Utah is benefiting greatly from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by congressional Republicans and President Trump:
279,790 Utah households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.
Every income group in every Utah congressional district received a tax cut. Nationwide, a typical family of four received a $2,000 annual tax cut and a single parent with one child received a $1,300 annual tax cut.
844,990 Utah households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the standard deduction. Thanks to the tax cuts, nine out of ten households take the standard deduction which provides tax relief and simplifies the tax filing process.
49,470 Utah households are benefiting from the TCJA’s elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate tax. Most households hit with this tax made less than $50,000 per year.
Lower utility bills: As a direct result of the TCJA’s corporate tax rate cut, Utah 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 Utah utilities reduced their customers’ bills (see below).
Thanks to the tax cuts, Utah businesses of all sizes are hiring, expanding, raising pay and increasing employee benefits:
SkyWest Airlines (St. George, Utah) — Increased employee bonus and incentive program; increased 401(k) contributions; increased capital expenditures; increased charitable donations. Under the enhanced bonuses, “employees are expected to enjoy a nearly 17 percent increase in 2018 financial bonuses for every eligible employee.”
The full internal memo is below:
There have been numerous questions and much publicity surrounding recent significant tax reform becoming effective this year. As it has now been signed into law, SkyWest plans to ensure employees enjoy the legislation’s benefits through increased Performance Rewards and 401(k) discretionary contributions.
“Our employees are the foundation of everything we do,” said SkyWest, Inc. President and CEO Chip Childs. “This tax reform enhances our ability to maintain strong,sustainable careers and we’re pleased to recognize our people by passing its positive impact throughout 2018 and beyond. Additionally, given the new long-term benefits of the reform, SkyWest plans to increase our charitable contributions, as well as reinvest in our fleet and across our operation to provide even more confidence in our airline and future.”
SkyWest’s Financial Performance Rewards and other workgroup bonus programs pay employees on a percentage of the SkyWest Airlines net margin. Historically, these programs have been modeled to neutralize any tax impact (which has been generally negative) to employees. However, under new tax reform, the company will modify those models to pass the benefit on to employees. As a result, employees are expected to enjoy a nearly 17 percent increase in 2018 financial bonuses for every eligible employee. Additionally, the company will increase its discretionary 401(k) contribution to all participating employees in 2018. This change will be effective January 1, 2018, and will be distributed beginning with the first 2018 Performance Rewards payout in late April 2018
Performance Rewards and profit sharing program payouts will remain on current schedules based on each specific program; and the company will continue to evaluate each of our programs for economic impact and the most value to employees.
“This is not a one-time bonus, but will be an ongoing benefit to employees for the duration of the legislation. Becoming the partner and investment of choice is not possible without being the employer of choice,” continued Chip. “In today’s environment, it’s more important than ever that we recognize our people who take care of our customers. To our incredible team, I want to say thank you for the great work you do each and every day to take care of each other and our customers.”
Larry H. Miller Group of Companies (Sandy, Utah) — $1,000 bonuses for 10,000 employees:
Utah’s first lady of business is sharing some of her good fortune with the people who are helping to build her family’s empire.
About 10,000 employees of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies will be getting an extra $1,000 in their next paycheck courtesy of the owner and chairwoman, Gail Miller.
The company confirmed the gift authorization Thursday. David Blain, president of Saxton Horne Communications, the advertising and communications agency for the LHM Group, said the largesse is a token of Miller’s gratitude toward the thousands of people who make the company so successful.
“Gail Miller took an opportunity to reward our front-end employees with a gesture of thanks,” he explained. “Our vision for the company is to be the best place in town to work and the best place to do business. Because of their commitment to that vision, Gail wanted to reward the employees.”
The LHM Group is comprised of more than 80 businesses operating in 46 states with over 10,000 employees and total assets valued at more than $2.6 billion — including 52 car dealerships.
The LHM Group joins a number of large corporations that have given back to its employee base in the wake of the new tax law passed by Congress in December. This year, scores of the nation’s biggest companies — including Walmart and Walt Disney — have bestowed tax-cut windfalls on workers, primarily in the form of one-time bonuses as well as salary increases and retirement plan matches.
Some of the many LHM companies include the Larry H. Miller Dealerships, Vivint Smart Home Arena, Utah Jazz, Salt Lake Bees, Saxton Horne Communications, Salt Lake City Stars, Megaplex Theatres, the Zone Sports Network, Prestige Financial, Total Care Auto, Jordan Commons, Larry H. Miller Real Estate and Tour of Utah. — March 1, 2018 Deseret News article excerpts
Zions Bank (headquarters in Salt Lake City, with Utah branches in Huntington, Castle Dale, Price, Ephraim, Manti, Salina, Santaquin, Payson, Spanish Fork, Springville, Duchesne, Provo, and Fillmore) – Pay raises for more than 40% of employees; $1,000 bonuses for nearly 80% of employees; increased charitable contributions:
Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ: ZION) announced today that as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, it will be increasing ongoing compensation for more than 40% of its employees as of January 1, 2018, and providing nearly 80% of employees with $1,000 bonuses during 2018, subject to certain conditions.
Additionally, Zions intends to contribute $12 million to the Zions Bancorporation Foundation, which is expected to benefit local communities in which Zions does business. In 2017, Foundation beneficiaries included the United Way, youth programs, food pantries, homeless shelters, affordable housing projects, and educational programs.
Zions expects to incur an increase in noninterest expense in the fourth quarter of 2017 of approximately $12 million as a result of the contribution to the Foundation, while compensation adjustments are expected to be incorporated into 2018 expense. — Jan. 2, 2018 Zions Bancorporation press release
Dominion Energy (Salt Lake City, Utah) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:
The Utah Division of Public Utilities has announced that federal tax savings filed by Dominion Energy will be passed to Utah consumers. The company filed for $17 million in adjustments as the result of the recently enacted federal tax cuts, explained Chris Parker, director of the state Division of Public Utilities.
Utah utility customers should expect to begin seeing savings over the next few months, Parker said, with the first wave of cuts expected to take effect within the next 30 days, providing $2.5 million in savings on infrastructure.
The division is working with other agencies to immediately lower base rates to customers by an additional $14.5 million, he said, with further reductions to follow Dominion Energy’s gas cost filing later this spring. – February 5, 2018 Desert News article
Rocky Mountain Power (Portland, Oregon) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:
Further, the Company continues to propose to offset the base rate increase, in part, for two years by refunding a portion of the deferred tax savings associated with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”). Specifically, the Company proposes to pass back approximately $62.7 million of the TCJA deferred tax balance over two years. After consideration of interest, $38.2 million will be returned in 2021 and $26.8 million in 2022. This will result in a 1.1 percent increase in 2021, another 1.1 percent increase in 2022 when the credit is reduced, and a 1.3 percent increase in 2023 when the remaining tax deferral is fully refunded and the credit is eliminated. Further, the Company would align the credit in 2021 with the two-step base rate change such that the credit would be increased in the latter half of the year to fully offset the second base rate increase. However, as I explain later in my testimony, the Company is not opposed to refunding the TCJA deferred tax balance over a longer period of time provided the balance is used to offset the overall proposed base rate increase. – October 2020 Utah Public Service Commission Document
U-Haul (Utah locations: Centerville, West Valley City, Murray, Midvale, Salt Lake City, Bountiful, Cedar City, Beaver, Hurricane, Parowan, Hildale, Panguitch, Saint George, Enoch, Vernal, Moab, Blanding, Monticello, Loa, Salina, Mount Pleasant, Big Water, Washington, Nephi) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.
Lowe’s — 2,000 employees at 16 stores in Utah. Employees will receives bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service; expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance.
Walmart – 51 locations in Utah — Over 12,500 Utah-based Walmart and Sam’s Club employees are receiving wage increases as well as tax reform bonuses ranging from $200 – $1,000 for a state total of $5.7 million. The starting wage rate was raised for all hourly employees to $11. The company also announced expanded maternity and parental leave, and $5,000 for adoption expenses.
AT&T — $1,000 bonuses to 423 Utah-based employees. The company also announced a $1 billion increase in capital expenditures nationwide.
Apple (Apple store locations in Farmington, Murray, Salt Lake City) — $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.
Cintas Corporation (Multiple locations in Utah) — $1,000 bonuses for employees of at least a year, $500 for employees of less than a year.
Comcast (Multiple locations in Utah) — $1,000 bonuses; nationally, at least $50 billion investment in infrastructure in next five years.
Chipotle Mexican Grill (Multiple locations in Utah) – Bonuses ranging from $250 to $1,000; increased employee benefits; nationally, $50 million investment in existing restaurants.
Ryder (Utah locations: Salt Lake City, Clearfield, Hurricane) — Tax reform bonuses for employees.
Starbucks Coffee Company (101 locations in Utah) – $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.
McDonald’s (100+ locations in Utah) – 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.
- Increased Tuition Investment:
“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
Fort Ranch (Promontory, Utah) – Tax reform bonuses for employees.
Note: If you know of other Utah examples, please email John Kartch at [email protected]