Massive Clean Slate Victory in Michigan

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Posted by Davis Hendricks on Friday, September 25th, 2020, 12:55 PM PERMALINK

Thousands of Michiganders will have a chance at a well-deserved fresh start after “clean slate” legislation passed the legislature this week.

The full package of bills will automatically set aside and seal records of many nonviolent, lower-level convictions for former offenders who have proven they can stay on the straight and narrow for five years or more for some offenses. Studies show recidivism is extremely rare after five or more years of good behavior. Nobody with pending charges is eligible.

HB 4980-85 focuses on automatic record-sealing on prior convictions, HB 5120 expunges particular marijuana offenses, and HB 5846-53 concerns suspension of a driver’s license.

The current process for clearing a prior conviction is a tedious and time-consuming task that too few people pursue. The practice of automatically sealing records will reduce costs and boost the number of people who will get their records sealed, and it will increase the likelihood they can find employment, housing, and other necessities.

In addition, the state’s economy can expect to benefit from an increase in income and employment.

Of particular interest, HB 5846-53, introduced in House, ends driver license suspensions on conduct that is not related to driving practices and lowers some traffic penalties from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction. License suspension puts people in an awful position of having to choose between risking breaking the law by going to work so they can afford their fines, or losing their job. If their initial offense has nothing to do with safe driving, it does not make sense to suspend their license and potentially send them down a path of escalating offenses.

ATR President Grover Norquist testified in support of Michigan’s “Clean Slate” legislation earlier this summer.

Having a criminal record carries significant collateral consequences that end up making it tougher for people to build a life, and sometimes that leads to them committing more crimes. Michigan has taken big steps to reduce recidivism, improve public safety, and provide a path toward a second chance for people who have proven they deserve it.

Photo Credit: Brian Charles Watson

More from Americans for Tax Reform


How the Trump Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Florida

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, September 24th, 2020, 3:47 PM PERMALINK

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have threatened numerous times to repeal the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on "Day One." But Florida is benefiting greatly from the tax cuts enacted by congressional Republicans and President Trump:

375,930 Florida households are no longer stuck paying the much-loathed individual mandate tax, thanks to the TCJA's elimination of this tax. 78% of Florida households hit with this tax made less than $50,000 per year. Be warned, Joe Biden wants to bring this tax back from the dead, one of the many reasons Biden can't be trusted on taxes.

1,285,360 Florida households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

Every income group in every Florida 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.

7,517,550 Florida 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.

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

Magellan Transport Logistics (Jacksonville, Florida) - Expanding facility operations, hiring more employees:

“Just last month, Mr. Speaker, I toured Magellan Transport Logistics, a service-disabled, veteran-owned logistics company in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. They are adding at least 100 new jobs in the next 5 years and were able to acquire a new 47,000- square-foot facility. During the tour of the facility, we were told by the company’s CEO that this expansion is a direct result of the tax cuts that the business received from the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. This is just one example of the differences that these cuts are making to improve the way of life for countless Americans in Florida and across the Nation. I have heard from many small businesses throughout my district who are thriving unlike never before because of these landmark reforms.” - May 17, 2018, Rep. John Rutherford statement on U.S. House Floor

Florida Concrete Unlimited (Miami, Florida) – Pay raises for all employees and higher year-end bonuses due to tax reform:

“My father and I decided, once this tax bill passed, the first thing that we should do is reinvest in the company. So we have extra cash available to give back to the employees instantly before we even felt the effects of the tax bill, we increased the bonuses for the year-end. So everybody got a little bit more in their paycheck at the end of the year for their Christmas bonus, about 20 percent more. And everybody got a raise based on tax reform.” – Feb. 2018 statement by President and COO Jason Goff

Biscayne Bay Craft Brewery (Miami, Florida) – Hiring new employees and purchasing new equipment:

Consider the story of Jose Mallea, owner of Biscayne Bay Craft Brewery, who participated in President Trump's event. The tax cuts have allowed him to purchase $100,000 more in equipment and hire two new employees. – April 29, 2018 Tallahassee Democrat article excerpt

AutoNation Inc. (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) – The company is providing a new double-match for employee 401(k) accounts. Also providing a newly expanded program for employees who are diagnosed with cancer, or have a spouse/dependent who is diagnosed:

The Trump administration's tax reform is expected to boost AutoNation Inc.'s net income by millions of dollars, so the company plans to invest the profits in expanded programs for its employees.

Fort Lauderdale-based AutoNation, the nation's largest automotive retailer (NYSE: AN), on Tuesday said the new tax cuts will benefit the company's bottom line by $41 million in the current fiscal quarter. The company expects the annual benefit from the reform bill to be $75 million to $100 million. Tax reform slashed the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.

With the savings, AutoNation aims to double the match for its 401(k) plan. For its deferred compensation plan, the company would double its match of up to 100 percent of the first $5,500 contributed. AutoNation employees and family members recently diagnosed with cancer would be assisted by a newly launched program that covers the employee, a spouse or eligible dependents with no exam required. The assistance includes up to $5,000 paid to the employee after a cancer diagnosis, with no limitations on how the money is spent.

"We are excited about the pro-growth environment for business in the U.S., which includes the recently signed tax reform bill," AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson said. "As a U.S.-based company, our employees, customers and shareholders will benefit greatly from a reduction in our corporate tax rates." – Jan. 16, 2018, South Florida Business Journal.

Sergio's Cuban Cafe (Miami, Florida) – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allowed the business to create new jobs and benefits:

Mr. Rodriguez. It's been amazing. We were-I'm a son of Cuban immigrants that fled Cuba in the early 1960s. And thanks to this country, here we are. We-thanks to the strong economy and the tax cuts, our employees have-are benefiting from higher wages, bonuses that they weren't able to receive before; benefits that they weren't able to receive before.

We, as a company, are-have currently two restaurants out of the 25. We're currently building three more. But thanks to the tax cuts, that expansion is going to accelerate, and hopefully, soon, we'll be able to create an extra 500 jobs thanks to all. – April 15. 2019, roundtable in Burnsville, Minnesota.

Our Town America (Clearwater, Florida) – Raise wages, hire new employees, and purchase new equipment:

There's no small business owner I talk to who isn't thankful to be able to protect one-fifth of his or her earnings from taxes. For some marginal small businesses, it will make the difference between staying in business and closing.

My business is no different. We're using our tax cut savings to raise wages, hire new staff, and add even more features and equipment to our brand new headquarters — a 44,000 square foot office building in Clearwater. – April 29, 2018, Tallahassee Democrat article excerpt

St. Augustine Distillery (St. Augustine, Florida) - The distillery used savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to invest in new equipment.

With a steadily increasing demand for their products and a significant tax cut bolstering their bottom line, the St. Augustine Distillery recently expanded its production capability by purchasing a variety of new distillation equipment. 

For the St. Augustine Distillery, which produces between 40,000 and 45,000 gallons a year, the tax cut meant a savings of approximately $200,000 a year. With a sudden boost to their revenue, the distillery decided to reinvest in their business by purchasing distilling equipment such as three additional incremental fermentation tanks and a new, 3,000-gallon mixing tank, a new mill and an auger system for their mash tank.

“This is a very capital-intensive industry,” said Mike Diaz, co-founder and CFO of St. Augustine Distillery. “The only way to expand your business is to invest in your equipment.” -- October 31, 2019 Jackson Business Journal

Jones Auto & Towing (Riverview, Florida) – the company, which provides 24-hour wrecker service, roadside assistance, emergency towing, and fuel delivery etc. will put two additional trucks into service, which will add two more full time jobs:

“The tax cuts are putting two more tow trucks on the road for my business. This will add two more full time job openings that will help two more families. And it will put a little more money in the bank for my family. My wife is a registered nurse and has a 401k which is doing better this last year than in the previous 13 years!!

Thanks to President Trump!!!

Thankfully I will be taken delivery of my new trucks in two weeks and hitting the road! MAGA!” – Guy Jones, Jones Auto & Towing

Joseph’s Lite Cookies (Sebastian, Florida) – $3,000 - $4,200 salary increases, new computer systems, new product packaging:

"As the president and CEO of Joseph’s Lite Cookies in Florida, I run a family-owned, sugar-free cookie business. We bake more than 12 million sugar-free cookies a day, in addition to supplying other diabetic-friendly products.

I employ numerous workers who stand to directly benefit from the Republican tax overhaul. Why? Because lower rates and increased deductions leave me with more resources to expand business operations and reward hardworking staffers.

Because of the tax bill, I’m purchasing new computer systems and creating new product packaging for international expansion. More importantly, I’m giving raises to four key employees — half of our workforce — which range from just over $3,000 to nearly $4,200. My top employees have earned greater financial security, and the Republican tax package made it a reality for them.

Because of President Trump’s commitment to lowering rates and increasing deductions, we are now experiencing the largest tax-induced investment revolution ever. Never before have we seen such a frenzy of pay hikes, 401(k) increases, and bonuses due to a single piece of legislation. Democrats scoff at their own peril. – Feb. 5 2018, Washington Examiner news article excerpt

Harris Corporation (Melbourne, Florida) -- Each of the 17,000 non-executive employees will receive 10 shares of common stock which will vest over two years. 10 shares of stock is currently worth $1,470; an additional $300 million contribution to employee pension fund; $20 million in innovation investments:

Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) today announced that, as a result of the passage of the tax reform bill, the company anticipates making an additional contribution to its employee pension fund, increasing its investment in research and development, and providing a one-time stock grant to all of its non-executive employees. The actions are expected to occur within the company’s fiscal 2018.

To increase current and former employee retirement stability, Harris anticipates contributing an additional $300 million into the company’s employee pension fund.

The company also will invest an incremental $20 million in technologies to accelerate innovation and affordability initiatives for its customers. This investment in research and development will leverage and enhance the company’s strong engineering talent, strengthen Harris’ position and help it capture new market opportunities in areas such as small satellites, software defined electronic warfare systems, open systems avionics, robotics and air traffic management solutions.

In addition, the company will grant each of its approximately 17,000 non-executive employees 10 shares of Harris common stock that will vest over two years. The grants have a current market value of about $1,470 each, or approximately $24 million in total.

“We are pleased to share the benefits of our strong performance and the recent tax reform legislation with our employees,” said William M. Brown, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “This represents an investment in Harris’ greatest asset and differentiator – our talented employees. Coupled with our innovation and technology investment, we are using this opportunity to further strengthen the company and position Harris for future success.” -- Jan. 30, 2018 Harris Corporation press release

Primrose School of South Tampa (Tampa, Florida) – Salary increases; playground upgrades; educational hardware and software investments; upgraded classroom flooring:

“Primrose School of South Tampa joined the ranks of other companies in giving back to our employees as a direct result of the tax reform.  We are an educational preschool providing a premier early education and child care experience for children and families in the Tampa Bay area.  Located in Tampa, Florida, we employ 85 teachers and management staff.   Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by the Republican Congress and signed into law by President Trump, each of our full-time staff members will receive a $1,040 salary increase and our part-time employees will receive one-half of that amount.  We will invest over $75,000 in turf to improve our playgrounds for our children. We purchased 50 new Apple iPads and software for classroom/student use, and we are investing in upgraded classroom flooring. Our total infrastructure investment in our beautiful school is over $150,000 thanks to President Trump and the Republican Congress!  This would not have been possible but for the tax reform and our sincerest thanks go to President Trump and to Congress for passing this legislation. President Donald Trump is doing a great job and we appreciate the hard work on his aggressive agenda.” – Jana Radtke, Franchise Owner, Primrose School of South Tampa

Estate Investment Group (Miami, Florida) -- The company is building an apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Estate Investment Group has broken ground on the Soleste Bay Village apartments in Palmetto Bay after obtaining a $34 million construction loan.

Soleste Bay Village is located in Palmetto Bay’s new Downtown Urban Village District, which encouraged mixed-use development. It’s also in a newly designated federal Opportunity Zone, where investors have the benefit of taking tax deferrals.

“While the Village of Palmetto Bay has been growing and evolving at a steady rate over the last couple of years, the levels of interest from developers, investors and potential residents are really starting to pick up,” said Robert Suris, founder and principal of EIG. “The entire area is on the cusp of some major activity and we’re going to be ready.”

The five-story project was designed by Caymares Martin Architectural and Engineering Design. The majority of the retail space would be part of live/work apartment units. There would also be a 297-space parking garage.

Amenities would include a pool deck on the third floor, a gym, a party room, a dog park and a playground. --October 24, 2018 South Florida Business Journal article

Fore Property (Kissimmee, Florida) -- The company is building a 384-unit apartment building that is located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Fore Property secured a $49.6-million loan to develop 19 South, a 384-unit apartment community located in a qualified opportunity zone in Kissimmee, FL. BBVA provided the loan for the development of the project, which is a joint venture between Fore Property and Canyon Partners Real Estate LLC.

The LEED-designed, wood-framed development will consist of four, four-story residential buildings, featuring a mix of studio, one, two and three-bedroom floor plans. The residences will offer such contemporary features as chef-inspired gourmet kitchens, quartz countertops, energy-efficient stainless-steel appliances, walk-in closets,  and hardwood-style flooring.

19 South offers convenient access to the Osceola Parkway, Florida Turnpike, and John Young Parkway, as well as downtown Kissimmee, Lake Nona Medical City, Walt Disney World Resort and Orlando International Airport. -- April 3, 2020 Connect Media article

JWV Real Estate (Jacksonville, Florida) -- The company announced that they are building shipping container apartments in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Plans for Jacksonville-based JWB Real Estate Capital's shipping container apartments are moving forward, with revised plans submitted Sep. 20.

The Ashley Street Container Lofts will consist of 18 apartment units totaling 2,280 square feet constructed from shipping containers, according to the plans prepared by Kimley Horn. Plans for the project on 0.13 acres at 412 East Ashley Street were first submitted in June.

The site is in the Cathedral District and is located in an opportunity zone, meaning it is eligible to serve as a tax shelter for capital gains. JWB purchased the property in February through an affiliate for $52,500. -- September 23, 2019 Jacksonville Business Journal article

Santa Fe College (Gainesville, Florida) -- The college is expanding their Center for Innovation and Economic Development which is located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Santa Fe College announced two weeks ago that it had received a $4.8 million federal grant to aid in the rebuild and expansion of its Center for Innovation and Economic Development (CIED) at the Blount Center.

About $1.2 million in state funding will also go toward the project, which, according to a news release, will "support the development and growth of new business sectors by rebuilding and expanding the College Center for Innovation and Economic Development."

"How this grant can help Santa Fe is how we can help our community," said Kathryn Lehman, director of grants and projects. "Because that's really the purpose of the college."

The CIED's entrepreneur incubator has helped 150 new companies get off the ground, including local companies Student Maid and Altavian, according to Lehman. She estimates the economic impact on the community to be in the millions.

College officials hope to have the facility completed and open by the spring of 2021, according to Liam McClay, assistant to the president for innovation and governmental affairs.

It will also be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone. According to the IRS, an Opportunity Zone is an "economically-distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment."

"By sending grant funds to a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, the investment in rebuilding and expanding Santa Fe College's CIED facility will not only grow new business sectors including IT, technology and other knowledge-based industries, but also attract additional investment with special tax incentives," said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

The federal portion of the grant comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration. -- June 5, 2019 Gainesville Sun article

TSG Group and Linéaire Group (Miami, Florida) -- The companies are developing an apartment tower that will include retail space located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

TSG Group and Linéaire Group, both based in Miami, paid $5.9 million for the 30,000-square-foot, six-lot vacant property at 1765 N. Miami Ave. on March 14.

They plan to develop an 18-to 24-story apartment tower with ground-floor retail. Construction is set to start in early 2020 and finish in early 2022.

The property northeast of Miami Avenue and 17th Street is in an opportunity zone, one of many areas across the U.S. poised to get an influx of investment under a change in federal law.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created the opportunity zone concept, allowing investors to defer taxes on their capital gains from commercial ventures and put the gains into opportunity zone developments. -- April 3, 2019 Palm Beach Daily Business Review article

Affiliated Development LLC (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) -- The company is building an apartment complex located within an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Construction started on The Six13 apartment building in Fort Lauderdale after the developer secured $19.3 million in project financing.

Affiliated Development LLC, a Fort Lauderdale-based multifamily developer, obtained the loan from City National Bank on April 4 for the six-story development, which will have 142 one and two bedroom units.

The Six13, named for its location at 613 NW Third Ave. in the Progresso Village neighborhood, will have a 197-space garage and 5,991 square feet of ground-floor commercial space, including a restaurant.

Like other apartment projects rising in South Florida urban cores, it will have out-of-the-box amenities such as a gated dog park, a residents only bike-share program, co-working space and a fourth-floor pool with cabanas.

But unlike other new apartment projects, it won't come with the sometimes cost-prohibitive rents as Affiliated has vowed Thee Six13 will be more attainable.

The planned rents are good news for residents who work in Fort Lauderdale's urban core but can't afford to live there, Burns said.

"We wanted to provide them an opportunity to live close to where they work, close to where they play," he said.

The project also is in an opportunity zone, a state-designated distressed areas where investors can grab tax advantages.

While the opportunity zone doesn't necessarily translate to lower rents, it was how the developer secured the remaining $14 million in financing.

The so-called OZ program created by the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 allows investors to defer paying taxes on the capital gains they invest in opportunity zones, while areas that could use the help get the financial boost.

The federal program dictates that investors place their capital gains in a qualified opportunity zone fund. -- April 17, 2019 Palm Beach Daily Business Review article

Seaward Landing (Marathon, Florida) -- The company announced they are building rental units that will be located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

 Index Investment Group announces its newest development, Seaward Landing coming to construction completion in June 2020. The community consists of 45 multifamily workforce housing rental units situated on the Atlantic Ocean. The property is located at 8700 Overseas Highway in the heart of the Florida Keys, Marathon. The project has received a lot of community interest and is projected to obtain a certificate of occupancy in June and commence pre-leasing in May.

Index acquired the property in late 2016 and held the property until it commenced construction of the project in late 2018. Located in an Certified Opportunity Zone on a 3-acre site in the heart of Marathon, adjacent to the Marathon International Airport, on US Highway 1 is well situated for locals living and working in the Keys. The development features a leasing office, 45 multifamily units made up of one, two and three-bedroom units with amenities including a dog park and play area, all within walking distance of the Atlantic Ocean. -- May 5, 2020 Index Investment Group press release

EJF Capital LLC and Chance Partners LLC (Jacksonville, Florida) -- The company announced they are building an apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

EJF Capital LLC (“EJF”) and Chance Partners LLC (“Chance Partners”) today announced the acquisition of a 284-unit multifamily housing community under development in the San Marco neighborhood of Jacksonville, FL. The project, known as San Marco Promenade (the “Project”), is expected to be complete in the third quarter of 2020 in an area certified as an “Opportunity Zone” under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (“TCJA”). The TCJA offers investors tax benefits to invest into Opportunity Zones with the aim of spurring economic growth in lower income areas. -- April 29, 2020 EJF Capital LLC and Chance Partners LLC press release

BTI Partners (Hollywood, Florida) -- The firm is building an apartment building that is located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

The 25-story Parc Place was originally approved for Hollywood-based MG3 Developer Group in October 2018. The 3.24-acre site is now under contract to Fort Lauderdale-based BTI Partners, led by veteran commercial developer Noah Breakstone.

The project would rise at 1727-1745 Van Buren St., 1700-1716 Harrison St., and 1740-1760 South Young Circle. It would replace the "Hollywood Bread" building, an 11-story structure that has been shuttered for years.

The project is in an Opportunity Zone, which could create significant tax savings for the developer. -- October 9, 2019 South Florida Business Journal article

Taplin Development Corp. (Hallandale Beach, Florida) -- The company is building 320 apartment units, a 120 key hotel, and retail stores in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A high-rise apartment and hotel project is planned for an Opportunity Zone in Hallandale Beach.

Taplin Development Corp., led by Jack Taplin, received approval from the city to build 320 apartments and a 120-key hotel with a retail component across from Gulfstream Park, according to a release. The project will be called the Falls at Gulfstream and the property will consist of a 23-story building at 900 South Federal Highway.

The Class A property will have a rooftop bar overlooking the finish line at Gulfstream Park. The property is also adjacent to the Village at Gulfstream Park, an upscale shopping center.

The federal Opportunity Zone program allows developers and investors to receive a tax incentive if they invest in one of the more than 8,700 zones throughout the country. The program was designed to encourage investment in low-income and distressed areas, but has come under scrutiny as a tax break for wealthy developers.

“We are currently seeking Opportunity Zone joint venture equity to meet the end of the year zone deadline,” Taplin said in a statement. -- November 13, 2019 The Real Deal article

Don Ramon Restaurant (West Palm Beach Florida) -- The Cuban restaurant gave pay raises and bonuses to employees and purchased new coffee machines and refrigerators in order to renovate and expand:

As the owner of Don Ramon Restaurant in West Palm Beach, I know the positive impact of small business better than most.

Because of the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we will pay lower taxes and qualify for higher deductions, leaving Don Ramon in a better position than ever before. We plan to open a takeout window and set up a customer bar, which would generate up to eight new jobs. We will also install new refrigerators and coffee machines, in addition to making much-needed renovations to better serve our customers.

Perhaps most important, all of our key employees received generous bonuses in December, and they will also see pay increases in the coming weeks. We take great pride in rewarding our workers, and the new tax code makes it much easier to do so. -- Feb. 3, 2018 Palm Beach Post op-ed excerpt

Orb Development (Boca Raton, Florida) -- The company announced they will be creating a mixed-use building that will house 131 apartments in addition to retail space, located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Locally-based Orb Development and joint venture partner Pebb Capital of Boca Raton has acquired a 0.25-acre Qualified Opportunity Zone site here and plans to build a mixed-use project there.

The property is located at 155 Chestnut St. in the Innovation District, previously known as the Jewelry District. The partnership plans to construct a modular 110,000-square-foot, Class A, mixed-use development that will feature 131 multifamily units and approximately 8,600 square feet of retail space at the quarter-acre site. -- September 20, 2019 Palm Beach Business Review article

Columbia Ventures LLC (Jacksonville, Florida) -- The company is converting a warehouse into 200 affordable apartment units in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

LISC Real Estate and Lending Officer Chuck Shealy told the Business Journal on March 12 that the developers planned a project costing around $50 million that would include 200 apartment units and 30,000 square feet of "commercial creative/maker space." Apartments would rent at affordable to workforce rates, tiers pegged to the area's median income.
 
LISC, which focuses on projects that produce affordable housing, often provides bridge loans and other flexible lending options to projects in the downtown area.
 
"A good portion of the building was occupied by artists, photographers, wood workers – craftsmen of those types," said Shealy. "They want to keep that element in the project."
 
The developers expect to start construction in June, Shealy said. Columbia Ventures Managing Partner Dillon Baynes did not return a call for comment Monday.
 
Columbia's secured funding, which, among other items, includes money from LISC and the tax shelter benefits of an opportunity zone, is about $4.5 million short of the project's budget, Shealy said. The company plans to ask the city for that sum, he said. -- March 30, 2020 Jacksonville Business Journal article

Home 2/Tru by Hilton (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) -- Construction of new hotel in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

As investors rushed to invest in Opportunity Zones before the end of the year, Driftwood Acquisitions & Development and Merrimac Ventures locked in their first deal in the federal tax program.

The Coral Gables-based investment firm Driftwood and Fort Lauderdale-based Merrimac closed a deal through an Opportunity Zone fund by raising $24 million to develop a 218-key dual-branded hotel. The Home 2/Tru by Hilton will be built at 315-333 Northwest 1st Avenue in Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village. The deal closed right before the end of the year, allowing investors to take advantage of the largest possible tax benefit in the Opportunity Zones program.

The deal also comes on the heels of the long awaited final regulations released by the U.S. Treasury and the IRS late last month, which experts say gives real estate investors the clarity to start putting money into Opportunity Zone real estate projects.

Jorge L. Gomez-Moller, Driftwood’s general counsel, said investment in the company’s Opportunity Zone fund has come from retail investors as well as wealthy family offices looking to take advantage of lucrative cash breaks. The project is expected to be completed within the first quarter of 2020.

The Flagler Village project is one of the few Opportunity Zone projects in South Florida in which investors will begin seeing cash flow in the next few months. Many other Opportunity Zone projects are in pre-development stages, according to Gomez-Moller.

Tucked into President Trump’s 2017 tax legislation, the Opportunity Zones initiative’s goal is to encourage private investment in distressed communities by allowing investors and real estate developers to defer or forgo paying capital gains taxes if they invest in one of the more than 8,700 zones throughout the country. -- January 3, 2020 The Real Deal article

Benada Aluminum Products LLC. (Sanford, Florida) - Increased production capacity:

“It’s given us relief. We’re able to get some margins back,” said Jim Piperato, president of Benada Aluminum LLC, a Florida-based producer of aluminum framing for patio and pool enclosures.

Mr. Piperato said the company, owned by private equity firms Big Shoulders Capital and ABGB Capital, recently increased production capacity by 50% to expand into the door and window frame market.

“Our business has been extremely strong.” he said. “Most of the customers I’ve spoken to say there’s no end in sight.” - July 17, 2018, Wall Street Journal article excerpt

Canyon Partners Real Estate LLC and Fore Property (Orlando, Florida) -- The real estate company is building a new apartment community in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: 

Canyon Partners Real Estate LLC and Fore Property have formed a joint venture to develop 19 South, a 384-unit apartment community here. Canyon invested $29.8 million of equity into this project, which is located within a qualified opportunity zone. Construction is slated to begin in March 2020 and achieve completion by May 2022.

A spokesperson for Fore tells GlobeSt.com that 19 South is a 4-story, wood-framed development that is LEED-designed and will feature two resort-style courtyard pools, a modern arcade and gaming area, a 24-hour fitness center, an outdoor park area, as well as a fitness trail. -- January 23, 2020 GlobeSt.Com article

Old Sistrunk Distillery (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) -- Rapper Flo Rida is opening a vodka distillery in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

It’s only fitting for rapper Flo Rida to build his new vodka distillery in Florida.

The 40-year-old multiplatinum artist is going beyond the music charts as the co-owner and brand ambassador of Old Sistrunk Distillery, according to a Tuesday report from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The 13,000-square-foot venue is set to open either in late 2020 or early 2021 in one of Fort Lauderdale’s minority neighborhoods.

Old Sistrunk Distillery will pour Victor George Vodka, a brand co-owned by music execturned entrepreneur Victor G. Harvey. Flo Rida will serve as an equity partner and brand ambassador for the company, which is hyper-focused on distilling the popular Russian spirit.

“I have known Mr. Harvey for years and I’ve seen his grind, hard work and enthusiasm in building his brand,” Flo Rida said in a press statement. He added that he looks forward to “developing new products through the construction of a distillery in historic Sistrunk and empowering the community.”

In November, Harvey paid $75,000 for a 6,306-square-foot lot in Sistrunk, according to real estate news company The Real Deal. The property is considered an “Opportunity Zone,” which means any development could qualify for potential tax benefits such as deferred federal taxes on capital gains until 2026 because the federal government views investment in low-income areas as a positive.

“Opportunity zones are an economic development tool—that is, they are designed to spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities,” the IRS has written on the matter.

Harvey appears to be in agreement with the economic decision. Sistrunk is Fort Lauderdale’s oldest African American community and the median income in the very area the distillery is being built is $36,372, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which is significantly less than Fort Lauderdale’s overall median income of $55,269.

“What we are building in the Sistrunk community is exactly what the area needs," Harvey said in a press release. "A place to dine, drink, and socialize without having to leave the area.”

The three-story distillery will be located at 1012 Sistrunk Blvd. and will include a tasting room, restaurant, lounge, cigar and wine bar. -- January 23, 2020 Yahoo Finance article

EJF Capital and Chance Partners (Jacksonville, Florida) -- Announced they are building a new housing community which will create a significant amount of construction jobs as well as property management positions. 

EJF Capital LLC (“EJF”) and Chance Partners (“Chance”) today announced the development of a two-building, 486-unit multifamily housing community in the historic San Marco neighborhood of Jacksonville, FL. The project, known as San Marco Crossing (the “Project”), is being developed on nearly nine acres consisting of three parcels in an area certified as an “Opportunity Zone” under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (“TCJA”). The TCJA offers investors attractive tax benefits to invest into Opportunity Zones to create economic growth in lower income areas. The approximately $86 million project expects to break ground in Q3 2019 and plans to open in Q4 2020. Ameris Bank, with participation from Stifel Bank, is providing $51 million of construction financing.

“EJF continues to identify and execute on attractive Opportunity Zone investments across the U.S. and bring our financial resources and real estate operating expertise to communities that need it most,” said EJF Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Neal Wilson. “We are excited to partner with Chance Partners on San Marco Crossing, which will bring high-quality multifamily units to this growing area and create a significant number of construction jobs as well as permanent property management positions. We believe small businesses in San Marco will also benefit from the added economic vitality that results from the spending power of about 700 expected new residents.” -- June 28, 2019 Business Wire

Darden Restaurants (Orlando, Florida) - workforce investments:

Olive Garden owner Darden Restaurants on Monday said it would reinvest $20 million in tax savings this year back into its workforce.
 

The Orlando, Fla.-based casual-dining operator said that tax reform would lower its effective tax rate by 600 basis points in its current fiscal year, due to changes made under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December.

--

“One of the best investments we can make is in our people,” Darden CEO Gene Lee said in a statement. “This investment will strengthen one of our most important competitive advantages.” - March 15, 2019 Restaurant Business Online article excerpts

 

Massage Envy (locations across Florida) - Increased worker pay and facilities remodeling:

“I’m a manager and a massage therapist at Massage Envy. My employers own seven of Massage Envys. So for me I guess what they’ve done is what’s affected me most. They’ve really reinvested into the company. We’ve got a total overhaul remodel of everything top to bottom, front to back and that’s been great for business. They have given every single person in our clinic an increase in compensation and just have changed the quality of our lives greatly. I mean in the last three years I’ve doubled my salary with what they’ve been able to do and so personally for me how that translates into my life is that you know both of my kids have their own cars so they can drive and I don’t have to share a car with them. I’m able to finish an internship that I’ve been doing in mental health counseling. I had finished my academic requirements a year ago and just couldn’t take off work to finish the internship. I’m in it and I’ll be done in October and I’m not losing any money and not losing any time with my children or anything like that. So it’s been pretty awesome for me. I appreciate it a lot. I know my employers do as well.” - April 17, 2018 Tax Talk Roundtable, Kasey Moore, Manager at Massage Envy

Arthrex Inc. (North Naples, Florida) – Pay raises and $1,000 bonuses:

The company has given all of its U.S. employees either a $1 an hour pay increase or a one-time bonus of $1,000.

In the news release, Schmieding attributed the decision to boost pay for U.S. workers in part to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which lowered the federal corporate income tax rate and to the deferral of the medical device tax for the next two years nationwide. -- April 27, 2018 Naples Daily News article excerpt

Landmark Reporting, Inc.  (Orlando, Florida) — $500 bonus checks for all three employees:

“I own a small business in Orlando, Florida with three employees. It is a business that I DID BUILD and have owned and operated for over 35 years. After I saw the increase in take-home pay in all of our paychecks after President Trump’s tax cut implementation, I wrote bonus checks of $500 each to my employees. On the Memo line, it’s labeled 'President Trump Tax Cut Bonus.’ — Candy Morgan, owner, Landmark Reporting, Inc.

Crowley Maritime Corporation (Jacksonville, Florida) - Employee bonuses:

Hill, a Crowley employee for more than 24 years, extolled real-world benefits of the tax cuts, including helping her pay for her sons’ college expenses.

Crowley Maritime “used its benefit from tax reform to pay employees bonuses,” Hill said.

“Crowley Maritime is a fantastic company,” she added. “I’ve been there 24 years. I’m very honored to work for such a great company and for the company to benefit from such a great tax opportunity, which they were able to give back to the employees.” - May 29, 2018, Florida Politics article excerpt

Liberty Landscape Supply (Jacksonville, Florida) - Expanding operations and services offered to customers, hiring a new employee:

Mike Zaffaroni calls the newest piece of equipment at his landscaping company in Jacksonville, Florida, his “Tax Cut Truck.”

He had long wanted to expand the services he offers to his customers and says the tax cuts President Donald J. Trump signed into law six months ago were the motivation he needed to buy the $80,000 truck and forklift.

“Without the tax cuts, we’re not so sure it would have been the right move for us financially,” he said.

Under the new tax law, Mr. Zaffaroni will be able to write off the entire cost of the purchase this year. Along with the lower tax rates and other benefits of the law, he says his accountant estimates he’ll save 7 percent to 10 percent on his taxes this year. That’s a big saving for a small company like his, and it’s money he’ll reinvest in his business.

“We’re going to be able to expand, we’re going to add a product line, we’ll be able to deliver more materials than we were able to before,” Mr. Zaffaroni said. “We’ve actually already hired another driver, so that also adds another job.”

I toured Mr. Zaffaroni’s company, Liberty Landscape Supply, soon after he was named Florida’s National Small Business Person of the Year, and just days after the truck was delivered.

“It makes it very real,” he told me. “A lot of America doesn’t really understand the implication these tax cuts have on each individual small business.” - June 29, 2018, White House article excerpt

 

Cogent Building Group -- the firm builds homes in Santa Rosa Beach, and gave $2,000 bonuses for all four employees.

Tampa Electric (Tampa, Florida) – The utility is passing along tax reform savings to customers:

Tampa Electric bills won’t rise to pay for Hurricane Irma restoration costs, thanks to new tax savings. The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) unanimously approved the measure today.

Because of recent changes made to the federal tax law, customers will directly benefit. What Tampa Electric would have paid in corporate income taxes will instead be used to cover the cost of restoring power after Hurricane Irma and several other earlier named storms. Additionally, Tampa Electric bills will reflect the ongoing benefits from tax reform starting in 2019. – March 1, 2018, Tampa Electric Press Release

Duke Energy Florida (St. Petersburg, Florida) – the utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

Duke Energy Florida today announced that customers will directly benefit from the new federal tax law and avoid a rate increase for power restoration costs associated with the company's response to last September's Hurricane Irma.

Instead of increasing customer rates, the company plans to apply federal tax reform savings toward those storm costs.

On Dec. 28, 2017, the company had filed for recovery of $513 million – $381 million for power restoration costs and $132 million to replenish the storm reserve fund. Residential customers would have seen an increase of $5.20 per 1,000 kWh of electricity on a typical monthly bill over a three-year recovery period – an average of $187.20. Commercial and industrial customers were expected to see an increase of approximately 2.5 to 6.6 percent, though bills would have varied depending on a number of factors.

Like many companies, Duke Energy has been working to analyze the benefits of tax reform.

"We are pleased that this solution will prevent a rate increase for our customers," said Harry Sideris, Duke Energy Florida state president. "Hurricane Irma was the worst storm to ever hit Duke Energy Florida and impacted many lives. Redirecting the tax reform savings against the storm costs ensures that our customers will reap the benefits of this new law." -- Jan. 24, 2018 Duke Energy Florida press release

T.J. Maxx91 stores in Florida – 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

Ryder (Headquartered in Miami, multiple retail locations in Florida) – Tax reform bonuses for all non-incentive bonus eligible employees, totaling $23 million:

In connection with the anticipated benefit of the Tax Act, the Company awarded a one-time cash bonus, estimated to be approximately $23 million or $0.27 per diluted share, to all non-incentive bonus eligible employees of the Company employed on December 31, 2017. The bonus will be paid to eligible employees in February 2018. -- Jan. 29, 2018 Ryder System, Inc. filing

RGF Environmental Group, Inc. (Riviera Beach, Florida) -- $1,000 bonuses:

“We, as a privately held manufacturing firm in Riviera Beach, Florida, will benefit greatly from the Tax Reform act recently passed. Because of this savings, we have given all our employees a $1,000 Bonus (This is in addition to their 2017 year-end bonuses. – Sharon B. Rinehimer, Executive Vice President/General Counsel, RGF Environmental Group, Inc.

Spellex Corporation (Tampa, Florida) -- $1,000 bonuses for all 26 full-time employees:

"I'm the founder and CEO of Spellex Corporation located in Tampa, FL. We're a software development company which I founded in 1988. This is the first time I've done anything like this. I'm hoping there are thousands of companies like mine who gave their employees $1,000 bonuses to show our support for the new tax plan which will ultimately help the middle class." -- Sheldon Wolf, CEO, Spellex Corporation

The Flood Insurance Agency (Gainesville, Florida) -- $1,000 bonuses for 17 full time employees:

“Small businesses represent almost 75% of all jobs in the USA and the new tax laws benefit many those businesses. Their allocation of additional after tax income could be what causes a wave to turn into a tsunami of economic growth that moves the USA to a destiny defined by everyone’s hopes and dreams. 

My hope is that our insurance industry leads the way with both large public insurance corporations and small insurance agencies announcing their plans for leveraging their tax savings toward a bright American future. My hope is that news media does their part by reporting every announcement building awareness of the growing tsunami. 

I want our company to participate in that tsunami. I want our employees to help define that destiny. Our company is a mid-size insurance MGA with approximately $15 million of revenue. On Tuesday December 26th we announced a $1000 bonus for all our full time employees.” – CEO Evan Hecht

CenterState Bank (Davenport, Florida) – $1,000 bonuses to non-officer employees:

CenterState also finds itself competing more with major regional banks for customers and employees, so — following in the footsteps of other leading financial institutions — it is giving $1,000 bonuses to its non-officer employees as a result of the new tax law. About 700 workers, or 60 percent of the company’s employees as of Dec. 31, will receive the bonus, CenterState said in a Jan. 19 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. – Jan. 19 Tampa Bay Business Journal article excerpt

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 13,331 Florida employees; Nationwide, $1 billion increase in capital expenditures.

Fleet Advantage (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) – New options for customers thanks to immediate business expensing in the tax bill:

The changes to the tax law for 2018 as a result of Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017 have led more fleets to consider vehicle leasing, and many of those are smaller fleets and owner-operators who may have only sought out equipment on the used market previously.

James C. Griffin Jr., COO & CTO of Fleet Advantage, said the company has launched new flexible leasing programs in response to the tax changes to help fleets achieve more balance-sheet benefits.

“We got ahead of the tax changes and have some new lease products that take advantage of the tax changes,” Griffin said. Leases now hit the balance sheet at “net present value,” he said.

In addition to the depreciation aspect of the tax plan, Griffin said the flat 21% tax on corporations has also allowed Fleet Advantage to “do a little more predictable planning for our customers.

“A lot of organizations are looking at this as an opportunity to upgrade their fleets,” he noted. “[And] our model is really starting to resonate, so we’ve seen a huge uptick [in business].”April 30, 2018 FreightWaves article excerpt

Apple (18 Apple store locations in Florida: Altamonte Springs, Aventura, Boca Raton, Brandon, Estero, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami Beach, Miami Brickell City Centre, Miami Dadeland, Miami The Falls, Naples, Orlando Florida Mall, Orlando Millenia, Palm Beach Gardens, Sarasota, Tampa, Wellington) --

$2,500 employee bonuses in the form of restricted stock units; $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

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

Walmart -- 67,500 Floridians employed at 328 Walmart stores will receive tax reform bonuses and wage increases and expanded maternity and parental leave. Walmart employees who adopt children will be given $5,000 to help cover expenses.

Lowes 21,000 employees at 123 stores and two distribution centers in Florida. Employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service, expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; and $5,000 of adoption assistance.

Home Depot -- 153 locations in Florida, Florida-based Home Depot employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000.

Starbucks Coffee Company -- (Multiple locations in Florida) -- $500 stock grants for all Starbucks retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plan and support center employee stock grants, totaling more than $100 million nationwide in stock grants; 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 Florida) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.

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

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

FifthThird Bancorp150 locations in Florida; $1,000 bonuses; base wage will increase to $15 per hour.

Wells Fargo -- 614 bank locations in Florida -- Base wage raised from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour; $400 million in charitable donations for 2018; $100 million increased capital investment over next three years. 

Walt Disney Company -- Florida-based Disney employees will receive $1,000 bonuses and benefit from the nationwide $50 million investment in employee education programs.

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

 

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

Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey/Flickr

More from Americans for Tax Reform


Biden’s Tax and Patronage Trade Policy

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Posted by Philip Thompson & Chrysa Kazakou on Thursday, September 24th, 2020, 3:16 PM PERMALINK

Joe Biden, once admitted he is not “an expert on international trade matters”. President Donald Trump has left as his legacy the modernization of NAFTA with the implementation of the USMCA, which provides the strongest protections against digital trade barriers of any trade agreement. A Biden presidency would add more taxes to international trade, add costly border regulations, benefit only well-connected organized labor, and if any agreement is reached, he’ll likely abandon it at congress.

On the other hand, Trump signed every trade deal he tasked USTR Ambassador Robert Lighthizer with negotiating: Korea, China, Japan, and most recently the USMCA. On the 2021 trade agenda Trump has negotiations with the UK, EU, India, and Kenya in the works.

Will a Biden presidency be able to carry a trade negotiation into a signed agreement and then through Congress for implementation? His record is not promising, Biden supported NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and then came out against both of them when faced with the slightest criticism.

But, before it gets there, what would Biden negotiate? Time and time again, Biden promised to repeal the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) “on day one.”  As part of his plan to raise taxes by an estimated $4 trillion. So, yes, Biden’s trade policy includes more taxes.

 His proposal has three chief components:

- In addition to raising the corporate rate to 28% Biden calls for a 10% “offshoring penalty surtax” on profits from manufactured goods or services produced by American companies overseas and then imported.

-  Adding a carbon border tax, or quota, on carbon-intensive goods in order to escalate trade wars

- An additional $400 billion in public procurement spending, much forced to be spent on pork barrel patronage,  along with restrictive trade rules that would violate WTO obligations and invite tariff retaliation.

Biden proposal, framed as an oxymoron “Pro-American Tax and Trade Strategy" will create new challenges for U.S. businesses at home, abroad, and hurt their ability to compete on a competitive playing field. Ultimately it would culminate in greater uncertainty in the market.  

The fundamental flaw of Biden’s trade policy is that its designed for an audience of one: well-connected union bosses. His Made in America plan claims unions are essential to democracy, economic stability, and markets. However, only 10% of American workers are members of a union, the lowest participation rate ever recorded. Certainly, the other 90 percent of American workers are also vital to democracy and the economy. Yet, Biden seems to target their work for extra taxes and provide carveouts to the few- creating a trade policy that works only for the few.

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Biden Tax Plan Will Erode American Competitiveness On The World Stage

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Thursday, September 24th, 2020, 1:15 PM PERMALINK

Democrat Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s tax hike plan will erode America’s competitive advantage in the global economy, which could result in American jobs being shipped overseas and a return of corporate inversions.

Biden’s plan includes several tax increases on American businesses, including a 21 percent minimum tax on “ALL foreign earnings” of U.S. companies. Biden also proposes raising the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent, a 33 percent increase that would give the United States one of the highest rates in the developed world. In addition, Biden calls for imposing a 15 percent minimum tax on “book income” which will disallow companies from claiming widely-used credits and deductions and proposes an unspecified tax on “shipping jobs overseas.”

Biden’s tax on foreign earnings will impose a worldwide system of taxation that will lead to double taxation on American businesses and make it difficult for them to compete against foreign companies. Under Biden’s plan, an American business operating in the United Kingdom will face British taxes and then American taxes. By comparison, a British business operating in the U.S. will only pay U.S. taxes because the UK has a territorial system that taxes income only if it is earned in that country.

Before President Trump and Congressional Republicans passed the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the U.S. was one of the few countries with a worldwide system of taxation. At the time, 26 nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) had territorial systems including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, and the UK. This system, in combination with the fact that the U.S. also had the highest corporate rate in the OECD at 35 percent, meant that American businesses could not compete on the world stage.

This uncompetitive system was causing businesses to invert, which occurred when a U.S. business merged with or acquired a foreign business with the intent of incorporating the new, combined entity overseas. Between 2004 and 2014, almost 50 American businesses left the country through inversions, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

American businesses were also vulnerable to being acquired by foreign companies. According to a study released by EY, American companies also suffered a net loss of almost $510 billion in assets between 2004 and 2017. This was because the high U.S. rate and worldwide tax system meant non-U.S. companies could outbid U.S. companies.

If America’s corporate rate was at a globally competitive rate, the study estimates that U.S. companies would have acquired a net of $1.2 trillion worth of assets, meaning that more than $1.7 trillion in assets were lost in the 15-year period.

The TCJA addressed the root cause of these problems – the bill lowered the corporate rate to 21 percent and repealed the worldwide tax system and implemented a modern, more competitive territorial system of taxation which taxed businesses based on where income is earned. This law put a stop to inversions and encouraged companies to begin coming back to America.

However, Biden will undo this progress.

Not only will he impose double taxation on American businesses, he will raise the corporate tax rate back up to 28 percent, which will again make the U.S. rate one of the highest rates in the developed world and higher than China’s 25 percent rate. 

Many countries also have lower rates for certain types of investment in order to encourage innovation. For instance, China has a 15% rate for industries including high tech enterprises, while the United Kingdom has a 10 percent “patent box” rate for businesses that depend on patented inventions and innovations.

The U.S. is already lagging behind when it comes to promoting research and development. According to a Manufacturing Leadership Council study, the U.S. ranks 26th in R&D tax incentives when ranking the 36 developed countries in the OECD.

Moving forward, we should be enacting policies that ensure American businesses can compete and thrive in the global economy. President Trump and Congressional Republicans have called for tax credits that will incentivize continued investment in the U.S. 

Rather than calling for trillions in tax increases on American businesses, Biden should join with Republicans in acting to help American businesses.

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How the Trump Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping North Carolina

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, September 24th, 2020, 9:50 AM PERMALINK

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have threatened numerous times to repeal the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on "Day One." But North Carolina is benefiting greatly from the tax cuts enacted by congressional Republicans and President Trump:

153,310 North Carolina households are no longer stuck paying the much-loathed individual mandate tax, thanks to the TCJA's elimination of this tax. 77% of NC households hit with this tax made less than $50,000 per year. Be warned, Joe Biden wants to bring this tax back from the dead, one of the many reasons Biden can't be trusted on taxes.

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.

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

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

The Raleigh Rum Company (Raleigh, North Carolina) – The 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.

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

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

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

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

“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

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

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

"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

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

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 constructing an apartment building 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 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.

The [Opportunity Zone] 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.

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.

"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." -- 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

Stratifyd (Charlotte, North Carolina) -- The data analytics firm will be moving to 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

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

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 are passing 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

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 (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

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

 

 

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Coalition of 66 Conservative Groups Support Pebble Mine Permitting

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Posted by Mike Palicz on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020, 1:20 PM PERMALINK

Today, Americans for Tax Reform joined a coalition of 66 conservative organizations urging President Trump to reject political meddling in the Pebble Mine permitting decision and to allow the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue the necessary permits for the project to move forward. 

Alaska's proposed Pebble Mine Project, one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits, is approaching the final stage of its permitting process. After clearing its final environmental review from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in July, the project is anticipated to receive a final Record of Decision from the Trump Administration in the coming weeks.

Pebble Mine has long been the poster-child of critical projects delayed by a broken permitting process. House Democrats have renewed efforts to obstruct Pebble’s permitting process by blocking funding for the Army Corps to issue permitting while the Obama Administration went as far as rendering a preemptive veto to prevent the mine from even receiving a proper environmental review. Last year, the Trump Administration righted this wrong by withdrawing Obama’s preemptive veto, allowing the project to move through the standard review process.

In a letter addressed to President Trump, the signing organizations “applaud the progress made so far on [The President’s] broad regulatory reform agenda and strongly support [his] continuing efforts to remove obstacles to environmental permitting of natural resource and infrastructure projects."

However, the letter’s signers warn that they are “disturbed by reports of White House meddling in the permitting process for the Pebble Mine in Alaska. It recalls the bad old days when the Obama administration misused its Clean Water Act authority and used bogus science to veto the project before an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) had even been submitted.”

President Trump recently reassured Americans that politics would be removed from the Pebble Mine decision by tweeting, “Don’t worry, wonderful & beautiful Alaska, there will be NO POLITICS in the Pebble Mine Review Process. I will do what is right for Alaska and our great Country!!!”

Americans for Tax Reform applauds President Trump for promising to keep politics out of the permitting decision and for enacting real reforms to fix a broken permitting process. ATR urges President Trump to fulfill his promise by allowing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue the necessary permits for the project to move forward.

The letter is below:

September 23, 2020

Dear President Trump,

In a speech on July 16 before an enthusiastic audience on the South Lawn, you proudly marked the progress that your administration has made in its "historic campaign to rescue American workers from job-killing regulations." Conservatives applaud the progress made so far on your broad regulatory reform agenda and strongly support your continuing efforts to remove obstacles to environmental permitting of natural resource and infrastructure projects.

That is why many of us were disturbed by reports of White House meddling in the permitting process for the Pebble Mine in Alaska. It recalls the bad old days when the Obama administration misused its Clean Water Act authority and used bogus science to veto the project before an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) had even been submitted.

Political interference in the EIS process was inappropriate then, and it is inappropriate now. In preparing its EIS, the company developing the Pebble Mine spent over $150 million on scientific studies considering every possible environmental impact of building and operating the mine. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers then conducted the EIS process in a professional and thorough way as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. After this exhaustive review lasting more than a year, the Corps issued its final EIS in July, which concluded that the mine would not negatively impact the environment and in particular would not harm Bristol Bay's extensive salmon fisheries.

Before the Corps made its final record of decision, old claims were again raised that the mine would threaten the salmon and destroy hunting and fishing opportunities for wealthy sportsmen. Regardless of the source of these claims -- whether from White House insiders, campaign donors, media personalities, or environmental pressure groups -- it is critical to consider that these claims were fully considered by the Army Corps in the EIS process and dismissed on the basis of overwhelming scientific evidence.

Nonetheless, and apparently because of political intervention, the Corps has since required further environmental mitigation before issuing its record of decision. While the company prepares to submit its mitigation plan, we urge you to order that the regulatory process now move forward in strict accordance with the law and without further delays based on groundless claims.

There are at least three important reasons why derailing the permitting process for the Pebble Mine would be disastrous. First, killing the first major project to be permitted since your July speech would undermine the credibility of your deregulatory efforts. In particular, it would discourage the mining industry, which is at a low ebb in the United States as the result of decades of regulatory suffocation, from making other multi-billion dollar investments to take advantage of America's vast mineral potential.

Second, the mine is vital to the economic future for the people living in the Bristol Bay watershed (an area the size of Ohio) and for the State of Alaska. It is located in a remote area where there are few jobs for native villagers and where endemic poverty has fostered serious social dislocations.The recent collapse in oil prices is a painful reminder that Alaska's economy is overly dependent on oil production and must diversify if it is to flourish in the future.

Third, the mine's economic benefits go far beyond the jobs in Alaska. The Pebble ore body contains colossal quantities of copper, gold, and molybdenum, as well other strategic minerals such as rare earths. The mine will provide minerals that are critical to high-tech industries in America and the world. It will also create tens of billions of dollars of economic activity across the country. In this regard, reports that China opposes the mine, presumably because it would lessen U.S. dependence on China for strategic minerals, comes as no surprise.

The Pebble Mine, although a mere pinprick on the vast Alaska landscape, would create enormous wealth and provide immense economic benefits to America. We urge you to prohibit any further political meddling and let the Corps proceed to issue the permits necessary for this important project to move forward. Thank you for your attention to our concerns.

Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force

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RSC Framework Will Help American Workers Get Back To Work

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020, 9:45 AM PERMALINK

The Republican Study Committee’s American Worker Task Force has released a report called “Reclaiming the American Dream: Proposals to Empower The Workers of Today and Tomorrow.”

The framework, released by Task Force Chairman Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) and RSC Chairman Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), contains 118 recommendations designed to empower the American worker as our economy turns the corner on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are five key proposals from the Task Force report that will help American workers and rebuild our economy.

Codifying Trump’s EO Allowing Americans with 401(k)s to Invest in Private Equity

The report recommends allowing American workers that utilize 401(k)s to invest in private equity, expanding investment options for millions of American families.

This proposal would codify President Trump’s June guidance allowing private equity investments to be a component of professionally managed investment funds offered to Americans with a defined contribution benefit plan.

Previously, Americans with a 401(k) were unable to invest in private equity funds, even though this investment option was widely used by public pension funds and large investors. The Trump administration’s deregulatory action will open up private equity investment to the roughly 80 million American families and individuals that actively participate in a 401k or other defined benefit plan.

Expanding Tax-Advantaged 529 Savings Accounts

The Task Force recommends expanding popular tax-advantaged 529 education savings accounts to cover Pre-K, homeschooling expenses, additional education expenses, short term degree programs, job training programs, and other educational programs.

529 accounts allow parents to save and invest after-tax income for education costs. Any money earned through 529 investment is tax-free, making these plans a popular choice for parents looking to save for future education expenses.

529 plans are also popular with the middle class - in December 2019, total assets have reached an all-time high of $371.5 billion, and there a record 14.25 million 529 savings accounts in use today. The average account balance is also $26,054, another record high.

As students across the country are forced to learn from home due to government-mandated school closures, expanding 529 accounts is a commonsense move that will help millions of American families save and prepare for education expenses.

Creating Universal Savings Accounts

The Task Force advocates creating Universal Savings Accounts (USA), a tax-free savings account that can be used for expenditures of any kind.

Currently, there are approximately 15 tax-advantaged savings accounts that can be used for healthcare, education, and retirement. When used correctly, these accounts can drastically reduce the tax burden for individuals and families. Unfortunately, the complex requirements of how these accounts can be utilized causes many individuals to under-save.

USAs solve this problem by allowing individuals to save or invest a certain amount in tax-free accounts without limitations on how the money can be spent. By introducing a simple, streamlined saving account available for any expenditure, Americans will save more, be taxed less, and be able to better manage their finances.

Getting Able-Bodied Americans on Social Security Disability Insurance Back To Work

Welfare reform is a critical part of rebuilding our economy and getting able-bodied Americans back to work. Over the past two decades, enrollment in the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program has grown by 60 percent, and the Labor Force Participation Rate has plummeted to 63 percent.

To remedy this discrepancy and encourage Americans to reenter the workforce, the Task Force has several recommendations, including:

  • Establishing a flat benefit level, increasing benefits for low-income beneficiaries and decreasing them for the highest-income earners.
     
  • End double-dipping of SSDI and normal unemployment, which would prevent individuals from drawing benefits from both programs simultaneously.
     
  • Include unearned income in the definition of income, which would include all investment and passively earned income in the assessed income of potential applicants and beneficiaries.
     

Taken together with the numerous other SSDI reforms the Task Force proposes, these recommendations will remove disincentives to re-enter the workforce for Americans claiming SSDI.

Reforming the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Under current law, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) disincentivizes work and keeps Americans from being self-reliant.

  • The Task Force recommends several steps to reform SNAP, including:
  •  
  • Eliminating waivers to locations where the average 24-month unemployment rate is 20 percent higher than the national average. These waivers unnecessarily separate a SNAP beneficiary from accessible labor markets.
     
  • Codifying Trump’s EO that establishes a nationwide metric for strengthening SNAP’s work requirements.
     
  • Enacting other reforms that would prevent individuals from receiving SNAP benefits without the requisite need.

Photo Credit: Lara Eakins


IRS Data: Middle Class Americans Saw Biggest Tax Reduction from Trump Tax Cuts


Posted by Alex Hendrie on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020, 5:10 PM PERMALINK

The IRS has released 2018 Statistics of Income (SOI) data. 

This data shows that middle income American families saw the biggest tax cut – measured as the percentage decrease in "total tax liability" between 2017 and 2018 – from the Trump-Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).

Total tax liability includes federal income taxes as well as taxes listed on IRS form 1040 such as social security taxes on self-employment income and tax applicable to individual retirement arrangements (IRAs).

As the data notes, Americans with incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 saw their tax liability drop by twice as much as Americans with income above $1 million:

-Americans with adjusted gross income (AGI) of $50,000 to $74,999 saw a 13.2 percent reduction in average tax liabilities between 2017 and 2018. 

-Americans with AGI of between $75,000 and $99,999 saw a 13.6 percent reduction in average federal tax liability between 2017 and 2018. 

-Americans with AGI of $1 million or above saw a 5.8 percent reduction in average federal tax liability between 2017 and 2018, less than half the tax cut seen by Americans with AGI between $50,000 and $100,000.


NJ Dems Agree on “Millionaire’s Tax”, Biz Surcharge, Continue Digging State’s Grave

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Posted by Davis Hendricks on Friday, September 18th, 2020, 7:59 PM PERMALINK

After stumping on the trail for increased taxes on the wealthy, and pitching a tax hike on upper income brackets multiple times, the Garden State Governor finally gets his way. Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin was crucial in securing the deal.

The agreed-upon deal will mean a 20% tax hike for New Jersey residents who earn between $1 million and $5 million. The budget deal will also keep the corporate business tax surcharge around at an even higher rate than before.

These massive tax hikes are bad for many reasons, not the least of which is the clear message they send to these taxpayers and businesses: You’re not welcome in New Jersey.

While there has been a lot of talk from Murphy and others about the pandemic creating the need for tax hikes, the money from the millionaire’s tax hike won’t go to cover any pandemic related gap. The state already got authority to borrow $10 billion and impose a property tax surcharge to cover it – AND revenues are returning faster and higher than Murphy claimed in his revised budget remarks.

(UPDATE) On the positive side, the deal reportedly does NOT include tax hikes on guns, cigarettes, boats, and car services. Given the tax hikes that will take place, however, there won't be a celebration from Garden State taxpayers.

The state has the refusal of political leaders to show any semblance of spending discipline to blame. New Jersey has nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, and another $100 billion unfunded health benefits, despite being one of the most taxes states in the nation.

With a new, higher millionaire’s tax, New Jersey will see even more people leaving. The state has lost over $41 billion in adjusted gross income over the past two decades, with the number one destination state being Florida (which has no income tax). The Garden State is one of the leading outmigration states year after year.

More high earners leaving means a dwindling tax base, and fewer jobs, all so Governor Murphy can make a short term money grab to put off needed tough decisions.

ATR has been closely monitoring, and opposing the variety of tax hikes Governor Murphy currently favors, including tax and fee hikes on firearms owners, and a financial transactions tax that could lead to the potential departure of various stock exchanges from the state.

Photo Credit: Phil Murphy for Governor - Flickr

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How the Trump Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Minnesota

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, September 18th, 2020, 1:55 PM PERMALINK

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have threatened numerous times to repeal the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on "Day One." But Minnesota is benefiting greatly from the tax cuts enacted by congressional Republicans and President Trump:

68,060 Minnesota households are no longer stuck paying the much-loathed individual mandate tax, thanks to the TCJA's elimination of this tax. 80% of Minnesota households hit with this tax made less than $50,000 per year. Be warned, Joe Biden wants to bring this tax back from the dead, one of the many reasons Biden can't be trusted on taxes.

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.

Corporate tax cuts led to utility rate relief: 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 is passing along 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) – 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 is passing 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 Duluth's 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 city's 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 they're 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 Duluth's 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, there's no question about it, Larson said, adding that leaders can work on affordable housing while they're also working on market-rate housing.

Across the road, Essentia Health's new Vision Northland project will include a new St. Mary's 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. Luke's, 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 is passing along 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) – Pay increases -- base wage raised to $15 per hour; $150 million charitable contribution, and $1,000 bonuses to 60,000 employees:

“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 is passing 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:

“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. Maxx16 stores in Minnesota – increased retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, employee bonuses, 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. Expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance; bonuses of up to $1,000.

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

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