Ohio Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, March 14th, 2018, 3:00 PM PERMALINK

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by the Republican congress and signed by President Donald Trump, 90 percent of wage earners have higher take-home pay. And companies of all sizes are already giving bonuses and raises and expanding the scope of their operations. 

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

R+L Carriers (Wilmington, Ohio) -- $1,000 bonuses for 12,000 employees:

Wilmington-based global transportation company R+L Carriers announced this week it would issue bonuses of up to $1,000 for all its employees, citing the economic benefits from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

“R+L Carriers is just the latest company we’ve seen invest in their employees as a result of tax reform,” U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-15th District) said.

“For folks in Wilmington and across the country, these bonuses can be used for everyday needs, pay for a car repair, or be put in a savings account. This money can make a real difference for families, and I applaud R+L for their commitment to their employees,” the congressman added.

Family owned and operated, R+L Carriers began in 1965 with Ralph L. “Larry” Roberts Sr.’s purchase of a single truck. Today, the company serves all 50 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and many Caribbean islands with nearly 15,000 tractors and trailers, and more than 12,000 employees, stated a media release from the Office of Congressman Steve Stivers. – Feb. 16, 2018 Wilmington News Journal article excerpt

Wolf Metals (Columbus, Ohio) – Purchase of new equipment:

“Today, as a result of the new tax reform law, Wolf Metals was proud to announce its plan to purchase new equipment, including a water jet cutter first and then a press brake,” said Jim Wolf, Co-Founder and Owner. “This investment will help our company, help our workers, and help those who rely on us to deliver top-of-the-line product. I want to thank Senator Portman for coming to visit today and for his role in delivering historic tax relief for small businesses like ours who for too long have been saddled with burdensome taxes and over-regulation.” – Jan. 5, 2018 statement, press release of Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)

First Communications, LLC  (Akron, Ohio) – $1,000 bonuses and a $3 million capital investment:

When Julia Mueller learned her employer is going to give $1,000 bonuses to her and her co-workers this year, she had an immediate reaction: Tears.

“It means a lot to me. Things are a little tight,” said Mueller, 55, a staff accountant the last three years at First Communications in Fairlawn. The Mogadore resident said she recently divorced, is making payments on foot surgery from last year and also needs new tires for her SUV.

“It’s the only way I’m going to get tires. And I won’t have to keep paying for my surgery,” Mueller said.

Mueller and all other full-time employees of the telecommunications company will get $1,000 bonuses in April that the business says stem from recently enacted federal tax reform.

First Communications said lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent is allowing the company to better invest in employees, in product development and in the local community. The company offers data networking, cloud, voice and managed services throughout the Midwest.

The company will use the tax cuts to make a $3 million capital investment that will allow it to better compete against much larger companies such as Comcast, AT&T and Spectrum, said Mark Sollenberger, chief financial officer.

All of the money generated from the tax cut will go to employee bonuses and to capital improvements, Sollenberger said. First Communications needs to continually invest in its people and products to remain competitive, he said.

“Without the tax cut we would have had to limit ourselves on our new product initiates, but the tax cuts give us the operating room to make sure we have all the latest services our customers need to operate their businesses,” Sollenberger said.

First Communications has 83 Akron-area employees and more than 70 in the Chicago area.

“Being a small business the bonuses are a significant cost to the company,” Sollenberger said. “We have about 150 employees so the board had to give special approval due to the size of the expenditure.”

Other companies have also announced employee bonuses that are tied to the federal tax changes. Among the more widely known companies are Apple, AT&T, Walmart, Chipotle, CVS, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase, Boeing, Lowes, Starbucks, U-Haul, Verizon and Disney.

Also locally, Orrville-based food company J.M. Smucker Co. said it will pay $1,000 bonuses to nearly 5,000 employees, plus make a $20 million payment to employee pensions and donate $1 million to charities.

Other First Communications employees said they’re happy to be getting extra money.

“It was a very pleasant surprise, to say the least,” said Craig Larkins, 37, a cost analyst who has been at the company 12 years. “It’s like being able to breathe a little bit better.”

Larkins said he is his family’s breadwinner, with his wife staying at home in Akron’s Firestone Park neighborhood with their two children ages 5 and 3.

“We own our home,” Larkins said. The $1,000 bonus likely will be used to pay off home improvements and other expenses, with some money going to other family needs and put into a rainy day fund, he said.


Mueller, meanwhile, already has plans for any money left over from paying off her surgery bill and buying tires — she will host a party for her children and grandchildren.

“I will probably have a make-your-own pizza night,” she said. -- March 11, 2018 Akron Beacon Journal article excerpts

Bruns General Contracting (Tipp City, Ohio) – Investment in equipment; enhanced retirement benefits:

U.S. Ohio Senator Rob Portman (R) made a stop in the Miami Valley for his Middle-Class Tax Reform Tour.

Portman visited and took a tour of Bruns General Contracting in Tipp City Monday and talked to the employees.

The company said it is investing in more equipment and strengthening its retirement benefits because of the money it expects to save in the next tax reform bill. -- Jan. 15, 2018 WDTN news report

Cintas (Headquarters in Cincinnati, and multiple locations throughout the state) -- Bonuses for 38,000 employees; $1,000 for employees of at least a year, $500 for employees of less than a year.

Tri-State Trailer Sales, Inc. (Hubbard, Ohio and Cincinnati, Ohio) – Increased 401(k) match for employees, to 100% on the first 4% of compensation:

We were very motivated that President Trump and Congress made the tax reform decision to benefit the American People and the Businesses they work for.

I look at all our employees as a big TEAM, its management and ownerships job to coach our team making sure everyone has the necessary tools to be successful in their position, we have done a good job at this and will continue to do so which has enabled us effective January 1st 2018 to implement an increased 401(k) match from approximately 25% to now 100% on the first 4% of compensation.

This new tax reform will also assist our company in continuing to support some of the great non-profit organization we have in the past. – Joe Mancino, CEO/President

STERIS Corp. (Ohio locations in Mentor, Groveport, Lima, and Stow) -- $1,000 bonuses for non-executive U.S. -based employees:

"Like many companies, the recent tax reform in the U.S. will result in significant additional earnings for STERIS to strategically grow our business and return value to Customers, employees and shareholders.  One of our first actions on that front will be a one-time special discretionary bonus of $1,000 to all U.S. employees other than senior executives." -- Feb. 7, 2018 STERIS plc press release

Staub Manufacturing (Dayton, Ohio) – Due to tax cuts, the 37 employees received higher Christmas bonuses:

“After Trump’s tax cuts and reform legislation were enacted last year, Staub says he  was able to give larger than expected Christmas bonuses to his employees.” – Jan. 29 2018, WDTN Dayton 2 News

Sheely’s Furniture and Appliance (North Lima, Ohio) – $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees; expansion of retail store:

Over 140 employees for a local furniture store will feel their wallets get a lot bigger.

Sheely’s Furniture and Appliance President and CEO, Dale Sheely Jr. announced the bonuses Tuesday morning.

The cause — tax reform, a growing retail footprint, and creating a better working environment for employees.

The bonuses will be given throughout the first quarter of 2018. Full-time employees will receive $1,000 in cash and part-time employees will get $500.

The store also announced a 4,500 square foot expansion to make Sheely’s Bargain Bonus center. The new space will offer exclusive purchases. – Feb. 20, 2018 WKBN 27 report

Sheffer Corporation (Cincinnati, Ohio) -- $1,000 bonuses for all 126 employees:

U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) today visited Sheffer Corporation, a premier cylinder manufacturing business based in Cincinnati, to tour the facility, meet with employees, and take part in the announcement of the business’s reinvestment into its workers. Sheffer Corporation announced that all 126 employees will be given $1,000 bonuses with the money the business expects to save as a result of the recently-signed tax reform law. 

“The historic tax cuts that recently became law are already helping make a difference for middle-class families, creating more jobs, and increasing wages for Ohio workers,” said Portman. “Providing tax relief for middle-class families and reforming our business tax code to create more jobs and higher wages is long overdue, and I was proud to play a significant role in helping craft this law. I’m pleased that we’re already seeing a positive response as employers like Sheffer Corporation reward their workers with higher pay and bonuses—and increase their investments in their businesses and their communities. With the kinds of pro-growth reforms in this tax reform law, I expect this trend to continue in Ohio and across the country.”

“It was truly an honor to host a visit today from Senator Rob Portman,” said Sheffer Corporation President & CEO Jeff Norris. “Senator Portman along with his colleagues and President Donald Trump have been instrumental in bringing forward historic and new tax relief for American companies and for the American people. For many years, business owners have voiced concerns about the burdens associated with high taxes and over-regulation. It is my hope that others will follow and show support for Senator Portman and President Trump as they fight to lower our tax burdens and reduce regulations.” -- Jan. 2, 2018 press release from the office of Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio)

Coach, Truck & Tractor, LLC (Conneaut, Ohio) -- Higher Christmas bonuses thanks to tax reform for this family business with seven employees. Bonus amounts determined by length of service:

"We are a small (7 employees) family business that was contemplating what to give for Christmas bonuses and when the tax bill passed, we decided to give much more than we ever did in past. We gave various amounts based on length of time with us. $500 to two-year employees, $300 and $100 to those who were less than a year." -- Dick Elliott, Coach, Truck & Tractor, LLC

J.M. Smucker Company (Orrville, Ohio) -- $1,000 bonuses to about 5,000 employees; $1 million in increased charitable donations; $20 million contribution to employee pension plan:

With the benefit resulting from U.S. income tax reform, the Company contributed an incremental $20.0 million to its employee pension plan and has announced a one-time bonus of $1,000 to nearly 5,000 employees and a $1 million increase to its charitable contributions. – Feb. 16, 2018 J.M. Smucker Company press release

Fifth Third Bank (Headquarters in Cincinnati and 326 branch locations in Ohio) – $1,000 bonuses for 13,500 employees; base wage raised to $15 per hour:

Newly passed tax legislation includes a reduction in corporate tax rates designed to spur economic growth. Carmichael said the tax cut allowed the Bank the opportunity to reevaluate its compensation structure and share some of those benefits with its talented and dedicated workforce.

Carmichael said the higher wage is an important step to help support individuals, their families and the communities in which we operate. Fifth Third has a history of investing in its 18,000 employees.

Once the legislation is signed into law, nearly 3,000 hourly employees will see their pay increase to $15 an hour. The one-time $1,000 bonus is expected to be distributed by the end of the year, assuming the president signs the bill before Christmas. Senior managers and executive leadership are excluded from this compensation.

“It is good for our communities, employees and Fifth Third Bank,” [President and CEO Greg] Carmichael said. – Dec. 20, 2017 Fifth Third Bancorp press release

First Federal Community Bank (Dover, Ohio) – $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees; increased charitable contributions.

e-Cycle (Hilliard, Ohio) -- $1,000 bonuses for all 55 employees:

“I’m pleased to announce that e-Cycle paid out our largest bonus in company history this past Friday. One-hundred percent of all of our hourly and salaried employees participated in this bonus program of over $350,000. In addition, due to the greatest tax reform package just passed in U.S. history, we’re celebrating with an additional $1,000 tax reform bonus for all of our 55 employees.” – Feb. 5, 2018 statement by Chris Irion, e-Cycle CEO

First Financial Bancorp (Cincinnati, Ohio) -- Base wage raised to $15 per hour; $3 million charitable contribution:

First Financial Bancorp (Nasdaq: FFBC) will raise the starting wage for all new and existing hourly associates to $15 an hour effective immediately. Additionally, the bank has made a $3 million contribution to its newly established charitable foundation. This announcement comes as a result of the recently passed tax legislation, which includes a reduction in corporate tax rates.

First Financial strives to provide fair and competitive salaries and benefits to its associates. Approximately 1,335 associates are employed throughout the First Financial footprint in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. The increase will affect 220 of these associates. – Jan. 3, 2018 First Financial Bancorp press release

KeyCorp (Headquarters in Cleveland and over 200 branch locations in Ohio) – Base wage raised; increased employee retirement plan contributions:

Key will be sharing the expected tax benefits with its employees by increasing its minimum wage and making the additional retirement plan contribution referenced above. These actions will benefit over 80% of our workforce and allow us to reward and invest in the financial wellness of our employees. – Jan. 18, 2018 KeyCorp press release

Nationwide Insurance (Columbus, Ohio) -- $1,000 bonuses to 29,000 employees; increased 401(k) matching contributions for 33,000 employees:

“The combination of the new tax legislation, including a reduced corporate tax rate, and our associates’ ongoing commitment to our members, community and On Your Side promise are the reasons we’re making this investment that further enhances the already robust benefits we offer to attract and retain the best talent.” – Jan. 3 2018, Nationwide Insurance statement

Middlefield Banc Corp. (Middlefield, Ohio) – $1,000 bonuses for each employee:

Middlefield Banc Corp. (NASDAQ: MBCN) today announced that, as a result of the company’s strong 2017 financial results, favorable 2018 outlook, and the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the company’s Board of Directors has approved several actions to return capital to Middlefield’s shareholders and employees.

Middlefield’s Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.28 per common share payable on March 15, 2018, to shareholders of record on February 28, 2018. The 2018 first-quarter dividend payment represents a 3.7% increase over the 2017 first-quarter payment. In addition, the Board declared a special one-time cash dividend of $0.05 per common share that will be payable on March 15, 2018, to shareholders of record on February 28, 2018. The Board also approved a one-time bonus of $1,000 to each employee. – Feb. 14, 2018 Middlefield Banc Corp. press release

Jergens, Inc. (Cleveland) – Pay raises:

Thanks to the tax package, Jergens took what would normally be a cost of living increase for its workers, doubled it and built it in as a permanent part of wages, rather than making it a one-time bonus as some companies did. That means a worker making $25 an hour got a raise of about $2,000 a year. – Feb. 4, 2018 Cleveland.com article excerpt

Worldpay Inc. (Cincinnati, Ohio) – Up to $2,000 bonuses, increasing some hourly wages, increasing 401(k) match, increasing charitable contributions, investing in wellness and recognition programs:

“An Ohio-based payments-processing giant said Friday it's giving bonuses, upping pay and improving benefits while crediting the GOP tax cuts.


Worldpay said U.S. hourly workers are getting bonuses of $1,000 to $2,000 each, and some hourly wages are being hiked. The company is increasing its 401(k) match and investments in wellness and recognition programs. Charles Drucker, the company's executive chairman and co-CEO, said the company also will increase charitable giving.” – March 2 2018, U.S. News and World Report article excerpt

Western & Southern Financial Group (Cincinnati, Ohio) -- $2,000 bonuses for full time employees; $1,000 for part time employees.

Walmart 170 retail locations in Ohio -- Pay raises and bonuses. Ohio Walmart and Sam's Club employees are receiving tax reform bonuses of up to $1,000 for a combined state total of $18.1 million. Hourly wages raised to at least $11 per hour. The company also expanded maternity and parental leave and now provides $5,000 for adoption expenses:

Starting Thursday, Walmart associates in Ohio will be receiving cash bonuses the company promised them in January.

According to a release from Walmart, starting today, Ohio associates will receive a one-time $1,000 cash bonus for a total of $18.1 million in combined bonuses across the state.

The retailer will also begin increase its starting hourly wage for all associates to $11 an hour, and expand maternity and parental leave benefits.

The company also said it is creating a new benefit to assist employees with adoption expenses.

Walmart says they operate more than 170 retail units in the state of Ohio, and paid more than $157.5 million in taxes and collected more than $496.5 million in sales taxes in 2017. -- March 8, 2018 WCMH NBC4 report

Lowe's -- 11,000 employees at 83 stores and two distribution facilities in Ohio. 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. 

AT&T --  $1,000 bonuses to 5,069 Ohio-based 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

Apple (Apple store locations in Akron, Beavercreek, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo, Westlake, Woodmere) -- $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.

Home Depot - 70 locations in Ohio, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

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

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

Ryder (Twenty-four locations in Ohio) -- Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Starbucks Coffee Company (Multiple locations in Ohio) – $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. 

Everett J. Prescott Inc. (Ohio locations in Lima and West Carrollton) – $1,000 bonuses for employees with more than a year of service, $250 for employees with less than a year:

A Maine company says 300 employees will receive bonuses following changes to the federal tax code enacted at the end of 2017.

Everett J. Prescott Inc., a Gardiner-based waterworks materials company, says the bonuses will arrive Monday. The Kennebec Journal reports CEO Peter Prescott said Friday that many employees will receive a $1,000 bonus.

He says employees with less than a year of service will still receive a $250 bonus.

The family-owned company employs about 300 people across 26 locations in New England, New York, Ohio and Indiana. Prescott says the average tenure of an employee is 20 years. – March 5 2018, WABI article excerpt

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

FedEx (Multiple locations in Ohio) – 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

MainSource Financial Group (Multiple locations in Ohio) – Base wage raised to $15 per hour:

MainSource Financial Group (NASDAQ: MSFG) will raise the starting pay and minimum hourly rate to $15 an hour effective immediately for all of its non-exempt, non-commissioned employees. This announcement comes as a result of the recently passed tax legislation, which includes a reduction in corporate tax rates.

Approximately 1,000 associates are employed throughout the MainSource footprint in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. The pay increase will affect over 200 employees.

Archie M. Brown, Jr., President and CEO, stated, "The recently passed tax legislation is anticipated to create significant savings for our company. We are pleased to direct a portion of this savings back to many of our employees with a meaningful increase in pay." – Jan. 3, 2018 MainSource Financial Group press release

Taco John’s (Ohio locations in Bellville and Athens): 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

Note: If you know of other Ohio 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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