North Dakota Examples of Tax Reform Good News

Submitted by dsullivan on Monday, April 1st, 2019, 1,30 PM

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 North Dakota. (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

Baker Boy (Dickinson, North Dakota) – Expand operations, develop new product line, hire more employees:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Walmart - North Dakota employees at 14 Walmart stores received tax reform bonuses, wage increases, and expanded maternity and parental leave. Walmart employees who adopt children will be given $5,000 to help cover expenses.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starbucks Coffee Company (13 locations in North Dakota) – $500 stock grants for all retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plan and support center employee stock grants. Nationally, 8,000 new retail jobs; an additional wage increase this year, totaling approximately $120 million in wage increases, increased sick time benefits and parental leave.

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses for 156 North Dakota employees. Nationwide, $1 billion increase in capital expenditures:

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

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

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

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

McDonald’s (25+ locations in North Dakota) – Increased tuition investments which will provide educational program access for 400,000 U.S. employees. $2,500 per year (up from $700) for crew working 15 hours a week, $3,000 (up from $1,050) for managers, and more:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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