Minnesota Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, April 12th, 2019, 5:00 PM PERMALINK

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by congressional Republicans and President Trump, 90 percent of American wage earners have higher take-home pay. And employers of all sizes are hiring, raising pay, increasing benefits, upgrading equipment and expanding operations.

Below are several examples of tax reform good news in Minnesota. (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

T.J. Maxx – 16 stores in Minnesota – tax reform bonuses, retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, and charitable donations:

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

Associates

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

Communities

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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