Utah Examples of Tax Reform Good News

Submitted by dsullivan on Monday, March 5th, 2018, 5,45 PM

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by the Republican congress and signed by President Donald Trump, 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 Utah. (Additions to this list can be sent to jkartch@atr.org)

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

Dominion Energy, Utah – The utility will lower rates for customers because of tax reform:

As a result of federal tax cuts, Dominion Energy is passing on $17 million in savings to its consumers.

The Utah Division of Public Utilities announced that the energy company filed January 31, 2018, for the multi-millions in adjustments that enables customers to get a break on their gas bills.

According to the Division of Public Utilities, Utah utility customers will begin seeing savings from federal tax reform over the next few months.

A press release stated that the first wave of cuts should take effect in the next 30 days, providing $2.5 million in savings on infrastructure.

“Ever since federal tax reform legislation was passed, our Division of Public Utilities has been working closely with the Public Service Commission and utilities to determine the best method to pass on tax savings to Utah customers. Consumers should begin seeing lower gas bills soon and our Division will continue to ensure other tax cuts reach customer bills as quickly as possible,” stated Chris Parker, Division Director, in a press release.

Additional reductions will follow Dominion Energy’s gas cost filing later this spring. The Division is working with other agencies to immediately reduce base rates to customers by $14.5 million more, the press release stated. -- Feb. 5, 2018 KUTV CBS Salt Lake City article

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.”

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

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.

Home Depot -- 22 locations in Utah, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

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 (Multiple 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.

Fort Ranch (Promontory, Utah) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

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

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