd’s commitment to pro-growth policies and regulatory reform, said Tom Onsrud, president and CEO of C.R. Onsrud. His vote for the tax legislation was a clear message that he stands with manufacturers and manufacturing workers across America. As a direct result of the tax legislation, C.R. Onsrud has hired an additional 40 employees and, due to the immediate capital expensing provision of the law, has invested over $8 million in plant upgrades and equipment necessary to grow our business. Because of Rep. Budd’s leadership in Washington, manufacturing in North Carolina will only continue to flourish.” -- August 30, 2018 NAM Shopfloor Blog

Power Curbers, Inc. (Salisbury, North Carolina) -- Added new jobs, added bonuses for workers, and is investing more in research and development because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. 

“All of us at Power Curbers Companies are pleased with Rep. Budd’s vote to enact the new tax law, said Dyke Messinger, President of Power Curbers, Inc. Our employment has grown since the law was enacted; we paid a bonus for 2017 and will pay another bonus for the first six months of 2018. In addition, we are investing heavily in R&D, which will continue to strengthen the company for the long term.” -- July 2, 2018 NAM Shopfloor Blog

Ghostface Brewing (Mooresville, North Carolina) – Hiring new employees, purchasing more equipment, and increasing distribution:

Mike Cuddy, owner of Ghostface Brewing in Mooresville, N.C., said his company also used the tax break to buy more equipment, hire more people and focus on distribution to local grocery stores and restaurants. – April 26, 2018, MarketWatch article excerpt

The Raleigh Rum Company (Raleigh, North Carolina) – The rum company was able to reinvest in the business because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

The Raleigh Rum Company got its start back in 2014. 

“The Raleigh Rum Company was actually started by three of us. We’re actually friends from high school. We went to Apex High in the area and we actually were just really inspired by the awesome craft beer that was in the area,” Matt Grossman, Co-Founder said.

Both local businesses helped by the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act that Congress passed back in 2017.

It lowered the federal excise tax from $13.50 per proof gallon to $2.70. Per bottle, the tax went down from $2.14 to 43 cents. 

“That was a big impact for us. We were able to kinda reinvest into our business. Operate our equipment a little bit. We were definitely planning on making some hires here pretty soon,” Grossman said. – Dec. 17, 2019, CBS 17 article.

Atlantic Packaging (Wilmington, North Carolina) -- $1,000 bonuses for 1,000 employees:

Atlantic Packaging, one of North Carolina's largest privately held companies, headquartered in Wilmington, announced today that management is awarding $1,000 bonuses immediately to full-time employees. Nearly 1,000 Atlantic employees will receive the bonus payment…

--

"Our people are what make this organization successful and, though the tax benefit will not come until the end of 2018, we are distributing the bonus dollars now to acknowledge its impact," he said. "The new tax code helps U.S. companies remain healthy and competitive in a global marketplace, and that directly and positively affects the people who work at these companies." -- Jan. 23 2018, Atlantic Packaging press release excerpts

Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company (Charlotte, North Carolina) -- $1,000 bonuses for all 1,400 employees:

Charlotte Pipe and Foundry joined the growing list of companies to deliver pay bonuses to their employees after the Republican-led tax cut dropped corporate and individual income taxes for most Americans.  Charlotte Pipe will give all associates $1,000 each on March 15.

“We are excited to share the benefits of our associates’ diligent efforts, loyalty, and dedication to Charlotte Pipe, and the benefits that will accrue from The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” said Roddy Dowd, Jr., CEO of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry. The company is based in Charlotte with seven plants across the U.S. making cast iron and plastic pipe fittings. The majority of their 1,400 employees are in North Carolina. – Jan. 17, 2018 North State Journal article excerpt

The Hammock Source (Greenville, North Carolina) -- all 150 employees received a tax reform bonus of up to $1,000 depending on length of service:

"We at The Hammock Source want to continue to invest in the people that have made our business successful.  President Trump’s tax cuts will provide the funds to make this desire a reality.  We hope that other business will follow our lead and give back to their employees as well.

Perkins shared that each of The Hammock Source’s employees, including new hires and part time employees, will receive a bonus based on their length of service to the company. The company employs approximately 150 people with over ten percent having twenty or more years tenure with the Perkins Family’s Business." - Jan. 25 2018, Casual Living article excerpt

D3 Development (Durham, North Carolina) -- The company is transforming a textile mill into an apartment complex with multiple restaurants in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Work is underway on a development to transform a desolate, decrepit former textile mill into a residential showplace and turn a sleepy small town into a popular destination.

Mike Hill, CEO of D3 Development, told Triad Business Journal that the tricky financing process was finalized last month. Crews are busy in the early stages of creating 176 apartments and two restaurant spaces at Granite Mill, 122 E. Main St. in Haw River.

Hill said D3 closed on financing March 7. General contractor C.T. Wilson of Durham estimated the cost of producing the apartments and a "cold, dark shell" for the future restaurants at $29 million. D3 estimates a $38.9 million total cost for the 296,811-square foot project on 12.4 acres on the banks of the Haw River.

"We're off and running on this project," Hill said. "A lot is happening already."

D3 is best known as the developer of the highly acclaimed American Tobacco mixed-use project in Durham, a $200 million-plus rehabilitation of a Lucky Strike cigarette factory into 850,000 square feet of offices, housing units, restaurants and recreational facilities.

Asbestos cleanup at Granite Mill started late in 2018. Tasks underway now involve grading, roofing, plumbing and window restoration. The facility, used to produce corduroy by Cone Mills, includes nine brick buildings and two others with metal skins, varying from two to six stories with an assortment of sizes and styles of brick and windows.

With several high-profile projects under his belt, including the $48.5 million Durham Performing Arts Center and the $18.5 million Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Hill said he opted against a formal groundbreaking, waiting instead for a ribbon cutting when the project is completed.

Following an "aggressive" schedule, Hill said the plan is for the apartments to be ready for occupancy before the end of 2019.

"Everybody has bought into that objective," he said, adding that D3's Lofts at the White Furniture renovation in Mebane followed a similar timeline.

Trivest McNeil Real Estate, which manages the White Furniture property, will also be the manager at Granite Mill.

Hill and his partners are investors in the project. The state also awarded a $5 million grant to the town of Haw River, which is making a $4.875 million loan to the project and spending $125,000 for parking improvements and a public river walk on the east bank of the river.

Hill said other financing will come from a U.S. Housing and Urban Development construction and permanent loan; federal historic tax credits; state of North Carolina mill credits; and a tax credit bridge loan. The project is also eligible for federal Opportunity Zone tax benefits.

Hill said much of his upcoming focus will be on finding tenants for the 15,000 square feet of restaurant space along East Main Street.

"The restaurants are important," Hill said, acknowledging the need for attractions for residents and foundations to spur further development in the area. "I have to get going on it." -- April 18, 2019 Triad Business Journal article

Grubb Properties (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) -- The company is renovating an office building located within an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

With plans to take advantage of a new federal tax program, Charlotte-based Grubb Properties has acquired one of the largest office buildings on Chapel Hill's Franklin Street and is eyeing a major renovation for the aging office tower.

Grubb bought the 137 E. Franklin St. building and its corresponding parking deck on Rosemary Street for $23.5 million earlier this month, according to county records. The building, which dates back to the 1970s, last sold in 2014 for around $26 million, according to records.

It marks the second major investment the Charlotte-based developer has made in Chapel Hill recently. On the other side of town, the company is currently building a new office building at the Glen Lennox apartments, a housing community that the company has owned for several decades.

Clark Spencer, a senior vice president for investments at Grubb, said the company was attracted to the building because of its location within a federally-designated "opportunity zone" that stretches from East Franklin Street to Estes Drive.

Grubb is currently in the process of raising $200 million for investments in opportunity zones and has plans for an investment in downtown Winston-Salem already.

Opportunity zones are a new feature in the country's tax code that allows developers to earn savings on capital gains by investing in economically disadvantaged areas. Most people aren't likely to think of Franklin Street as a disadvantaged area -- though the census tract is home to a lot of students, many of which are renters and don't have full-time jobs.

"It is a bit of a head-scratcher why it is an opportunity zone," Spencer admitted in a phone interview, though he noted that the building likely wouldn't be getting a much-needed renovation without it.

The designation was created during the Republican tax overhaul in 2017 and it created nearly 9,000 zones across the country. Investors stand to get deferrals on capital-gains taxes and other taxes if they hold investments in opportunity zones for at least 10 years.

Dwight Bassett, the economic developer for Chapel Hill, said earlier this year that Chapel Hill had two eligible tracts for the program, the other being near Merritt Mill Road, as designated by the Treasury Department. Ultimately, the town decided to submit the East Franklin tract for consideration.

The Treasury Department's designation for the East Franklin tract was likely due to the large number of student rentals in the area, Bassett noted.

"We had a lot of concern from residents (near Merritt Mill) because of the designation of this opportunity zone, but it really is designated for commercial investment" and not for residential investment, Bassett said in March.

Bassett added that so far there hasn't been any other interest in investing in the zone.

Over the next two years, Grubb plans to pour tens of millions of dollars into renovating the building, completely re-doing most of the glass facade on the backside of the building and updating the office layouts within it to a more modern configuration.

The building's facade on the Franklin Street side was re-done in recent years, but the occupancy rate for the 120,000-square-foot building declined to around 35%, a dismal number for the middle of downtown Chapel Hill.

The previous owners "set a lot of expectation and re-did the facade but didn't re-do the upstairs or the corridor," Bassett said in a phone interview on Friday. "Potential tenants couldn't catch the vision of where it was going. ... We think now that (Grubb) will re-invest in the building and it becomes basically a new product, it will be easier for the market to get into."

Spencer said the large vacancy rate there is actually good for renovating the building since they won't have to do construction around a lot of tenants. The CVS pharmacy located at the bottom of the store won't close during the renovation, he said, and they are beginning discussions with some of the other tenants about what is best for them during construction.

"We are working on various avenues of leasing (the building) back up and talking to a number of organizations," Spencer said. "We are looking at certainly some new corporate tenants. And we would love to get a co-working tenant in there. That could be really beneficial for the town and the university."

Matt Gladdek, the executive director of the Downtown Chapel Hill Partnership, said more updated office and co-working space is sorely needed in downtown Chapel Hill, especially for young startups and companies that spin out of the university's research arms.

"What this really represents is an opportunity for new partnerships in that building and for businesses that need access to the university for research and innovation," Gladdek said in a phone interview.

It could also be a boon for many local businesses on Franklin Street that have to navigate the summer months when there are fewer students in town to shop and eat.

"Creating a secondary use outside of the university that is constant is going to be really important so that our businesses can deal with the boom-bust cycle."

Spencer said the renovation will likely take two years to complete.

"We have got a lot of work ahead of us," he said. "I think it is really going to change the aesthetic of the building to be more contemporary because it does have a little of a tired look to it." -- April 26, 2019 News & Observer article

Holliday Fenoglio Fowler (Charlotte, North Carolina) -- The company announced a mixed-use building in Charlotte that will be located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. (HFF) announces that it has arranged $22.639 million in financing for General Assembly, a 124,000-square-foot, mixed-use, adaptive-reuse project in Charlotte, North Carolina.

HFF worked on behalf of the borrower, Artesia Real Estate, to secure the five-year, floating-rate bridge loan through Ready Capital National Bridge Team. Loan proceeds are being used to refinance the acquisition loan and provide capital for property improvements.

General Assembly is a redevelopment of the longtime home of the City North Business Center, which was originally built in the 1930's. Due for completion in fourth quarter of 2020, the project will utilize state-of-the-art new construction alongside vintage architecture and will encompass 100,000 square feet of Class A, collaborative creative office space and 24,000 square feet of retail and brewery space. General Assembly is located on 8.1 acres along North Tryon in the heart of the rapidly growing NoDa/North End submarket and Applied Innovation Corridor of Charlotte, which has been established as an Opportunity Zone and Catalyst site. The property benefits from its proximity to Uptown Charlotte, multiple breweries and restaurants, the Blue Line extension and adaptive re-use projects such as Camp North End. In addition, the mixed-use project is just one mile from Interstate 277, which connects to Interstate 77, the major corridor bisecting Charlotte. -- May 30, 2019 press release

URS Capital Partners (Charlotte, North Carolina) -- The company is building an apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

URS has been active in the last year or so. The company sold three apartment communities in Georgia and one in Cincinnati for a combined $67.8 million. The first building in its 256-unit Latitude South Portland rental complex in Portland, Maine is slated to open in September. URS bought the 7.19-acre site, located in an Opportunity Zone, for $8 million and began construction on the $45 million project last spring. -- May 1, 2020 Long Island Business News article

TradeMark Properties (Raleigh, North Carolina) -- The company is building a soccer stadium in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Raleigh developer John Kane, who spearheaded the resurrection of North Hills and the Warehouse District, teamed with local soccer leader Steve Malik and TradeMark Properties owner Billie Redmond Monday evening to unveil his next target: what the group is calling "Downtown South" in a project even bigger in scope than originally anticipated.

Kane, Redmond and Malik will be at a news conference Tuesday morning at The Dillon, debuting plans for a 20,000-seat soccer stadium that would serve as the hub for a sprawling district that would include hotels and residential and retail units.


...

The site is in an Opportunity Zone, a big incentive for investors. The Opportunity Zones were created with the tax changes in 2017 and give investors significant tax breaks for investing in areas that have been traditionally underserved. -- June 25, 2019 Triangle Business Journal article

Stratifyd (Charlotte, North Carolina) -- The data analytics firm will be moving to a different part of town which is located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Charlotte-based data analytics firm Stratifyd said Thursday morning it will add 200 jobs here as part of a $3.25 million local investment and move to west Charlotte.

The company, which today employs about 100, will move its headquarters from The Foundry building in uptown to 2101 Thrift Road, part of the former Baker-Mitchell Co. property west of uptown Charlotte. Stratifyd CEO Derek Wang, a former UNC Charlotte professor, said the new jobs will primarily be in tech, including engineering positions and marketing services

....

The area west of Charlotte — which has been called a range of names, including FreeMoreWest and the Freight District — has seen a recent surge of commercial real estate activity. Another Charlotte-headquartered company, Wray Ward, is moving its 100-plus employees into 38,000 square feet at 2317 Thrift Road. Local coworking group Hygge Coworking Co. has a 20,000-square-foot office on Jay Street. And a number of breweries, restaurants and other retail outlets are also moving in, including two concepts by restaurateur Jim Noble, breweries and a "seltzery."

Thrift Road, like much of west Charlotte, is part of an opportunity zone, a federal tax incentive for real estate or business investment in low-income census tracts certified by the U.S. government. -- October 31, 2019 Charlotte Business Journal article

Tis The Season (West Jefferson, North Carolina) – $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees:

Luther Pitts, owner of Tis The Season, gave his full time employees a big bonus for the holiday season.

Pitts, a resident of Jefferson, gave his two full-time employees $1,000 bonuses in addition to their Christmas bonuses due to the recent tax cuts passed by the United States Congress.

“I like what the president is doing and I’ve done well for myself. Everything I do here is to try and help the county,” Pitts said. “I was trying to inspire other business owners to do something nice for their employees. It may not be $1,000, but something to help the people because the county needs it.”

Pitts said the passage of the tax cuts made his bonuses possible. – Jan. 3, 2018 Ashe Post and Times article excerpt

Southern Elevator Co. (Greensboro, North Carolina) -- Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the company was able to expand their capital and purchase new equipment.

“All of us at Southern Elevator are grateful for Rep. Budd’s commitment to economic growth and his vote to enact the new tax law, said Rodney Pitts, Chairman and CEO of Southern Elevator Company. The immediate capital expensing provision of the tax law has made a significant difference in Southern Elevator’s ability to grow and purchase equipment, and we consistently hear the same from our manufacturing clients. Because of Rep. Budd’s leadership in Congress, manufacturing in North Carolina will only continue to flourish.” -- August 24, 2018 NAM Shopfloor Blog

Reynolds American, Inc. (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) -- $1,000 bonuses for 4,500 employees:

Reynolds American Inc. said Wednesday that most of its 5,500 employees will benefit from a one-time $1,000 bonus related to the federal corporate tax rate cut.

--

Reynolds spokesman David Howard said the bonus will be paid to “all regular, full-time hourly and salaried employees of RAI and its subsidiaries, up to and including the level of senior manager.”

This amounts to 4,500 employees. He said the bonus would be paid Friday.

Reynolds has, at last count, between 2,000 to 2,200 employees in Forsyth County, the majority of whom work at the Tobaccoville plant.

“RAI and its operating companies applaud Congress and the president for bringing corporate income tax reform to a reality, and are using this opportunity to show appreciation to their hard-working employees,” Howard said.

BAT also said Feb. 27 that it would dedicate much of the financial benefit from the tax-rate cut to assist in accelerating the pace of making and distributing innovative products, primarily heat-not-burn traditional cigarettes and electronic cigarettes.

Nicandro Durante, chief executive of BAT, said tax-rate cut savings will help BAT pay for “a huge investment to allow us to roll out to at least 40 markets tobacco for heated products, and several others for vaping, in 2018.”

Currently, BAT’s heat-not-burn cigarette named glo is in five international markets — Canada, Japan, Russia, South Korea and Switzerland.

Durante has said BAT’s preference is to make products in or near the markets in which they are sold.

That could lead to a significant boost to the Tobaccoville plant workforce if BAT can gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to bring in some additional traditional cigarettes and innovative products, such as glo. -- March 7, 2018 Winston-Salem Journal article excerpt

BB&T (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) – $1,200 bonuses for 27,000 employees; base wage will rise from $12 to $15 per hour; $100 million in charitable donations

“Overall, BB&T's Executive Management team believes the successful passage of tax reform is very encouraging news that should move BB&T, the financial services industry and the U.S. economy in the direction of stronger growth.” – BB&T press release

Benchmark Auto Sales (Asheville, North Carolina) – thanks to tax reform, 100 percent of the staff now has employer-provided health insurance:

A weight many Americans shoulder everyday is now gone for the people who work in gravel lot filled with cars along Brevard Road near the Blue Ridge Parkway.

We're talking health care.

We had 80 percent of our staff was not insured. We have 100 percent insured now. That's a big feat," Benchmark Auto Sales owner Joe Segrave said.

It was Segrave's decision, but he said it would not have happened without the tax bill that finally passed on Capitol Hill.

"I think all of us share a certain level of disgust with what's going on with politics in our nation, and, really, I like to keep this as an apolitical decision," Segrave said. "The bottom line is I had a chance to pay it forward to my employees." – WLOS ABC News 13 report

Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. (Thomasville, North Carolina) – $500 bonuses for all 22,000 employees:

“I am excited to share a bit of good holiday cheer with you today. The President has signed a historic tax reform bill that should reduce OD’s taxes and also generate growth for the U.S. economy. We expect that the anticipated improvement in the economy will create additional opportunities for use to WIN market share and grow our Company more than originally anticipated. As we have said many times before,  however, our ability to successfully grow the Company is centered on each member of  the OD Family performing at his or her very best to deliver SUPERIOR SERVICE to our customers!

 As a way of saying THANK YOU for continuing to deliver best-in-class service, and to    share part of our anticipated 2017 tax savings with you, a one-time bonus payment for      non-executives will be included in your paycheck this week.” – Old Dominion CEO David Congdon

Bank of America (Charlotte, North Carolina) -- $1,000 bonuses:

“Beginning in 2018, we will see benefits from the tax reform, too, in the form of lower corporate tax rates.

In the spirit of shared success, we intend to pass some of those benefits along immediately. U.S. employees making up to $150,000 per year in total compensation – about 145,000 teammates – will receive a one-time bonus of $1,000 by year-end.” – CEO Brian Moynihan

Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress (Charlotte, North Carolina) – The utilities will pass along tax savings to customers:

Duke Energy today outlined its proposal to pass along savings from the new federal tax law to its North Carolina customers in ways that will lower bills in the near term and help offset increases in the future.

Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC) and Duke Energy Progress (DEP) offered the proposal in a filing with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) today. Duke Energy has maintained customers' rates significantly below the national average for many decades while providing safe, reliable and increasingly clean energy for North Carolinians.

"This is a unique opportunity that allows us to reduce customer bills in the short term while also helping to offset future rate increases," said David Fountain, Duke Energy's North Carolina president. "With a balanced approach, our customers can benefit from a reduction in the corporate income tax rate, while we continue to make smart investments on behalf of our customers." – Feb. 1, 2018 Duke Energy press release

IAT Insurance Group (Raleigh, North Carolina) -- $3,000 bonuses for 685 non-executive employees:

 IAT Insurance Group ownership and management announced today the company will pay

a $3,000 bonus to all non-executive employees on January 15, 2018.  The additional bonus comes in response to the newly passed tax reform bill – the tax savings will be shared with approximately 700 employees. IAT Insurance Group is a privately held company owned by the Kellogg family. – Dec. 21 2017, IAT Insurance Group press release

Aquesta Financial Holdings (Cornelius, North Carolina) -- $1,000 bonuses to 95 employees; base wage hike to $15 per hour

"We are very happy to share with our valuable team members some portion of the benefits Aquesta will realize by the enactment of Tax Reform. Decreased tax rates will allow Aquesta Bank to continue to grow by accelerating lending to small businesses and hiring additional team members to help with that growth.  While almost all of our employees will also pay lower taxes in 2018 due to this new law, we felt that immediate recognition of their importance to Aquesta would send the right message: our people are what makes Aquesta different." Dec. 21 2017, Aquesta Financial Holdings press release

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Durham, North Carolina) – $1,000 bonuses to approximately 4,700 employees; $40 million in charitable contributions:

North Carolina's largest health insurer said Thursday its windfall from the new federal tax cut will hold down rate increases in the future, but this year it will use it to give charities $40 million and pay employees a $1,000 bonus.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina said it will give away millions this year for health initiatives and give bonuses to about 4,700 employees.”  — Feb. 22 2018, Winston-Salem Journal article excerpt  

RDR Inc. (branch office in Southern Pines, North Carolina) – bonuses of up to $1,000 for all 125 employees:

RDR, Inc. A professional services firm headquartered in Centreville, Virginia with a Branch office in Southern Pines, North Carolina and individual employees nationwide is announcing that it will be paying bonuses to each of its 125 employees as a result of anticipated 2018 tax savings from the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs act of 2017.

It has been said that all U.S. workers would see financial benefits in February from the tax cuts that passed in December and we are determined to make this true for all our employees right now! – Jan. 19 2018,  RDR, Inc. press release excerpts

Ally Financial Inc. (Charlotte, North Carolina) -- $1,000 bonuses:

The company plans to use some of the tax savings to pay a $1,000 bonus to its employees, and to increase its charitable contributions by around $6 million. – Jan. 30, 2018 American Banker article excerpt

Apple (There are five Apple stores in NC: Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham, Charlotte Northlake Mall, Charlotte SouthPark) -- $2,500 employee bonuses in the form of restricted stock units; Nationwide, $30 billion in additional capital expenditures over five years; 20,000 new employees will be hired; increased support of coding education and science, technology, engineering, arts, and math; increased support for U.S. manufacturing.

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses for 6,179 North Carolina 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

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

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

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

Fifth Third Bancorp (55 locations in North Carolina) – $1,000 bonuses; base wage will rise to $15.

Home Depot -- 40 locations in North Carolina, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000

Ketchie (Concord, North Carolina) -- $500,000 capital investment in equipment:

“Because of this huge demand, Ketchie was able to make a number of capital investments,” Silver said. 

Silver said the company had it’s best year in history, with sales increasing by 25% year after year. -- June 19, 2019 National Association of Manufacturers Shop Floor Blog

Lowe's -- In NC alone, 24,000 employees at 112 stores and seven distribution centers -- 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.

Lowe’s will follow rival Home Depot in giving thousands of its hourly employees a one-time bonus of up to $1,000 due to new tax legislation, according to an internal company memo reviewed by CNBC on Wednesday.

The bonuses will be based on an employee's length of service with Lowe's, and more than 260,000 part- and full-time individuals are set to receive the payouts, the company said. Lowe's declined to comment on how the bonuses would be broken out based on tenure.

Effective May 1, Lowe's will also be expanding its benefits package for full-time workers to include paid maternity leave for 10 weeks, paid parental leave for two weeks, adoption assistance of up to $5,000, and faster eligibility for health benefits, the memo said.

"We'll continue to make investments to improve the employee and customer experience," Lowe's wrote to its workers.

The company said it will provide more details on those investments in the coming weeks. Lowe's is set to report fourth-quarter earnings Feb. 28
. – Jan. 31, 2018 CNBC article excerpt

Ryder (Twenty-two locations in North Carolina) – Tax reform bonuses.

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

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

Wal-Mart – 194 locations in North CarolinaWalmart employees are receiving tax reform bonuses of up to $1,000; Nationally, base wage increase for all hourly employees to $11; expanded maternity and parental leave; $5,000 for adoption expenses.

Wells Fargo – 293 locations in North Carolina; raised base wage from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour; nationally, $400 million in charitable donations for 2018; $100 million increased capital investment over next three years.

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

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

 

 

More from Americans for Tax Reform


How the Trump Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Washington State

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Posted by John Kartch on Monday, July 6th, 2020, 10:45 AM PERMALINK

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

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

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

1,321,260 Washington households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the standard deduction. Thanks to the tax cuts, nine out of ten households take the standard deduction which provides tax relief and simplifies the tax filing process.

110,400 Washington households are benefiting from the TCJA’s elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate tax. Most households hit with this tax made less than $50,000 per year.

Lower utility bills: As a direct result of the TCJA’s corporate tax rate cut, Washington residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, Avista Corporation and Puget Sound Energy Inc. (see below) both passed their tax savings on to their customers. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

APPS Portamedic (Bellevue, Washington) – employee bonuses:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Avista Corporation (Spokane, Washington) – the utility will pass federal tax reform savings to customers:

“Avista customers could collectively see a $50 million to $60 million annual benefit from federal tax reform, utility officials said Wednesday.- Feb. 21, 2018 The Spokesman Review article excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

Enter opportunity zone (OZ) financing.

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

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

 

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

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

...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Puget Sound Energy Inc. (Bellevue, Washington) – The utility will pass along tax cut savings to customers:

Washington state utility regulators approved electric rate reductions for Puget Sound Energy Inc. totaling $108.5 million for 2018, with two-thirds of that amount reflecting cuts to the company's federal corporate income tax rate.

The federal tax overhaul of 2017 lowered the utility's corporate income tax return from 35% to 21%, and the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission determined that the financial benefit should be passed on to the company's customers. Those customers will continue to see the benefits of the tax rate reduction in the years ahead as well because the regulators also agreed to cut Puget Sound Energy's, or PSE's, annual base electric rates by $72.9 million. – May 7, 2018, SNL Electric Utility Report

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses for 3,890 Washington employees. Nationwide, $1 billion increase in capital expenditures:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Associates

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

Communities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McDonald’s (320+ locations in Washington) – Increased tuition investments which will provide educational program access for 400,000 U.S. employees. $2,500 per year (up from $700) for crew working 15 hours a week, $3,000 (up from $1,050) for managers, and more:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wells Fargo (135 locations in Washington) Raised base wage from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour; $400 million in charitable donations for 2018; $100 million increased capital investment over the next three years.

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

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

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ATR & SAF Supports Second Term for SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce

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Posted by James Setterlund on Monday, July 6th, 2020, 9:47 AM PERMALINK

Shareholder Advocacy Forum Executive Director James Setterlund and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist sent a letter to the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) expressing support for the re-appointment of Securities and Exchange Commissioner Hester Peirce to serve a second-term at the Commission.

President Trump nominated Peirce for her second term as a Commissioner of the SEC in early June. Her current term was set to expire on June 5, but the nomination has added 18 months for the Senate to review and vote to confirm. Commissioner Peirce could serve for at least five more years at the SEC depending on her confirmation before the full Senate. 

Commissioner Peirce has a proven track record as one of the most forward thinking and pro-modernization Commissioners the last decade. Her policies represent a commitment to the SECs core tenants of investor protection, facilitating capital formation, and maintaining efficient markets, without burdening the market with expensive and unfair regulations. Commissioner Peirce has encouraged market functionality without transforming the SEC into a government regulator that stifles innovation before new financial products are created.

Commissioner Peirce is known for her willingness to openly engage in dialogue with the investing public. Whether it be about tailoring crypto currency regulations to better serve the market, or supporting capital formation in the private market – Commissioner Peirce cares about feedback from all market participants regardless of the size of their investments in the market. She raises questions that probe investors and issuers, while encouraging forward-thinking comments.

President Trump has recognized the impact of Commissioner Peirce’s contribution to the SEC and the market. Peirce was quoted in February “I certainly do not feel done with that I want to do at the SEC.” Commissioner Peirce is an invaluable asset to the SEC and the investing public.

A full copy of the letter can be found here.

Photo Credit: Fortune Brainstorm TECH


SCOTUS Curbs Administrative Autonomy of CFPB

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Posted by James Setterlund on Monday, July 6th, 2020, 8:21 AM PERMALINK

On Monday June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s current structure is unconstitutional, slightly curbing the autonomy the agency has enjoyed since its inception. It’s creation under Title X  of the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB is led by a single director who – until the Supreme Court’s ruling – could not be removed from their five-year without cause for termination. The Court found this to be in violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers, and instead insisted the bureau head be removable at the discretion of the executive branch. 

Congress created the CFPB in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to police financial institutions for their alleged wrong-doing as it relates to consumer debt and financial products. By its organizational structure, the regulator was designed to be totally independent of the executive branch and oversight from Congress. The authors of Dodd-Frank, who followed the template of then-Harvard law professor, Elizabeth Warren, purposefully designed the Bureau to be shield from Congressional oversight. The Director of the Bureau serves a five-year-term and can only be fired for-cause, instead of at-will, which is why the leadership at most federal regulators turn over when a new administration enters the executive branch. Prior to the Court’s ruling, the Director of the CFPB could serve out their complete 5-year term regardless if a new administration entered office, and how President Obama’s appointee Richard Cordray was able to remain as Director for nearly a year into President Trump’s term and only left his position early to pursue an Ohio Governorship run in November 2017.

Chief Justice John Roberts led the court’s majority, stating plainly the single-administrator organization “clashes with constitutional structure by concentrating power in a unilateral actor insulated from Presidential control.” The Court’s decision requires the agency head to be removable at will, and not for-cause under Dodd-Frank’s requirement of “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office” alone. That is the only change that comes out of this decision.

Like with other financial regulatory agencies, the term length and other factors that give the Bureau independence were not struck down in the Court’s ruling. The Court cited the lack of a board or commission structure like that of the Securities and Exchange Commission or the Federal Reserve and the Bureau’s independence of its budget from the Congressional appropriation process as the main reasons the CFPB is too insulated from the arms of elected officials. This is a meaningful victory to for the Constitution and its separation of powers provision.

Photo Credit: John Brighenti


How the Trump Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping North Dakota

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Posted by John Kartch on Sunday, July 5th, 2020, 6:30 PM PERMALINK

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

58,670 North Dakota households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

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

291,060 North Dakota households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the standard deduction. Thanks to the tax cuts, nine out of ten households take the standard deduction which provides tax relief and simplifies the tax filing process.

11,970 North Dakota households are benefiting from the TCJA’s elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate tax. Most households hit with this tax made less than $50,000 per year.

Lower utility bills: As a direct result of the TCJA’s corporate tax rate cut, North Dakota residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, Xcel Energy North Dakota, Otter Tail Power Company, and Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (see below) all passed along tax reform savings to their customers. 

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

Baker Boy (Dickinson, North Dakota) – Expanding operations, developing new products, and hiring more employees:

Baker Boy, a North Dakota baked goods manufacturer, is producing a brand new donut thanks to the GOP tax cuts. They are also purchasing new equipment, expanding business operations, and hiring new employees.

Never before seen in North America, Magic Ring Donuts are jelly or creme-filled donuts that have a hole in the middle and are injected with filling in the donut ring. The donuts are manufactured with new technology that is only currently used overseas.– October 23, 2018 ATR Blog Post

True North Steel (locations in Fargo, West Fargo, and Mandan) - Hiring new employees:
 
TrueNorth Steel Employees flew to D.C. to discuss recent tax cut measures and its effects on their business.
 
TrueNorth's president says demand for steel, and more work hours is attributing to their growth.
 
Because of this business environment, TrueNorth is able to 'reinvest' in itself.
 
To do this, they are adding 50 new jobs across their 10 locations.
 
"We're a company that's been around since 1945, 73 years, and we plan on being around for another 73 years. So we do plan on growing and that's our intent to grow long term for this organization," said Dan Kadrmas, said TrueNorth Steel president. - April 28, 2018, WDAY ABC article excerpt
-- 
A steel company based here recently went to the White House to talk about how recent tax reforms influenced its decision to grow its workforce.
 
TrueNorth Steel, which has a corporate office in West Fargo in addition to a tank and structural steel plant at 4401 Main Ave. in Fargo and a drainage facility at 1522 40th St. N. in Fargo, announced earlier this week that six TrueNorth employees were among the business owners and representatives invited to participate in the April 12 event in the Rose Garden.
 
The manufacturer of structural steel, tanks and other products said it plans to grow its workforce about 10 percent "as a result of improvements to the U.S. business climate." A news release said that growth will result in about 50 new jobs across its 10 locations in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana and Wyoming.
 
"It was a special honor to represent our hard-working employees across the Midwest," CEO Ole Rommesmo said in a written statement. "The new tax laws are one reason we are creating new jobs throughout the region as well as expanding some of our facilities."
 
TrueNorth President Dan Kadrmas said tax cuts and other policy changes under the President Donald Trump administration are driving an increasing demand for steel products. - April 27, 2018, West Fargo Pioneer article
 

Xcel Energy North Dakota (North Dakota) - The utility will pass tax cut savings along to customers:

Xcel Energy will soon distribute nearly $10 million to all North Dakota electricity customers as a result of the federal tax cut. All Xcel Energy electricity customers in the state will receive a credit on their bills. The refund for a residential electricity customer will average about $46, but will vary based on each customer’s actual use.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission approved the refunds this week and customers should receive them as one-time bill credit beginning this spring. – February 8, 2019, Inforum article excerpt

Scheels -- Minot, Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks -- $1,000 and $500 bonuses; investment in new stores, increased charitable donations:

SCHEELS is about our PEOPLE and the communities in which we live and work. As we enter 2018, the new tax reform bill offers a huge opportunity for American business and notably our employee-owned company. This new bill allows SCHEELS to:

- Invest in new stores
- Create jobs in new and existing markets
- Increase our charitable impact in our communities
- $1,000 bonus for Scheels associates working >1000 hours
- $500 bonus for Scheels associates working 500 hours

It’s opportunities like this that give our employee-owned company the ability to create a vision for steady and healthy growth in our communities. – Dec. 28, 2017 Scheels statement

--

Right after the tax reform bill became law in December, leaders of Fargo-based Scheels All Sports decided employees would get some extra money, a company official said during Vice President Mike Pence's campaign-style rally here Tuesday, March 27.

"We knew we wanted to do something intentional right away," said Chief Financial Officer Michelle Killoran. "So we decided to give a tax-reform bonus to our associates."

After hearing from employees, it became clear many didn't know what tax reform was or that it had happened, she said. Company leadership responded by holding meetings to explain to employees the "positive impacts" of the reforms to them and their employer, she said. – March 27, 2018 Fargo Forum article excerpt

Gate City Bank -- headquarters in Fargo with branch locations in Minot, Mandan, Bismarck, Mohall, Carrington, Dickinson, Devils Lake, Jamestown, Williston, Hettinger, Park River, Mayville, Grand Forks, West Fargo, and Fargo -- $1,000 hand-delivered bonus checks to 538 non-management personnel; $500,000 higher charitable giving; $500,000 worth of free home appraisals.

“This new tax reduction enables us to make decisions that benefit our customers, communities and team members in a significant way which has been our culture for decades. Gate City Bank is making a commitment to reinvest an additional $1.6 million in 2018.”

“As a thank you for our employees' hard work and dedication, we will be providing our 538 employees with $1,000 each, giving back over $625,000. Every employee will be hand-delivered a check for a net amount of $1,000 on January 15th. Executive Leadership, Regional Leaders, Office Managers and Department Managers are not eligible. This is above and beyond general compensation.”

Otter Tail Power Company -- The utility is passing tax reform savings along to customers:

“Federal corporate incomes taxes are a cost of service to our customers,” Otter Tail said in its request. “The reduction of the federal corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent reduces Otter Tail’s cost of providing service.” -- Feb. 27, 2018 Bismarck Tribune article excerpt

Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (Bismarck, North Dakota) – The utility is passing tax reform savings along to customers:

Montana-Dakota Utilities filed proposed lower electric prices with the North Dakota Public Service Commission to account for the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The company has calculated a $7.2 million benefit to North Dakota electric customers.

On average, a residential customer will see their monthly bill lowered by $3.65. The lower prices will be effective upon PSC approval. Based on the date of PSC approval, customers also will receive a refund for the amount overpaid from January 1 to the date that new electric prices are set.

"Working through the financial impacts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a complex process. The result will be a reduction in the price customers pay for electricity in North Dakota,” said Nicole Kivisto, president and CEO of Montana-Dakota Utilities. – March 9, 2018 Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. Website

Dollar Tree -- Bismarck, Devils Lake, Fargo, Grand Forks, Jamestown, Minot, Wahpeton - Base wages increased by a total of $100 million nationwide, plus enhanced benefits including maternity leave and employee training.

U-Haul -- locations in Beach, Dickinson, Harwood, Mandan, Tioga, Beulah, Ellendale, Hazen, Minot, Valley City, Bismarck, Fargo, Jamestown, Mott, Wahpeton, Bottineau, Grafton, Kenmare, New Town, Watford City, Cavalier, Grand Forks, Killdeer, Oakes, West Fargo, Devils Lake, Harvey, Lisbon, Rolla, and Williston – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees. 

Bank of the West -- branch locations in Lidgerwood, Fargo, Wahpeton, Dickinson, and Beach – Base wage increased to $15 per hour:

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

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

Lowe's -- 300+ employees at three stores in North Dakota -- Employees received up to $1,000 bonuses based on length of service, plus expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave and $5,000 of adoption assistance.

Walmart - North Dakota employees at 14 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.

Best Buy -- stores in Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks and Minot -- $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees.

Cintas -- locations in Bismarck and West Fargo --  $1,000 bonuses for employees of at least a year $500 for employees of less than a year.

Taco John’s (25 locations in North Dakota): All full-time and part-time crew members received a $200 after-tax bonus:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starbucks Coffee Company (13 locations in North Dakota) – $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.

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses for 156 North Dakota 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

McDonald’s (25+ locations in North Dakota) – 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

FedEx (Multiple locations in North Dakota)– 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

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

Wells Fargo   19 locations in North Dakota -- Raised base wage from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour; $400 million in charitable donations for 2018; $100 million increased capital investment over the next three years.

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

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

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How the Trump Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Oregon

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Posted by John Kartch on Sunday, July 5th, 2020, 5:10 PM PERMALINK

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

271,710 Oregon households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

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

1,211,050 Oregon households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the standard deduction. Thanks to the tax cuts, nine out of ten households take the standard deduction which provides tax relief and simplifies the tax filing process.

70,010 Oregon households are benefiting from the TCJA’s elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate tax. Most households hit with this tax made less than $50,000 per year.

Lower utility bills: As a direct result of the TCJA’s corporate tax rate cut, Oregon residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, Pacific Power, Rocky Mountain Power, and Avista Corporation (see below) all passed their tax savings on to their customers. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vida (Portland, Oregon) -- The coworking startup is building their first location in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A coworking startup focused on women entrepreneurs is opening its first location, along Northeast Sandy Boulevard.

The space will open July 1 in the Jantzen Building, 401 N.E. 19th Ave., on the second floor.

Vida is a new entrant in the increasingly crowded coworking field dominated by WeWork, which is preparing for an initial public offering, and Portland-based CENTRL Office. Vida is seeking to set itself apart with a suite of services for working women, including on-site, drop-in child care and dedicated breastfeeding rooms.


...

Vida raised $101,000 in an initial round of fundraising, according to a news release. The company is located in an opportunity zone, and Marconi is planning to open an opportunity zonefund by Sept. 1, advised by Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt and Perkins & Co. -- June 21, 2019 Daily Journal Of Commerce article

Block 216 (Portland, Oregon) -- A company is building an apartment building in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Developers of a mammoth downtown tower are betting their ultra-high-end building will fetch condo prices and hotel room rates unprecedented in Portland.

Block 216, a proposed 35-story structure at Southwest Ninth Avenue and Alder Street, will cost about $600 million to build, making it one of the most expensive single-building projects in the city's history.

...

Developers say the new building will bring a new level of luxury to Portland. Ironically, investors in the project will benefit from hefty tax breaks under a federal Opportunity Zone program intended to stimulate investment in poor neighborhoods. -- August 10, 2019 The Oregonian article

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

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

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

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

Block 216 (Portland, Oregon) -- A company is building an apartment building in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Developers of a mammoth downtown tower are betting their ultra-high-end building will fetch condo prices and hotel room rates unprecedented in Portland.

Block 216, a proposed 35-story structure at Southwest Ninth Avenue and Alder Street, will cost about $600 million to build, making it one of the most expensive single-building projects in the city's history.

...

Developers say the new building will bring a new level of luxury to Portland. Ironically, investors in the project will benefit from hefty tax breaks under a federal Opportunity Zone program intended to stimulate investment in poor neighborhoods. -- August 10, 2019 The Oregonian article

Lora DiCarlo (Bend, Oregon) -- The marital aid company got its start with help from an Opportunity Zone grant, and is located in a Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Lora DiCarlo developed its technology at Oregon State University's robotics lab and received $1.1 million in funding through the Oregon Opportunity Zone Limited Partnership, a tax incentive enabled by the federal tax cuts approved last year.

The company has nine employees, split between Bend and its research lab in Corvallis. -- January 8, 2019 The Oregonian article

RevOZ Capital and Alpha Wave Investors, LLC (Redmond, Oregon) -- The companies are building a hotel in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

RevOZ Capital has partnered with Alpha Wave Investors, LLC to close an Opportunity Zone investment--a holistic hotel with street front retail. Situated in the core of Redmond, OR, the historic property is being repositioned to a 49-room hotel featuring 13,000 square feet of street front retail, restaurant, lobby co-working and bar space. The transaction closed in March 2019.

The hotel will operate as a Soul Community Planet property, a concept established by Alpha Wave. The Soul Community Planet hotel merges environmentally friendly and socially responsible practices with healthy based accommodations--nutritious plant-based food choices are provided to fit the needs and wants of all customers. The Redmond property will offer venues for socializing, collaborating, coworking and a superior fitness experience.

The Soul Community Planet Redmond hotel is the only select service hotel centered on these values in a growing market that is failing to meet these needs. The new ownership will complete renovations within the next several months and is anticipated to reopen in 2019. The Redmond-Bend area is now known as one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. May 27, 2017 -- "Bend Among Fastest Growing Cities." A hot leisure destination, the year-round population of the Redmond-Bend Metropolitan Statistical Area is approximately 200,000, and attracts around three million visitors each year. -- April 8, 2019 press release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Associates

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

Communities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More from Americans for Tax Reform


How the Trump Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Minnesota

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Posted by John Kartch on Sunday, July 5th, 2020, 1:00 PM PERMALINK

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

412,660 Minnesota households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

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

1,788,710 Minnesota households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the standard deduction. Thanks to the tax cuts, nine out of ten households take the standard deduction which provides tax relief and simplifies the tax filing process.

69,460 Minnesota households are benefiting from the TCJA’s elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate tax. Most households hit with this tax made less than $50,000 per year.

Lower utility bills: As a direct result of the TCJA’s corporate tax rate cut, Minnesota residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, Otter Tail Power Co., Minnesota Power, Northern States Power, and Xcel Energy Minnesota (see below) all passed along tax reform savings to their customers. 

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

Industrial Weldors & Machinists (Duluth, Minnesota) - Investing in employee pensions, hiring new employees:

“This is an American success story of generations,” Pence said of IWM, a third-generation family business that gets 70 percent of its work by rebuilding massive rock crushers used to extract taconite iron ore on the Iron Range.

Trump tax cuts helped the business and its employees, Pence said — including thousands of dollars in investments by the company into IWM employee pensions earlier this year.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Pence said.

It was an easy fact to check after the vice president’s remarks. All four sibling owners of the company were on hand — Dawn Bergh and her brothers Rick, Rob and Randy Abernethy. Bergh confirmed the pension investments for the company’s 32 employees.

“The boilermakers’ pension is in the toilet,” Bergh said. “They’re worried about it. We wanted to give them something that would keep them around. It’s really hard to get employees. We’re hiring right now for both a welder and a machinist.” - August 8, 2018, Twin Cities Pioneer Press article excerpt

3M Company (Maplewood, Minnesota) – the company increased employee pension contributions by $600 million:

3M said its tax rate under the new "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" will fall to 20 percent to 22 percent in 2018, down from a prior rate of 26 percent to 27 percent. Executives said they will use the savings to boost returns for shareholders, increase pension reserves and to invest in the company. – Jan. 25, 2018 Star Tribune article excerpt

In 2017, free cash flow conversion was impacted by enactment of the TCJA, along with an additional U.S. pension contribution of $600 million that 3M made following the signing of tax reform. – 3M Annual Report for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2018

Priority Courier Experts (St. Paul, Minnesota) – tax reform bonuses were given on Jan. 2, 2018 to employees; further, employees will receive another $500 bonus in 2018 on the anniversary of their hire date:

Priority Courier Experts paid a “TRUMP BUMP” to each of its 80 employees on their January 2nd, 2018 paycheck. We also expanded the “TRUMP BUMP” to pay each employee a $500 bonus on their hire anniversary date in 2018, and our hope for the future is to make the “TRUMP BUMP” Bonus permanent. – Steve Cossack, Founder/CEO, Priority Courier Experts

Minnesota Power (Duluth, Minnesota) – the utility will pass tax cut savings to customers:

"When final rates go into effect late this year, customers will start receiving a 1.5259% credit on their monthly bill through a new line item, called the tax cut rider, totaling about $10 million a year refund until our next rate case," Rutledge said.

For a $100 power bill, that's about $1.53 returned - Aug 10, 2018, Duluth News Tribune article excerpt

Circuit Interruption Technology Inc. -- CIT Relay & Switch (Rogers, Minnesota) – One week of extra pay added to final 2017 paycheck; hiring of new employees, growing the staff by 10 percent:

Circuit Interruption Technology Inc. dba CIT Relay & Switch manufactures and distributes electromechanical relays and switches to the electronics, security, HVAC, appliance and automotive industries. Employees were notified just before Christmas of one extra week pay added to their final year end check as a result of the new tax reform measure. Due to the positive atmosphere created by the passage of the tax bill Company profit sharing combined with normal 401K contributions amounted to an additional 5% per employee for 2017. CIT has added 10% to our staff thus far in January 2018 and more additions are expected. – Rick Hampton, CIT Relay & Switch

Albert Lea Public Warehouse (Albert Lea, Minnesota) – $2,000 bonuses for all 12 employees:

Albert Lea business leaders said the recently passed tax bill is helping them invest in their organizations.

The tax bill passed in December cut the top federal tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, likely putting billions of dollars in the pockets of major Minnesota companies.

Albert Lea Public Warehouse Owner Al Larson gave each of his 12 employees a $2,000 bonus, which he said would not have been possible without reduced rates. He said he decided to pay the bonuses in January to help the workers pay off costs incurred during the Christmas season.

“I just distributed it back to them,” he said.

In addition to bonuses, Larson is installing two roofs and investing in new dock levelers.

Larson said he prefers investing company revenue locally instead of contributing more of a percentage to the federal government. – Jan. 30 Albert Lea Tribune article

Otter Tail Power Co. (Fergus Falls, Minnesota) – the utility will pass along tax reform savings to customers.

Aldi - St. Paul (St. Paul, Minnesota) -- Aldi is building a new location in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

As director of St. Paul's Frogtown Neighborhood Association, Caty Royce returned from a policy summit in Chicago last year more alarmed than hopeful about the opportunities in "Opportunity Zones."

The federally authorized tax shelters allow investors to avoid paying capital gains taxes for up to 10 years if they funnel their profits into new real estate development within low-income census tracts.

"For me it was this huge red flag for any neighborhood along the Green Line, particularly for Frogtown, Rondo and Hamline," said Royce.

Critics worry that in poor neighborhoods, national investors will be drawn to projects that low-income residents can't afford, such as luxury housing. They'll buy up cheap real estate, tear it down and put up something more expensive.

But on Thursday, city officials and private developers held a groundbreaking aimed, in part, at proving the opposite.

St. Paul's first two Opportunity Zone projects are under construction near Phalen Boulevard and Clarence Street, much to the delight of some neighborhood advocates.

Within months, the 2.5-acre site will be home to a new Aldi grocery and the Entira Family Clinics, two new "anchor" tenants for the Phalen Village area, which sits in an Opportunity Zone. Both businesses are expected to open in late 2019. -- April 12, 2019 St. Paul Pioneer Press article

Koch Companies Inc. (Minneapolis, Minnesota) – increased driver wages; increased sign on bonuses:

Raised driver pay to 41 cents to 45 cents per mile and the maximum sign-on bonus to $7,000 from $5,000 prior to late December.

“Rate increases and benefits from the recent tax law reform have allowed us to re-evaluate our current driver pay to make sure we are putting money back in the pockets of our greatest asset — the driver,” CEO Randy Koch said – Feb. 12 2018, Transport Topics article excerpt

Grand Rounds Brewing Co. (Rochester, Minnesota) – Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the brewery was able to hire a new employee as well as invest in research and development:

“We are really a true industry that’s growing in the state of Minnesota, not only across the country, but Minnesota’s really got a lot of craft brewers,” said Tessa Leung, CEO of Grand Rounds Brewing Co. in Rochester.

Grand Rounds was able to invest in the research and development of their beers, update equipment and hire another brewer, but the tax increase will mean making adjustments.

“I wish we had, you know, the ability to double our prices and have nobody say anything about it, or take a vote on it, but people vote with their dollars, and they vote with where they’re at,” Leung said. Dec. 5, 2019, KAAL 6 News.

Landmark Development (Duluth, Minnesota) -- The company is building an apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Downtown Duluths skyline will be getting a couple of splashes of modern architecture soon.

Developers are working to figure out a demolition and construction schedule for a glassy, 15-story apartment building along the citys main downtown thoroughfare at 333 E. Superior St.

The $75 million project, which city officials said will help address a shortage of quality market-rate housing by adding 204 modern apartments, will rise near a $675 million, 14-story facility that Duluth-based Essentia Health is building. Nearby St. Lukes Hospital also is planning nearly $300 million in longer-term construction.

They are significant changes to the downtown skyline of a once-stagnant industrial city.

These projects that we are seeing now are once in a generation, and theyre all happening at the same time, said Duluth Mayor Emily Larson. Its just tremendously exciting.

The apartment building, dubbed the Lakeview, will sit next to the Sheraton hotel and will feature units with floor-to-ceiling glass, wood floors and interior balconies so residents can enjoy Lake Superior views in all kinds of weather, said Brian Forcier, managing partner of Titanium Partners in Duluth, one of three developers on the project.

Plans for the bottom floor call for 19,000 square feet of retail space, including a grocery store an amenity that community leaders have been seeking for years. The second floor will have space for medical private-practice offices, Forcier said.

The project will replace the Voyageur Lakewalk Inn and a couple of other vacant buildings.

The developers, including Landmark Development of Madison, Wis., and Gerald Fogelson of Chicago, are taking advantage of a new federal Opportunity Zone program, which allows reinvestment of capital gains from other projects into properties in areas designated as economically distressed.

Larson said it is the single largest private investment in downtown Duluths history for a residential building and a significant outside investment. She expects more outside investors to take an interest in Duluth in the next few years.

The city also agreed to pitch in $6.2 million in tax-increment financing for the apartment building, using the increased property taxes the development will generate to pay for infrastructure over the course of 25 years.

The building does nothing to help fill a shortage of quality low-income housing in the city, though. City leaders faced criticism for giving tax incentives to benefit high-wage earners.

We have a housing need across multiple spectrums and multiple affordability levels, theres no question about it, Larson said, adding that leaders can work on affordable housing while theyre also working on market-rate housing.

Across the road, Essentia Healths new Vision Northland project will include a new St. Marys Medical Center plus a clinic building and outpatient surgery center.

Construction is expected to begin later this year and finish in 2022.

And at nearby St. Lukes, officials are planning three phases of upgrades, with the most skyline-changing construction planned for about seven years out, said Vice President of Support Services Mike Boeselager.

At that time phase three of the project an inpatient tower would be built atop other buildings, for a total of 11 stories. Before that, projects will include relocating the emergency department and tripling its capacity, as well as expanding outpatient services.

Both medical facilities are getting state-backed bond financing for the projects. -- Jan. 21, 2019 Star-Tribune article

NAI Legacy (Minneapolis, Minnesota) -- The company built an apartment complex that is located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Call it planning ahead. But when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 unveiled the Opportunity Zone program, officials with Minneapolis’ NAI Legacy saw potential. And the firm acted on that potential.

Duane Lund, chief executive officer of NAI Legacy, said that he and other executives at the Twin Cities commercial real estate firm looked hard at Opportunity Zone legislation way back in the summer of 2018. They studied what Opportunity Zones could mean for NAI Legacy’s business model.

And that foresight? It’s paid off. Since launching its Opportunity Zone program, NAI Legacy has completed four Opportunity Zone investments totaling about $50 million.

“We educated ourselves on the program from the business side,” Lund said. “We surrounded ourselves with law firms and accounting firms that were diving deep into it, too. We’ve since given many of the investors in our program comfort with the assets we’ve targeted.”

One of those assets? Birdtown Flats, a new luxury apartment building in the Minneapolis suburb of Robbinsdale. This apartment complex opened for initial occupancy in February of 2020, and is located near downtown Robbinsdale.

Birdtown Flats includes 152 units and features amenities that include a rooftop deck, fitness center, business center, common area, underground heated parking, dog walk and bike-storage area.

......

The results bear this out. Lund said that Birdtown Flats is already nearly 70 percent occupied. -- April 3, 2020 RE Journals article

Entira Family Clinics (St. Paul Minnesota) -- The company is moving to an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

St. Paul's first two Opportunity Zone projects are under construction near Phalen Boulevard and Clarence Street, much to the delight of some neighborhood advocates.

Within months, the 2.5-acre site will be home to a new Aldi grocery and the Entira Family Clinics, two new "anchor" tenants for the Phalen Village area, which sits in an Opportunity Zone. Both businesses are expected to open in late 2019. -- April 12, 2019 St. Paul Pioneer Press article

Stoneleigh Companies LLC (St. Paul, Minnesota) -- The company is building a apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Stoneleigh Companies LLC announces the acquisition of 10.71 acres of land planned for the construction of the 242-unit Waterford Bay Apartments located in the Saint Paul Opportunity Zone segment. Waterford Bay is one of the first Opportunity Zone projects in St. Paul.

Waterford Bay will offer luxury apartments in a prime location on the Mississippi River. The development aims to leverage the natural aesthetics of the Mississippi River Valley and nearby downtown Saint Paul into an attractive housing community through connectivity and integration of public/private spaces. The development is planning public access to the river with the addition of a kayak/small boat launch and expanding the regional bike/walking path trail system through the site. A portion of the land will be dedicated to the city for park space along the riverfront, accessible to the public by the extension of the bike/walking path. -- July 23, 2019 Cantify Investment News article

Xcel Energy Minnesota (Minnesota) - The utility will pass tax cut savings along to customers:

About six months ago, Xcel Energy announced its Minnesota customers would receive a rebate because of a federal tax cut. In Minnesota, $200 million was returned to customers through a one-time credit on their bills. A typical Minnesota electricity customer who pays $85 to $90 a month received a credit of about $45. – February 8, 2019, Inforum article excerpt

Loon Liquor (Northfield, Minnesota) – Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the business was able to reinvest in the community and buy more equipment:

Mark Schiller of Loon Liquor in Northfield also that the tax break has enabled his distillery to expand its business dramatically, which he's reinvested in the local agriculture community and other local businesses. If the tax break goes away, he says it would force him to cut back planned investments significantly.

"This tax break enabled us to invest more in local agriculture, more in our inventory, more in barrel aging our spirits, which is important for future profitability, and more in equipment," he said. "If it goes away, that will dramatically impede our business growth or our ability to invest in growth." – Faribault Daily News

U.S. Bancorp (Minneapolis, Minnesota) – $1,000 bonuses for 60,000 employees; base wage hike to $15 per hour; $150 million charitable contribution:

“We believe that tax reform is positive for the U.S. economy because it provides an immediate opportunity to benefit our employees, our communities and our customers.” – Andy Cecere, President and CEO

Northern States Power (Minneapolis, Minnesota) – The utility will pass along tax cut savings to customers:

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today approved settlement agreements with seven utilities to pass on to ratepayers their savings from the federal tax law rewrite, beginning in July. Three other utilities had no impact from the changes.

Filings were approved for Alpena Power Co., DTE Gas Co., Michigan Gas Utilities Corp., Northern States Power, SEMCO Energy Gas Co., and Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp. (UMERC).

---

"Through swift action by the Commission, Michigan ratepayers will experience millions of dollars in refunds on their utility bills starting this summer due to changes in federal corporate income taxes," said Sally Talberg, chairman of the MPSC. “Utilities are benefiting from the tax cuts and their customers should, too.” – May 30, 2018 LARA Public Service Commission Press Release excerpts

Bio-Techne (Minneapolis, Minnesota) -- $500 bonuses for all 1,650+ employees:

Many of you, particularly in the U.S., have probably been keeping up with the news the past few months on U.S. tax reform. With the passage of the bill in Congress yesterday and the President’s signature, the new tax law is now official. How does this affect our company? A lot. Our current corporate income tax levels average between 29% and 31%. With this new tax law, over the next year our tax rates will drop to levels potentially as low as 21%. We don’t know the total answer yet because the law is complicated, and includes tax calculations from other countries where we do business as well. What I can tell you is that we are likely to pay substantially less taxes in the U.S. and overall.  

There has been extensive media coverage here in the U.S. on what companies will do with these gains. The U.S. Government’s primary goal for the new law is that companies will use the additional monies to invest in growth, and not simply to benefit shareholders through a dividend increase or share buyback. I am happy to tell you that we will use the savings to invest in our company and in you. We will use the funds to continue our investment in the company through expansion and acquisitions. But we also want to invest in our employees. Our board of directors has approved a recommendation to pay a bonus of US $500 to every employee globally. The bonus will be paid to all employees employed as of December 31, 2017 (other than the Corporate Leadership Team) and will be included in a January 2018 payroll.  Management and the Board value each of you and your contributions, and this bonus is one way we wish to show our appreciation for your contributions to our strong business performance and excellent execution.  

I look forward to working with all of you to create great future of continued growth for Bio-Techne.  On behalf of the entire management team, thank you. – Dec. 21, 2017 special message to employees from Bio-Techne CEO Chuck Kummeth

Best Buy (Richfield, Minnesota) -- $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees. Over 100,000 employees nationwide will receive bonuses:

Best Buy is the latest major corporation to hand out bonuses to its employees as a result of the recently passed corporate tax reform.

In a letter sent to employees Friday afternoon, CEO Hubert Joly said full-time employees will receive a one-time bonus of $1,000 and part-time employees $500.

All permanent employees who are not on an existing bonus plan will receive the additional funds. The bonuses are expected to show up in their paychecks this month.

In all, more than 100,000 of Best Buy’s 125,000 employees in the U.S., Mexico and Canada are slated to receive the extra payouts.

In addition, Best Buy is making a one-time contribution of $20 million to the Best Buy Foundation to help further expand its teen tech centers and Geek Squad Academies across the U.S.

“Our goal was simple: to say ‘thank you’ to more than 100,000 of our employees and help accelerate our work to bring much needed technology training to 1 million underserved teens a year,” said Jeff Shelman, a Best Buy spokesman.

In recent days, other major retailers including Lowe’s, Home Depot and Walmart have also said they will hand out bonuses, expand benefits, and raise wages of its workers in light of the tax reform.

In Minnesota, U.S. Bancorp and TCF Financial also are handing out bonuses to workers and increasing charitable donations. U.S. Bank also said it would raise the minimum wage of its hourly employees to $15.

Among other changes, the new tax law cut the top federal tax rate for corporations from 35 percent to 21 percent.”—Feb. 2 2018, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Hormel Foods Corp. (Austin, Minnesota) – Stock options for employees; increased base wage to $13 per hour:

Hormel Foods Corp. this morning announced that it plans to use savings from the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to award stock options to its employees and raise starting wages to $13 an hour. — Feb. 22, 2018 Post-Bulletin article excerpt

TCF Financial Corporation (Wayzata, Minnesota) -- $1,000 bonuses for full time employees; $500 bonuses for part time employees (exact number receiving bonus unknown at this time):

“As a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, TCF will provide approximately $5 million in one-time bonuses to eligible team members—$1,000 to full-time team members and $500 to part-time team members—who earned less than $100,000 in total compensation during 2017, totaling 80 percent of its workforce. Additionally, TCF will donate $5 million to TCF Foundation to increase grants to nonprofit organizations in the communities it serves, including increasing its match of team member contributions to nonprofit organizations from 100 percent to 200 percent in 2018.” – Friday Dec. 29, 2017 TCF Financial Corporation press release

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

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

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

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

DTN (Burnsville, Minnesota) -- DTN an independent provider of information and actionable insights in the areas of agriculture, transportation and energy, and publisher of The Progressive Farmer, gave $1,000 bonuses to nearly 700 employees.

Ecolab Inc. (St. Paul, Minnesota) – $25 million in charitable donations:

In response to the passage of the new U.S. tax law, Ecolab announced its intent to make a $25 million contribution to the Ecolab Foundation. Since 1986, the Ecolab Foundation has contributed more than $100 million to communities in which we do business by providing basic needs, including hunger relief and affordable housing; supporting education, the arts and environmental conservation; as well as providing support to global relief organizations during times of natural disasters. – Jan. 23, 2018 Ecolab Inc. press release

T.J. Maxx – 16 stores in Minnesota – 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

Apple (There are five Apple stores in Minnesota: Bloomington, Edina, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Roseville) -- $2,500 employee bonuses in the form of restricted stock units; nationally, $30 billion in additional capital expenditures over five years; 20,000 new employees will be hired; increased support of coding education and science, technology, engineering, arts, and math; increased support for U.S. manufacturing.

AT&T -- 1,592 Minnesota employees received $1,000 bonuses; nationally, $1 billion increase in capital expenditures.

Bank of America (Multiple locations in Minnesota) -- $1,000 bonuses.

 

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

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

CVS Health (Multiple locations in Minnesota) -- Base wage raised to $11 per hour, and other pay ranges adjusted accordingly; company will absorb increases costs of health insurance premiums; creation of new parental leave program.

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

Home Depot (Multiple locations in Minnesota) -- Bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000

Lowe's -- 1,000 employees at 11 stores in Minnesota. Bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service; expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance.

Ryder (Six locations in Minnesota) – Tax reform bonuses for employees totaling $23 million nationwide.

Taco John’s (62 locations in Minnesota): All full-time and part-time crew members received a $200 after-tax bonus:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wal-Mart  69 locations in Minnesota; Base wage increase for all hourly employees to $11; bonuses of up to $1,000; expanded maternity and parental leave; $5,000 for adoption expenses.

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

Wells Fargo – 157 bank locations in Minnesota -- Base wage raised from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour; nationally, $400 million in charitable donations for 2018; $100 million increased capital investment over next three years.

Anthem (Multiple locations in Minnesota) -- Nationally, $1,000 in extra 401(k) contributions for 58,000 employees.

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

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

More from Americans for Tax Reform


How the Trump Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Oklahoma

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Posted by John Kartch on Sunday, July 5th, 2020, 11:20 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 Oklahoma. (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

AAON  (Tulsa) – this heating and cooling firm gave $1,000 bonus checks to 2,000 employees:

“We are very appreciative of all AAON employees and want to commemorate the passing of this historic, economy-stimulating tax reform law. While most employees are shareholders of the company and benefit as a result of the new tax law, we felt it appropriate to provide a more direct recognition of their importance to AAON’s future success.” -- Jan. 2, 2018 AAON press release

Express Employment Professionals (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) -- $2,000 bonuses to more than 200 non-executive employees:

Express Employment Professionals nonexecutive employees in Oklahoma City each will receive a $2,000 bonus before the end of the year, CEO Bob Funk said Tuesday.

Funk said the bonus is in part because of the company's expected savings from the tax reform legislation Congress passed last week.

"We wanted to show our appreciation for our employees for doing such a good job this year," Funk told The Oklahoman on Tuesday. "It's our privilege to be able to give back to our employees."

The bonus will be provided to the more than 200 non-executive employees at Express Employment Professionals' Oklahoma City headquarters.

Funk said he expects hiring to increase throughout the country because of the new lower corporate tax rate.

"I think we are going to be required to find a lot more people jobs more quickly because at most corporations — including ours — when they have extra cash available, they put it into the industry they know best, which is their own," Funk said. "Especially for medium and small businesses, they usually try to expand their business." – Dec. 27, 2017 The Oklahoman article excerpt

Elmer Smith Oil Company, Domino Transports, Inc. and Domino Food & Fuel, Inc. -- Tax reform bonuses for more than 300 employees:

Elmer Smith Oil Company, Domino Transports, Inc. and Domino Food and Fuel, Inc. employees will receive a bonus before the end of the year, President Martin Smith said on Wednesday.

Smith said the bonuses are being paid from expected tax savings in 2018 and a very successful 2017. “Our employees have worked really hard the past year growing our company, we opened 3 new stores in the past 12 months and grew the size of Domino Transports, Inc. by more than 35%.”

The bonus will be paid to more than 300 employees. Smith said that he believes Congress passed the tax reform legislation to allow companies to have more cash to invest and grow the economy. “We are excited about the future of our business, we are simply reinvesting part of the expected tax savings in our most important asset, our people.”

Elmer Smith Oil Company, Domino Transports, Inc. and Domino Food and Fuel, Inc. have locations in Clinton, Elk City, Canute, Weatherford, Binger, Blanchard, Shawnee, Blackwell, Woodward, Seiling, Watonga, El Reno, and Yukon. They have employees in each of these towns and surrounding communities as well as the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandle. -- Dec. 29 2017, Shawnee News-Star article

 

Oak Properties LLC (Tulsa, Oklahoma) -- The company is building a mixed-use building that will host retail, restaurants and apartments in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Duane Phillips stood in the middle of a construction site near 15th Street, surrounded by pallets and hard hats and heavy machinery.

"I have a master's in structural engineering but out here is where I love to be," the developer says. "I love the dirt."

He has been getting his hands dirty a lot lately.

Owner of Oak Properties LLC, he is in the midst of building a $9 million project called 1515 Cherry Street and The Lofts at 1515, a 28,000-square-foot development that will include retail, restaurants and apartments.

It represents his fourth development on 15th Street, increasing his investment in the area to around $40 million. It also is indicative of the growth on that signature stretch between South Peoria and South Utica avenues.

"I just love Cherry Street," he says. "Most of the tenants are grounded. You can always get the rents that you need.

"Getting rents is one thing. But the retailers are able to support that rent. It works down here. They make money. We make money."

Popping up last year near longtime Cherry Street anchor Hideaway was the burger restaurant Society.

'There is momentum …'

Phillips has been working his way west on the thoroughfare, previously developing the 1551 Building (Roosevelt's, Taziki's Mediterranean, Orange Theory Fitness and InterWorks) and Cherry Street Ridge (Salata, Chipotle, Pinot's Palette). He also was behind the conversion of the former Luby's Cafeteria into Tulsa Fertility Center at 15th Street and Boston Avenue.

"They used to have great restaurants and bars, but it was a two-hour trip," Phillips says of Cherry Street. "With the retail now, it's something that can keep you here all day long. You can shop and eat and grab a beer if it's in the evening. That's what Cherry Street's been missing."

Bruce G. Weber, the jeweler that relocated from Utica Square to Phillips' development, held its grand opening last weekend. The five-story Lofts at 1515, scheduled for completion around February, will comprise 15 apartments with balconies and designated parking.

Also part of the project are a basement speakeasy, rooftop bar, Store 5a, a high-end, preowned jewelry concept by the owners of Weber, and CycleBar, an indoor cycling studio.

"There is momentum and it's happening on Cherry Street," Phillips said. "There's still some pockets here. If we can get a few more retailers out of the Utica area or Brookside, that will help."

Brett Rehorn's attachment to Cherry Street began about 1994, when he was a mechanical contractor for the Cherry Street Brewery in Lincoln Plaza (15th Street and Peoria Avenue). He was an original partner in the now-closed Bourbon Street Cafe, which opened in 1996, and he followed that up by opening Kilkenny's Irish Pub in 2002 and Nola's Creole & Cocktails last year.

"Now, if you were to count between Peoria and Utica on 15th Street, there are like 30 restaurants and bars and coffee shops," he says. "In 1996, when I opened, there were maybe 10."

When Rehorn started Nola's, 11 people in the kitchen had worked for him at Bourbon Street.

"To me, it was a little niche that nobody was doing," Rehorn says. "And I was familiar with the food at Bourbon Street. This location has always been a good location but it's always been a hole-in-the-wall bar.

"The combination of Cherry Street booming and nobody else doing full-service Cajun and my having done it before, to me it was kind of a no-brainer."

'Take somebody from out of town'

Ben Ganzkow, senior associate for global real estate services company CBRE, called Bruce G. Weber's relocation from Utica Square "pretty significant" on the commercial scale.

The store had been at the previous location since 2001 but had enjoyed a presence in upscale outdoor shopping center for decades.

"That's what we're starting to see with this new development wave is a shift from the traditional retail," Ganzkow says. "What we're seeing is a shift in development where you see higher density projects like Duane's, where you are introducing residential over commercial, retail. On his (1551 Building) project, that's office over ground-floor commercial retail. Parking is a factor in all this, too."

Adding convenience for patrons and mitigating congestion in neighborhoods, Phillips, by the time his current Cherry Street project is finished, will have added 240 free parking spaces to the strip.

The potential for growth in the district remains strong. Cherry Street is one of 19 census tracts in Tulsa designated as an Opportunity Zone, a federal incentive in which developers can reduce tax payments on gains while investing in projects.

"Cherry Street does offer that balance of restaurants, shopping," Ganzkow says. "It's a very unique neighborhood. It's where you would take somebody from out of town.

"It begs that question, 'where do the locals go?' Cherry Street offers all of those things." -- May 19, 2019 Tulsa World article

 

American Residential Group (Tulsa, Oklahoma) -- The company is building an apartment in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

American Residential Group (ARG) is announcing construction plans for "The View", a multifamily property to be located in the Tulsa Arts District. The proposed 198-unit, six-story project will be the premier residential development in the city. The Class A complex will feature luxury unit finishes, rooftop amenity deck, expansive interior corridors and an attached parking structure. Along with a rooftop pool overlooking ONEOK Field, the property will offer stunning views of the Tulsa skyline.

The View will be located directly across the street from the ONEOK Field and will share a neighborhood with The BOK Center, Cain's Ballroom and Guthrie Green. Adjacent to Tulsa's Central Business District, the Arts District has evolved over the past several years into an energetic mix of world-class museums, eclectic restaurants, private businesses and entertainment spaces.

ARG purchased the entire square block on the Southeast corner of Archer & Elgin from the Tulsa Stadium Trust in 2015 for total redevelopment purposes. The lot falls in a Qualified Opportunity Zone, which allows investors in these targeted funds to receive substantial capital gains tax reductions. In order to receive the full benefits of the deferment over the course of its short, seven-year life, investors must act prior to Dec. 31, 2019. -- January 2, 2019 press release

Webco Industries Inc. (Sand Springs, Oklahoma) – Up to $2,000 bonuses:

Webco Industries based in Sand Springs is the latest employer to give workers a bonus following the passage last year of the Trump Administration's tax plan.

Webco says each employee was given $1,000 if they've been there for a year or more. Employees who have been there for a significant amount of time, were given $2,000.

Webco says they had more than a million dollars total to distribute to their employees, many of whom are in Sand Springs.

"The tax cuts and jobs act reduced corp tax rates, so that produced a significant amount of savings this year for Webco as our corporate tax bill was reduced," said Mike Howard with Webco Industries.

These were one-time bonuses and impacted employees in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Illinois, and Michigan. -- March 7, 2018 News on 6 article excerpt

Public Service Company of Oklahoma (Tulsa, Oklahoma) - the utility will pass along tax cut savings to customers:

A recommendation the judge filed in the case states evidence and testimony indicates the company accumulated the income thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act approved by Congress at the end of 2017.
--

“The tax cut provides an opportunity for real savings for customers, especially during the summer months when energy usage rises along with the temperature," Hunter stated in a release. "We hope the members of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission complete their review as quickly as possible to benefit PSO customers.” - June 29, 2018, NewsOk article excerpts

Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) – the utility will pass along tax savings to customers:

Oklahoma Gas and Electric, a subsidiary of Oklahoma City-based OGE Energy Corp. (NYSE: OGE), announced today that it has asked the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to review the company's request to recover its approximately $390 million investment in the Mustang Energy Center, the first, new, natural-gas fired plant the company has built in more than 30 years. The new plant includes seven, modern quick-start natural-gas turbines that replaced two of the oldest natural gas-fired units in the country.

The company initially planned to seek a rate increase of about $70 million per year to recover its investment. Following President Donald Trump's signing of federal tax reform in December 2017, the company delayed its filing from late December to  today to adjust its proposed filing to ensure customers benefitted from the lower corporate tax rate. The company is now seeking just under $2 million per year, and the average Oklahoma residential customer will see no monthly bill increase. OG&E's rates today are 24 percent below the national average, placing them among the lowest in the country.  

"The president's signing of tax reform in December was fortuitous for customer and the company," said OG&E spokesman Brian Alford. "When it became evident in November that tax reform was a real possibility, we began having conversations at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission about incorporating the benefits of tax  reform into our upcoming filing. Today's filing reflects those benefits as well as our ongoing efforts to manage costs, which provide customers with a modern, highly efficient power plant at virtually no impact on monthly electric bills."  – Jan. 16 2018, Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company press release

One Gas Inc. (Tulsa, Oklahoma) – The utility will pass along tax cut savings to customers:

One Gas is required to pass along corporate tax savings to utility customers, and the company established a related regulatory liability for the difference between what the company's tax obligations are and how much customers are paying. The liability resulted in a $12.3 million reduction in first-quarter revenue, company officials said during a May 1 earnings conference call. – May 7, 2018, SNL Gas Week article excerpt

Oklahoma Natural Gas (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) -- Signed an agreement to return $27 million to customers because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Tuesday signed off on a stipulated agreement that will return about $27 million to Oklahoma Natural Gas customers during the coming year.

Officials said the company's residential customers will see credits on their bills during the next 12 months of about $1.47 monthly to account for those over collections. 

Commercial, nonresidential transport and transport-only customers also will get credits. Altogether, the company will credit customers’ accounts by about $15.6 million. -- Aug. 21, 2019 The Oklahoman Article

Quail Creek Bank (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) – Employee bonuses of $2,000 or $1,000 and increased 401(k) contributions:

   - $2,000 bonus for all non-exempt employees; $1,000 bonus for part-time employees

    - Increased the 401(k) match to 100% of every dollar up to 6% of employee’s salary

Apple (Apple store locations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa) -- $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:

     Bonuses:

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

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

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

     Capital expenditures, etc:

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

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

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

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

Home Depot -- 16 locations in Oklahoma, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000

Lowe's -- 4,000 employees at 29 stores in Oklahoma. 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.

Bank of America (Multiple locations in Oklahoma) -- Oklahoma-based employees of Bank of America will receive $1,000 bonuses.

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

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

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

Ryder (Nine locations in Oklahoma) -- Tax reform bonuses for employees.

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

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

Walmart – 136 locations in Oklahoma -- Walmart employees are receiving tax reform bonuses. Nationally, base wage increase for all hourly employees to $11; bonuses of up to $1,000; expanded maternity and parental leave; $5,000 for adoption expenses.

Central Bancompany, Inc. – $1,000 bonuses for full time employees; $500 bonuses for part time employees:

In December 2017, U.S. Congress passed a comprehensive tax reform package to encourage economic growth across the nation. As a result of the federal tax reform, Central Bancompany plans to distribute a special bonus to its more than 2,500 employees residing across four states – Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, and Oklahoma. Full-time employees will receive a $1,000 bonus and part-time employees will receive a $500 bonus.

“The economic development that should ensue as a direct result of the new tax reform legislation will positively affect the more than 66 communities we serve,” said Bryan Cook, Chairman and CEO of Central Bancompany, Inc. “We are excited for the opportunity to reward our dedicated and hard-working employees with this special bonus as a token of our gratitude for all that they do for our customers, businesses, and communities.” – Jan. 5, 2018 Central Bancompany press release

Note: If you know of other Oklahoma 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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