Mississippi Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, March 15th, 2019, 9:30 AM PERMALINK

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

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

Treppendahl’s Super Foods (Woodville, Mississippi) - employee raises, facility upgrades, expand product selection, developing plan to upgrade checkout lanes, purchasing new equipment:

“The new tax law has had an immediate positive impact on my family business’ ability to invest in our store and local community. Independent grocery stores are capital intensive businesses that survive on 1 to 2 percent profit margins. As a direct result of tax reform, we have upgraded and replaced 12doors in the frozen foods section of our store during the past few months. That may not sound like a big project to some people, but that investment cost over $65,000 and most importantly provided work for our local refrigeration company. Because of these new freezers we have been able to expand our selection of frozen foods to our customers and save on energy costs.

We are also in the process of working with the Associated Grocers of Baton Rouge, our wholesaler, to develop a plan for upgrading our checkout lanes, which are currently 18years old. We hope to install new checkout counters in our store next year. The grocery business also requires us to purchase expensive equipment such as coolers and air conditioners to remain functioning. If it were not for tax reform, we would not have been able to make these improvements to our store. Being able to invest our savings back into our business and community is a good thing. The new tax law has increased my confidence in making important business decisions, now and in the future, which has allowed me to be more comfortable investing in my business. If these tax cuts were to be reversed, I would not feel comfortable reinvesting in my store. Tax reform has also allowed me to provide all full-time, rank and file, employees with raises, which has boosted our employees’ confidence and ability to support themselves and their families.” - July 25, 2018 excerpt from House Small Business Committee hearing on “The Tax Law’s Impact on Main Street”

Lazy Magnolia Brewery (Kiln, Mississippi) - provide employee benefits, give employee promotions, and complete facility upgrades:

Known for its Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale, Lazy Magnolia opened in 2005 and is the oldest packaging brewery in Mississippi. With the money saved from the tax cut, Henderson said the brewery has been able to improve benefits for employees, convert two part-time jobs to full time and improve the brewery's taproom. - June 2, 2018 CNN article excerpt

Renasant Bank (Tupelo, Mississippi) - plans to share benefits with employees, community, and clients:

Renasant Bank also announced plans to share benefits from the tax reform legislation with their 2,000 associates, communities, and clients.

 

"Our focus on these three constituencies for more than 114 years has provided us with the success we enjoy as a company," Renasant Chairman and CEO E. Robinson McGraw said. "We look forward to continuing our legacy of understanding and meeting the needs of the communities we serve." - January 9, 2018, Rep. Trent Kelly letter excerpt

 

Kevin-Charles Furniture (New Albany, Mississippi) - 5 percent employee pay raises, new facility investments:

Kevin-Charles Furniture in New Albany opened its doors in 2002 with just six employees. The New Albany-based furniture manufacturer has grown to 65 employees. Company President Rusty Berryhill said 2018 is going to be a good year for the company and its employees because of the new tax law. Kevin-Charles Furniture will be among the companies in Mississippi and across the nation who will have their corporate tax rate reduced from 35 percent to 21 percent.                           

The tax credits available for investment in equipment will make it possible for the company to purchase additional machinery. "We're really excited about the tax bill and what it is going to do for our operation," Rusty said. "I applaud the efforts of Congress to build back a business climate that makes it easier to invest in our people and facilities."

Additionally, the tax savings made it easier for Kevin-Charles Furniture to give employees a five percent pay raise. Carol Crisel, a seamstress for Kevin-Charles Furniture, has worked at the New Albany operation for 15 years. She and her husband are helping to raise two of their grandchildren. Carol said she is thankful that the new tax law made it possible for the pay increase. Doubling the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 for each child is also going to be a tremendous help. - January 9, 2018, Rep. Trent Kelly letter excerpt

Whittington Scrap Metal (Union County, Mississippi) - business investments:

Michael and Heather Whittington, owners of Whittington Scrap Metal in Union County, are optimistic about what tax relief will bring to their family, business, and their customers. The Whittington's have three children, including one in college. Heather said tax breaks will help them save more money which they will invest in their business.

"If we are getting a cut on our taxes, that could be another employee we could hire," Heather said. "When our customers see an increase in their bottom line, that becomes a win-win situation for everyone." - January 9, 2018, Rep. Trent Kelly letter excerpt

Ingalls Shipbuilding (Pascagoula, Mississippi) -- $500 bonuses; $300 million in increased capital expenditures; increased pension contributions; increased charitable contributions:

The government's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has made way for big news at Huntington Ingalls Industries.

The company announced Thursday that it will give employees a bonus, increase voluntary contributions for qualified pension plans and grow charitable contributions.

In addition, the company said the tax reform will also allow a $300 million increase of investment into major capital projects to strengthen the core shipbuilding business.The majority of the 38,000 employees with the company will get an extra $500.

Since Ingalls Shipbuilding is so intertwined into the South Mississippi community, the increase is likely to have a big business impact as well.

The news has several business owners in downtown Pascagoula excited about the potential for growth. Most said that 50 percent or more of their business comes from Ingalls employees.

“It’s pretty big. It’s good news, actually,” said Robynn Rankin, owner of Bridget Blue boutique. “Because I know the past couple of years have been really slow all over town. I think it will help a lot. I mean, we’ve seen businesses on the street shut down because of the down turn of the economy.”

Ariel Hebert will see benefits from two sides.

She owns Itty Bitty Boutique and Monogramming, while her husband works at Ingalls.

“I feel like that that would be a little extra cash in our hands to do a few renovations we want to do at our house,” she said, “Or, you know, to support other local businesses.”

Each employee should get the check by the second week of March on their normal payday. -- Feb. 15, 2018 WLOX news report

Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc. (Brookhaven, Mississippi) -- Significantly increased employee benefits: lower healthcare costs, more paid time off, scholarships, and more:

Great Southern Wood Preserving, Incorporated, has begun an active and ongoing process to increase employee benefits by reinvesting its tax savings in its people, the company has announced. The company expects full implementation to take place in 2018.

In late 2017, Congress passed and the President signed into law legislation providing significant tax breaks for corporations. Across America, many companies have chosen a variety of options for applying these savings, such as providing one-time bonuses to employees, increasing charitable giving and reinvesting in facilities upgrades.

For its part, Great Southern Wood will make investments on an ongoing basis to lower healthcare costs for eligible employees, allow employees to accrue more paid time off based on length of service, develop scholarships for dependents of employees and enhance other benefits going forward.

“I’m very pleased that every employee across the company will see the results of the change in tax laws,” said Jimmy Rane, Great Southern Wood’s founder, president and CEO. “The success we’ve enjoyed as a company comes from every one of us working hard and doing our part, and I can’t think of a better way to apply our tax savings than by further investing in benefits programs for our employees. We strive to be an employer that draws the best and brightest to our company, and we believe that providing stronger benefits is essential to this continuing effort.”

Great Southern employs almost 1,200 at locations in eleven states. [Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Florida] -- March 29, 2018 Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc. press release

BancorpSouth Bank (Tupelo, Mississippi) – Pay raises for over 70 percent of employees; $1,000 bonuses for nearly 20 percent of employees: 

BancorpSouth Bank (NYSE: BXS) today announced an additional investment in its employees, which includes pay increases and /or one-time bonuses to nearly all non-commissioned employees.

The investment of over $10 million in 2018 will benefit 96% of the Company's non-commissioned workforce. Pay increases were effective January 1, 2018.

"We are proud to reward our team with this opportunity since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act should benefit everyone" said Dan Rollins, Chairman and CEO. "BancorpSouth's continued and future success is based on the economic vitality of the communities we serve and taking care of our teammates allows us to provide the very best service to our customers, communities and shareholders." – Jan. 3, 2018 BancorpSouth Bank press release

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The increased compensation overall at BancorpSouth affected more than 70 percent of all employees, and provided a $1,000 bonus to nearly 20 percent of all employees.

BancorpSouth employs some 4,000 employees in more than 230 locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas, plus an insurance location in Illinois. – Jan. 4, 2018 Daily Journal/BizBuzz article

Entergy Mississippi (Jackson, Mississippi): The utility is passing tax reform savings to customers:

If approved by the MPSC, the multi-million dollars in tax savings will benefit customers in three ways:

  • short-term bill credits,
  • long-term rate reductions and
  • alleviation of some future rate increases. 

These are projected to begin this summer, when usage and bills are typically at their highest. Based on its plan, Entergy Mississippi expects residential customer bills to drop more than $30 per month during July, August and September, from a combination of lower-rates and short-term bill credits.

Without the tax reform, which reduced the corporate tax from 35 percent to 21 percent, substantial projects undertaken by Entergy to strengthen and modernize the grid would have required significant rate increases.

“We intend to ensure that our customers receive timely benefits from the new tax reforms,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO. “The tax reduction will allow us to reduce rates, provide substantial bill credits and lower our customers’ bills during the high-usage summer months.” – Feb. 26, 2018 Entergy Mississippi press release excerpt

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 2,576 Mississippi employeesNationwide, $1,000 bonuses for 200,000 employees and a $1 billion increase in capital expenditures:

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

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

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

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

Walmart – Mississippi employees at 78 Walmart stores received tax reform bonuses, wage increases, and expanded maternity and parental leave. Walmart employees who adopt children will be given $5,000 to help cover expenses.

Home Depot -- 14 locations in Mississippi - Bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's -- 3,000 employees at 24 stores and one distribution center in Mississippi. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

Starbucks Coffee Company (32 locations in Mississippi) –$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 – (Ten locations in Mississippi) – Tax reform bonuses, retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, and increased charitable donations:

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

Associates

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

Communities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McDonald’s (150+ locations in Mississippi) – Increased tuition investments which will provide educational program access for 400,000 U.S. employees. $2,500 per year (up from $700) for crew working 15 hours a week, $3,000 (up from $1,050) for managers, and more:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wells Fargo (12 locations in Mississippi) - Raised base wage from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour; $400 million in charitable donations for 2018; $100 million increased capital investment over the next three years.

Note: If you know of other Mississippi 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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