Below is a continuously updated list of good news arising from Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by Republicans in 2017.
ACCORDING TO THE LATEST IRS DATA:
21.5% tax cut for Montanans making between $25k – $50k. Montana households with adjusted gross income between $25,000 and $50,000 saw their average federal income tax liability drop from $2,418.15 in 2017 to $1,990.16 in 2019, a 21.5% reduction in federal income tax liability.
20% tax cut for Montanans making between $50k – $75k. Montana households with adjusted gross income between $50,000 and $75,000 saw their average federal income tax liability drop from $5,332.00 in 2017 to $4,453.14 in 2019, a 20% reduction in federal income tax liability.
20% tax cut for Montanans making between $75k – $100k. Montana households with adjusted gross income between $75,000 and $100,000 saw their average federal income tax liability drop from $8,497.44 in 2017 to $7,086.01 in 2019, a 20% reduction in federal income tax liability.
A 1.6% tax hike for Montanans making over $1 million. Democrats claim the tax cuts were for “the rich” but as shown by the data, middle income Montananssaw a greater tax cut than those earning over $1 million. In fact, Montana households earning over $1 million saw their federal income tax liability increase from $731,934.88 in 2017 to $ 743,481.58 in 2019, a 1.6% increase.
Data from the Congressional Budget Office also shows that high-earning Americans pay a greater share of taxes than before the Trump tax cuts. In other words, the tax code actually became more progressive, though you won’t hear Democrats admit it.
The TCJA also contained numerous reforms that benefited Montana households:
MT households no longer stuck paying the Obamacare mandate tax. The TCJA zeroed out the Obamacare individual mandate tax penalty effective 2019. In 2017, 19,930 Montana households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax penalty. 17,490 (88%) of taxpayers earned less than $75,000. 16,860 households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax penalty in 2018. 14,370 (85%) of taxpayers earned less than $75,000.
Doubled Standard Deduction. The TCJA doubled the standard deduction from $12,000 to $24,000 for taxpayers filing jointly and $6,000 to $12,000 for single filers. 455,490 MT households took the standard deduction in 2018 including 445,740 households earning less than $200,000. 471,220 taxpayers took the standard deduction in 2019 including 460,230 taxpayers earning less than $200,000.
20% tax deduction for MT small businesses. The TCJA created a new, 20% deduction for small businesses organized as pass-through entities (LLCs, sole proprietors, S-corporations, partnerships). 91,340 MT taxpayers claimed the small business deduction in 2019 including 78,620 taxpayers earning less than $200,000. 78,970 taxpayers claimed the small business deduction in 2018 including 68,330 taxpayers earning less than $200,000.
Doubled Child Tax Credit. The TCJA doubled the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000. 111,820 MT households took the child tax credit in 2019 including 105,370 households earning less than $200,000. 109,350 households took the child tax credit in 2018 including 103,650 households earning less than $200,000.
Utility Savings: If not for the TCJA, utility bills would be even higher. As a direct result (see citations in the list of companies below) of the TCJA’s corporate tax rate cut, Montana residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, at least two Montana utilities reduced their customers’ bills (see below).
Note how Montana businesses cite the tax cuts as a driver of new job creation and pay increases:
Rod’s Harvest Foods (St. Ignatius, Montana) – 3-5% pay raises; base wage raised to $11 per hour; bonuses up to $500:
We are happy to share with our employees the anticipated tax saving for 2018 realized by the Tax Reform bill recently passed by the US Congress and signed by President Trump. We are excited about the benefits it will provide for our country’s economy, our store, and our employees. As a result of the tax savings expected in 2018, we will be passing this savings on to our employees. We will be raising wages 3-5% and entry wage to $11 an hour (non-student). Also, please accept this bonus as a gesture of appreciation for your hard work and loyalty to Rod’s Harvest Foods. You are our most valuable resource! – Rod Arlint, Rod’s Harvest Foods, note to employees
Westland Seed (Ronan, Montana) — new employees:
Businesses such as Westland Seed in Ronan — another stop on Gianforte’s tour — said they are hiring more employees because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. – May 4, 2018 Daily Inter Lake article excerpt
Lewis & Clark Brewing Co (Helena, Montana) — new employees:
At Lewis and Clark Brewing Co., Pigman expects to save $25,000 this year because of the provision in the tax reform that he said brewers like him have been working to get for three years.
The money is going to hiring — an employee was brought on last week and Pigman is looking for two more full-time positions each in production and sales. – May 6, 2018 Helena Independent Record article excerpt
TrueNorth Steel (Billings, Montana) — 35 new jobs.
Loenbro (Great Falls, Montana) — Increased worker benefits, enhanced training programs, purchase of new equipment:
“Other Montana businesses are making investments thanks to tax reform. Loenbro, a Great Falls industrial construction and manufacturing firm that employs more than 600, said the tax reform immediately added 15 percent to their bottom line. Tax reform is leading them to increase worker benefits, enhance training programs, and invest in construction equipment that will create more jobs. – June 19, 2018 Rep. Greg Gianforte statement on U.S. House Floor
Billings Flying Service (Billings, Montana) — Purchasing new equipment, investing in research:
“Billings Flying Service credits the full expensing provision for its decision to purchase new equipment. The company is also investing in new research and development for enhanced firefighting equipment.” – June 19, 2018, Rep. Greg Gianforte statement on U.S. House Floor
Catalyst Opportunity Funds (Bozeman, Montana) — The company is investing in a workforce-attainable apartment complex:
Catalyst Opportunity Funds has launched its first three investments. The projects are located in Salt Lake City and Bozeman, Montana, and represent a total investment of $28 million. The projects include Industry SLC and Pickle and Hide in Salt Lake City, which will transform outdated industrial properties into creative office and retail, and in Bozeman, Catalyst is investing in a 60-unit workforce-attainable apartment complex.
“We positioned the fund to be an impact investment fund that is focused on getting market-rate or even better than market-rate returns for investors while identifying opportunities where our investment can have an impact in the low-income communities where we are investing,” Jeremy Keele, managing partner at Catalyst, tells GlobeSt.com. “The thesis is to identify markets throughout the country that have historically been under invested and finding high-impact projects that are supported by the local community.”
All of the projects will work to revitalize blighted communities, ensuring the social impact component of the opportunity zone legislation is met. “The first three projects are all in the mountain west, and all three really focused on workforce affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization,” says Keele. “We are taking dilapidated, rundown, industrial neighborhoods and working with sponsors that know the neighborhoods well to create product that is geared toward bringing the neighborhood back to life through investment and infrastructure.” — February 10, 2020 GlobeSt.Com article
Anchor Electric (Wye, Montana) – Expanding business operations, hiring additional employees:
At Anchor Electric, Rosendale said company owner Paul Lindstrom told him that the tax reform package allowed him to expand his businesses and hire about 10 additional employees. – August 9, 2018, Missoulian article excerpt
NorthWestern Energy (Butte, Montana) – The utility is passing tax reform savings to its customers:
The tax savings stem from the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Congress passed in December and was signed into law by President Donald Trump. Federal corporate tax rates fell from 35 percent to 21 percent.
Regulated utilities like NorthWestern cannot pocket the savings, which must be shared with ratepayers, who also pay the utilities’ taxes. NorthWestern has about 345,000 customers in Montana.
NorthWestern is proposing that its natural gas customers receive direct refunds for the entire $3.154 million in tax breaks associated with the utility’s natural gas business. The company’s electric customers would receive half of the $10.8 million in tax breaks associated with NorthWestern’s electric business. Half the money would be spent removing hazard trees that pose a fire or outage risk.
“With what we proposed, for a natural gas customer, it would be about $1.18 a month. An electricity customer would be 67 cents per month,” said Butch Larcombe, NorthWestern spokesman. – April 3, 2018 Billings Gazette article excerpt
Montana-Dakota Utilities (Bismarck, North Dakota) – The utility is passing tax reform savings to its customers:
The Montana Public Service Commission voted unanimously to approve an agreement for Montana-Dakota Utilities’ electric business to refund to consumers the benefits they received from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The agreement, or Stipulation, calls for a $1.5 million consumer refund as a result of the TCJA. – 2018 Montana Public Service Commission release
AT&T — $1,000 bonuses to 686 Montana employees; Nationwide, $1 billion increase in capital expenditures.
Rock 31 (Billings, Montana) – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zones are estimated to bring 95 new jobs to the city:
Under President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, downtown Billings was able to receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce of $2 million as the area qualifies as an Opportunity Zone.
Opportunity Zones are given grants in an attempt to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically distressed communities nationwide.
The Opportunity Zone for this project is the Montana National Bank located on 201 N Broadway. The bank will be renovated to house Rock 31 Connect Build and Grow which will provide technical assistance, skills training, hiring resources and more to those embarking on new business ventures.
“This is really designed for people who are taking a big risk and jumping into developing their product, their service any type of early stage high growth company know that this is a space you can come learn from our mentors, learn from our Rock 31 team and connect with like minded individuals,” says Program Manager Kevin Scharfe.
Rock 31 is projected to foster nearly two dozen business startups which are expected to create 95 jobs and generate $6.6 million in private investment which would bring change to the community. Dec. 3, 2019 KULR article
Walmart – Montana employees at all 14 Walmart stores received tax reform bonuses, wage increases, and expanded maternity and parental leave. Walmart employees who adopt children will be given $5,000 to help cover expenses.
Dollar Tree, Inc. (Montana locations in Billings, Butte, Bozeman, Dillon, Great Falls, Havre, Helena, Kalispell, Miles City, Missoula, Whitefish) — Base wage increases and enhanced employee benefits including maternity leave.
Lowe’s — 700 employees in five stores in Montana. Employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service; expanded benefits and maternity/paternal leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance.
Starbucks Coffee Company (36 locations in Montana) – $500 stock grants for all retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plan and support center employee stock grants. Nationally, 8,000 new retail jobs; an additional wage increase this year, totaling approximately $120 million in wage increases, increased sick time benefits and parental leave.
T.J. Maxx – 6 stores in Montana – Tax reform bonuses, retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, and increased charitable donations:
“The 2017 Tax Act benefited the Company in the fourth quarter and full year Fiscal 2018. The Company expects to continue to benefit from the 2017 Tax Act going forward, primarily due to the lower U.S. corporate income tax rate. As a result of the estimated cash benefit related to the 2017 Tax Act, the Company is taking the following actions:
- 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
Made meaningful contributions to TJX’s charitable foundations around the world to further support TJX’s charitable giving” – Feb. 28 2018, The TJX Companies Inc. press release excerpt
U.S. Bank (25 branch locations in Montana) – $1,000 bonuses for employees; base wage raised to $15 per hour; increased charitable contributions.
“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, quoted in a Jan. 2, 2018 U.S. Bank press release
Taco John’s International, Inc. announced today that in response to the 2018 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, the company gave part of its projected tax savings to its restaurant crews, general managers, corporate staff and CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees).
On Friday, Feb. 23, Taco John’s International, Inc.’s employees received a one-time bonus, as follows:
- Every restaurant crew member – full-time and part-time – received $200 (after taxes);
- General managers and employees at the Taco John’s Franchisee Support Center in Cheyenne received $1,000 each; and,
- The Executive Council of Taco John’s International, Inc. (Vice Presidents and above) donated their $1,000 bonuses (a total of $10,000) to CORE, a national not-for-profit organization that grants support to children of food and beverage service employees who are navigating life-altering circumstances.
“At Taco John’s International, our team is our family, so sharing the financial benefits that were a result of the recent tax reform legislation only makes sense,” said Jim Creel, CEO of Taco John’s International, Inc. “We encourage other restaurant brands to follow our example and give a portion of their savings to the people that are at the heart of what we do and to great organizations like CORE that support our crew. One hundred percent of CORE’s funds directly benefit children of restaurant employees who have been afflicted with life-threating conditions.”
“We are so grateful to the Taco John’s team for their generous donation to our CORE family members,” said Lauren LaViola, executive director of CORE. “Donations like theirs help us provide for our food and beverage service families experiencing loss, illness and other life-changing circumstances, and help us get closer to our goal of helping even more families across all 50 states in 2018.”
The total amount that Taco John’s International, Inc. gave exceeded $150,000.00. – Feb. 28, 2018 Taco John’s International, Inc. press release
FedEx (Multiple locations in Montana) – Accelerated and increased compensation; pension plan contributions:
FedEx Corporation is announcing three major programs today following the recently enacted U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:
- Over $200 million in increased compensation, about two-thirds of which will go to hourly team members by advancing 2018 annual pay increases by six months to April 1st from the normal October date. The remainder will fund increases in performance- based incentive plans for salaried personnel.
- A voluntary contribution of $1.5 billion to the FedEx pension plan to ensure it remains one of the best funded retirement programs in the country.
- Investing $1.5 billion to significantly expand the FedEx Express Indianapolis hub over the next seven years. The Memphis SuperHub will also be modernized and enlarged in a major program the details of which will be announced later this spring.
FedEx believes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will likely increase GDP and investment in the United States. — Jan. 26 2018, FedEx press release
McDonald’s (45+ locations in Montana) – Increased tuition investments which will provide educational program access for 400,000 U.S. employees. $2,500 per year (up from $700) for crew working 15 hours a week, $3,000 (up from $1,050) for managers, and more:
McDonald’s Corporation today announced it will allocate $150 million over five years to its global Archways to Opportunity education program. This investment will provide almost 400,000 U.S. restaurant employees with accessibility to the program as the company will also lower eligibility requirements from nine months to 90 days of employment and drop weekly shift minimums from 20 hours to 15 hours. Additionally, McDonald’s will also extend some education benefits to restaurant employees’ family members. These enhancements underscore McDonald’s and its independent franchisees’ commitment to providing jobs that fit around the lives of restaurant employees so they may pursue their education and career ambitions.
The Archways to Opportunity program provides eligible U.S. employees an opportunity to earn a high school diploma, receive upfront college tuition assistance, access free education advising services and learn English as a second language.
“Our commitment to education reinforces our ongoing support of the people who play a crucial role in our journey to build a better McDonald’s,” said Steve Easterbrook, McDonald’s President and CEO. “By offering restaurant employees more opportunities to further their education and pursue their career aspirations, we are helping them find their full potential, whether that’s at McDonald’s or elsewhere.”
Accelerated by changes in the U.S. tax law, McDonald’s increased investment in the Archways to Opportunity Program includes:
- Increased Tuition Investment:
- Crew: Eligible crew will have access to $2,500/year, up from $700/year.
- Managers: Eligible Managers will have access to $3,000/year, up from $1,050.
- Participants have a choice for how they apply this funding – whether it be to a community college, four year university or trade school. There is no lifetime cap on tuition assistance – restaurant employees will be able to pursue their education and career passions at their own pace. The new tuition assistance is effective May 1, 2018 and retroactive to January 1, 2018.
- Lowered Eligibility Requirements: Increase access to the program by lowering eligibility requirements from nine months to 90 days of employment. In addition, dropping from 20 hours minimum to 15 hours minimum (roughly two full time shifts) per week to enable restaurant employees more time to focus on studies.
- Extended Services to Families: Extension of Career Online High School and College Advisory services to restaurant employees’ family members through existing educational partners Cengage and Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).
- Additional Resources: Career exploration resources for eligible restaurant employees to be available later this year.
- Creation of an International Education Fund: Grants to provide local initiatives and incentives in global markets to further education advancement programs.
“Since its inception, Archways to Opportunity was meant to match the ambition and drive of restaurant crew with the means and network to help them find success on their own terms,” said David Fairhurst, McDonald’s Chief People Officer. “By tripling tuition assistance, adding education benefits for family members and lowering eligibility requirements to the equivalent of a summer job, we are sending a signal that if you come work at your local McDonald’s, we’ll invest in your future.”
After launching in the U.S. in 2015, Archways to Opportunity has increased access to education for over 24,000 people and awarded over $21 million in high school and college tuition assistance. Graduates have received college degrees in Business Administration, Human Resources, Communications, Accounting, Microbiology and more. – March 29, 2018 McDonald’s Corporation press release excerpt
Comcast (Multiple locations in Montana) — $1,000 bonuses; nationally, at least $50 billion investment in infrastructure in next five years.
Wells Fargo – 34 banks in Montana, raised base wages from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour; nationally, $400 million in charitable donations for 2018; $100 million increased capital investment over the next three years.
Note: If you know of other Montana examples, please email John Kartch at [email protected]
The running nationwide list of companies can be found at www.atr.org/list