Welcome to Washington sign West of Port Kelley , Wa. 11-05 by Richard Bauer is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Washington is benefiting greatly from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted by congressional Republicans and President Trump:

528,720 Washington households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

Every income group in every Washington 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.

1,321,260 Washington 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.

110,400 Washington 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, Washington 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 five Washington utilities reduced their customers’ bills (see below).

Thanks to the tax cuts, Washington businesses of all sizes are hiring, expanding, raising pay and increasing employee benefits:

Dry Fly Distilling (Spokane, Washington) – Hiring new employees, plant expansion, and facility investments:

The reform that went into effect January 1, 2018 is helping Dry Fly Distilling save some money that the company is using to pump right back into a planned expansion, special projects, and other additions.

The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act reduced the federal excise tax on distilled spirits producers. Dry Fly Distilling owner Don Poffenroth said the change has saved Dry Fly about $1.50 on every bottle, which cuts down production costs.

“Now that $1.50 really is allowing us to add additional personnel, to put more money back into our plant and then we are embarking on a fairly aggressive expansion plan as well. So, we are going to build a new facility. So, we are 100% reinvesting kind of everything we get out of that,” Poffenroth said.

That saved money also can go toward special projects, like the Dry Fly Single Malt Whiskey, which has been aged for the last ten years. – February 16, 2018, KXLY article excerpt

Alaska Air Group (Seattle, Washington) — $1,000 bonuses for 23,000 employees.

APPS Portamedic (Bellevue, Washington) – employee bonuses:

“Anything from the 20 percent reduction down to 17.5 percent, we have a lot of equipment in our business so we’re going to see a tax break there. I was looking at the numbers just based on our simple tax bracket as my wife and I you know it’s about a $2,500 benefit just for income tax alone,” Oakley said in an interview.

So, [owner Ben] Oakley decided to share the tax break, “Yeah, I sat down with my wife two days ago, I’m like ‘if this goes, I want to show people that one, Republicans care about the middle class.’ My wife and I are middle class, our staff is middle class. – December 20, 2017 KIRO 7 News report excerpt  

Fremont Brewing (Seattle, Washington) – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allowed the company to expand healthcare benefits to employees’ dependents:

In 2017, Congress passed a tax cut for breweries, distillers, and wineries. Nelson said that allowed them to invest in additional employee benefits, like extending health benefits to employees’ dependents.

“We’ve got young people that are getting married and having families, and they are needing benefits,” she said. “So we decided that we would extend health benefits to the dependents of those families.” – Dec. 18, 2019, KIRO article.

Puget Sound Energy Inc. (Bellevue, Washington)

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) says it will pass all of a $96.5-million cut in federal taxes on to electric and natural gas customers.

The tax savings will cut residential electric bills by $3.50 a month and trim natural gas bills by $1.83 a month, according to a written statement from the organization. Those rate adjustments will take effect Tuesday. – April 30, 2018 the Seattle Times excerpt

Pacific Power and Light (Portland, Oregon) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

The first general rate case filed by Pacific Power in Washington since 2014, it also accelerates pass-through of remaining federal tax savings from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and depreciation of coal plant investments to remove coal, almost doubles the amount of wind generation being brought to Washington, establishes an advisory committee to oversee the development of new assistance programs for low-income customers and creates a new, flattened rate structure. – December 22, 2020 DailyEnergyInsider excerpt

Cascade Natural Gas (Kennewick, Washington) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

Rate changes for Cascade primarily are due to the purchased gas cost and decoupling mechanism, but they also include cost recovery for pipeline replacement, conservation programs, low-income assistance, and refunds related to excess deferred income taxes due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Kennewick-based Cascade serves more than 220,000 residential and business customers in 68 communities throughout the state, including Kennewick, Walla Walla, Sunnyside, Yakima, Wenatchee, Aberdeen, Bellingham, Bremerton, Longview, Moses Lake and Mount Vernon. – December 2019 Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business excerpt

Northwest Natural Gas Company (Portland, Oregon) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

The Order authorizes NW Natural to provide federal tax reform benefits to customers related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted in December 2017. The Order directs NW Natural to provide customers with a rate reduction of $2.1 million over one year to reflect the benefit of the lower federal corporate income tax rate accumulating from January 1, 2018 through October 31, 2019, and provides an additional annual rate reduction initially set at approximately $0.5 million to reflect a benefit from the remeasurement of deferred tax liabilities of approximately $15.0 million. – Northwest Natural Gas Company document

Avista Corporation (Spokane, Washington) – The utility is passing along tax savings to customers:

Avista’s (NYSE:AVA) electric and natural gas general rate cases have concluded, with an order issued by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (Commission or UTC). The Commission approved one-time electric and natural gas rate adjustments which will take effect May 1, 2018.

The Commission’s order approved electric rates designed to increase annual billed revenues by $10.8 million, or 2.1 percent and natural gas rates designed to decrease annual billed revenues by $2.1 million, or 1.6 percent. These revenues include the return to customers through base rates of approximately $26.9 million for electric service, and $5.5 million for natural gas service, as a result of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. – April 27, 2018 Avista press release

Sortis Holdings Inc. (Tukwila, Washington) — The company announced it is building a mixed income senior living development located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Sortis Holdings Inc. (SOHI), a Portland, Oregon-based private equity firm, closed on equity funding for Tukwila Village Phase II, a mixed income senior living development in Tukwila, Washington. Sortis invested capital from its $100 million Sortis Opportunity Zone Fund alongside project sponsor Bryan Park, a Puyallup-based developer who has developed, owns and operates more than 5,000 senior living apartments in Washington. The completed project will be operated by Sustainable Housing for Ageless Generations, or SHAG, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

“By 2050, the population of individuals who are 65 and older in the U.S. is projected to double, yet rising rents and lack of supply have reduced the availability of affordable, high-quality housing in desirable locations for this population,” said Paul Brenneke, Sortis founder. “We believe delivering a high-quality project with attractive investment returns while simultaneously providing an affordable housing option to low-income seniors is a win-win.” — August 29, 2019 Bushiness Wire article

Unico Properties (Tacoma, Washington) — The company is creating an apartment complex in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A controversial federal tax break is fueling the transformation of a historic downtown Tacoma office into apartments where residents will be able to enjoy a unique amenity: A basement bank vault, preserved from the days when the 18-story building was home to the Scandinavian American Bank.

When it was built in 1925, the twin-towered Washington Building was the second-tallest in the Pacific Northwest, after the 42-story Smith Tower. But by the time Seattle-based Unico Properties purchased the building in 2017, it was sparsely occupied and behind on needed repairs.

The company immediately announced plans to convert the building, four blocks north of the Museum of Glass, into 150 residential units.

Over the past two years, though, ballooning construction costs put a crimp in Unico’s plans for the adaptive-reuse project. Seattle-area construction expenses rose by nearly 14% in that period, according to the Mortenson Construction Cost Index.

Enter opportunity zone (OZ) financing.

Much of Tacoma has been declared eligible for opportunity zone tax breaks, a federal program signed into law at the end of 2017 allowing investors to shelter capital gains for up to 10 years by investing in projects in some low-income census tracts.

The program has come under fire nationally for benefiting wealthy investors while not aiding the poor communities it was meant to help, though local opportunity zone investors say they work hard to ensure their projects serve the state’s working class. Seattle’s first opportunity zone project, Pioneer Square’s Canton Lofts apartments, was supported by local officials including former City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. — January 3, 2020 Seattle Times article

Vesta Hospitality (Vancouver, Washington) — The company is building a hotel in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

The AC Hotel by Marriott design includes an internal parking garage on the second and third floors, event space on the first floor and office space with a corporate conference room on the seventh floor. The balcony on the seventh floor connects to the conference room, but there will be additional balconies on the building’s east side.

The $50 million project will be partially financed by investors taking advantage of the newly designated opportunity zone in downtown Vancouver. Opportunity zones are an investment tool created by the 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that allow investors to defer capital gains taxes on qualified Opportunity Funds, which are invested in approved local zones.

The investment push is scheduled to kick off tonight at an event where Vesta Hospitality and representatives from Fairway America, the project’s investment fund manager, will meet with interested investors and outline the details of the project and the opportunity zone regulations.

The investment fund is expected to raise about $16.4 million of the total, according to Fairway America partner Darris Cassidy, with the remainder of the funding coming from construction loans, although all of the budget numbers are still preliminary.

Seven opportunity zones have been designated in Clark County, but Cassidy said the downtown zone offers access to projects like the AC Hotel that wouldn’t be possible in other areas.

“It’s a unique opportunity — no pun intended — to build it on the waterfront,” he said.

Takach said the use of the zone is a lucky coincidence — the port selected Vesta’s bid to build the hotel project in August 2017, four months before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law and eight months before the downtown Vancouver Opportunity Zone was approved.

But during the early stages of the planning process, the developers learned that the ground under the site included a significant amount of fill material, and the entire area’s proximity to the Columbia River made it susceptible to soil liquefaction during an earthquake.

“As it is today, it can’t support the weight of the hotel,” he said.

The site will require an estimated $3 million of ground stabilization work before construction can begin in earnest, Takach said, and there are contingency funds in place in case more ground issues crop up once the stabilization work gets underway.

It took about 10 months to design the ground stabilization plan, Takach said, and the rising costs of the operation began to threaten the entire project’s financial viability. But then the opportunity zone happened to pop up during the delay period, offering a new financing option.

“I got lucky with this opportunity zone,” he said. “It actually made the project viable — I was really struggling with the numbers.”

With the design work wrapping up, Takach said Vesta will soon begin the process of securing permits from the city. The goal is to break ground later this year and be “fully under construction” by the end of the year, he said, although preliminary work such as ground stabilization will be underway in the coming months.

The hotel is targeted to open in the spring or summer of 2021, depending on how the project progresses. — Feb. 21, 2019 The Columbian article

Galena Opportunity Fund (Bremerton, Washington) — The organization is funding an apartment complex to be built in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

The Seattle developer behind an ambitious 22-story tower project in downtown Bremerton has filed permits with the city for a new mixed-use development at the same site on the corner of Washington Avenue and Sixth Street.

Mark Goldberg, the Seattle developer responsible for other projects in Bremerton – including the 400 condominiums up the street on Washington – is spearheading the new $33 million apartment complex on the site of the old Eagles building.

Plans call for a seven-story building with 110 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, two levels of parking with 78 spaces, and retail space on the ground floor. The two existing buildings on the block, which include the former home of the Bremerton Eagles and an eight-plex built in the 1940s, will be demolished.

In 2018, Goldberg’s proposal for a 22-story tower with 224 apartments at the same location was met resistance from residents, who worried how a skyscraper would impact traffic and the neighborhood’s character.

At the time, Mayor Greg Wheeler asked the city council to enact a moratorium on the city’s eight-year multi-family tax exemption – which allows developers of projects of at least 10 units to pay no property taxes on the value of the building for eight years. The council ultimately didn’t move approve the moratorium, and Goldberg is back with a scaled-down project.

Goldberg said he didn’t move forward with the tower design because rising costs made it “borderline feasible” and because of feedback he’d received on the project.

“I got a lot of feedback from a lot of people and they just said it’s really out of scale,” Goldberg said.

For the new project, Goldberg is partnering with Galena Opportunity Fund, an Idaho-based real estate investment fund that looks to develop properties in “underfunded” areas in the Pacific Northwest.

Galena targets areas for development under the federal Opportunity Zone program, which allows people who invest in projects in “economically depressed” areas to defer or eliminate federal taxes on capital gains. Downtown Bremerton and parts of Port Orchard were designated as opportunity zones after the program was created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. — October 27, 2019 Kitsap Sun article

Standard Companies (Savannah, Georgia) — The company is building an apartment complex that will be located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

A new multi-family housing development will soon transform the corner of Liberty and East Broad Streets, inside one of Savannah’s designated Federal Opportunity Zones.

Savannah’s three zones, which were created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act aim to spur investment in distressed communities throughout the country, were designated in 2018.

“We pride ourselves and focus on creating communities in both the physical and the social sense by finding ways to improve urban areas and revitalize them and bring them into their next phase as responsible stewards, which is exactly what we are hoping to do in Savannah,” said Steven Kahn, director for California-based Standard Companies, which will develop approximately 215 residential units at 601 Liberty St.

Standard’s plans call for a five-story building with a mixture of multi-family units, that will be market-rate driven and plans for commercial space on the property are still being flushed out, according to Tommy Attridge, director, southeast production for Standard.

An exact ground breaking date has not been announced and Standard declined to disclose a total investment cost.

“We’re still finalizing our design, but we’re eager to get started,” Attridge said.

The site, which is just under two acres, was previously owned by the City of Savannah. After putting out a public request for proposals in 2018, the city approved the sale of the site to Standard for $5.9 million in Aug. 2018. The Metropolitan Planning Commission approved the new construction plan in April 2019 and the sale of the property was finalized Dec. 2019.

The property also includes an existing building, which was built in 1927 as offices for the Atlantic Coastal Line Railroad. It previously housed the Catholic Diocese of Savannah before the city purchased the property for $3.5 million in 2015 with plans to renovate the structure to relocate several downtown departments. — January 31, 2020 Savannah Now article

Nitze-Stagen (Seattle, Washington) — The real estate firm is building a mixed-use building that will include student apartments and office space that is located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

That’s why around here, investors and developers have been at pains to emphasize that their opportunity zone projects are very, very different. On the horizon in Washington’s opportunity zones: Student housing in Bellingham. A mixed-use development in downtown Bremerton. Office parks in Arlington.

Last week, developers broke ground on Seattle’s first opportunity zone development, an 80-unit Pioneer Square apartment building called Canton Lofts. The $1,795 studio apartments are aimed at people making between $60,000 and $90,000, the developers say.  — October 27,  2019 Lewiston Tribune article

First Financial Northwest, Inc. (Renton, Washington) – $1,000 bonuses to all 138 non-executive employees:

First Financial Northwest, Inc. (the “Company”) (NASDAQ:FFNW), the holding company for First Financial Northwest Bank (the “Bank”), today reported that it has given all of its non-executive employees a special $1,000 after-tax bonus, regardless of role or tenure with the Company. The one-time bonus comes in response to the signing of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 which provides a lower tax rate for companies like First Financial Northwest, Inc. – a portion of the expected tax savings was shared with its approximately 138 non-executive employees.

Joseph W. Kiley III, President and Chief Executive Officer, included a handwritten note with the surprise payments thanking the team for its efforts in 2017 and looking forward to a great 2018. “Our employees drive the success of our Company, delivering unique, innovative solutions to our customers and building long-term banking relationships in our communities,” said Kiley. “We pride ourselves on providing excellent benefits, competitive salaries and the opportunity for participation in the Company’s long-term success. The expected tax savings give us an opportunity to invest even more in our team.” – First Financial Northwest Inc. press release

The savings on individual customers’ bills, however, won’t be known until later this year.

Corporate tax rates for the Spokane-based utility dropped from 35 percent to 21 percent effective Jan. 1. Savings from the lower taxes will get passed on to Avista’s utility customers in Washington, Idaho and Oregon, said Mark Thies, senior vice president and chief financial officer.

The anticipated $50 million to $60 million in annual savings is the result of the lower federal tax rate and changes to Avista’s deferred tax liability related to depreciation costs. As the result of the depreciation changes, about $442 million will be returned to Avista customers over 35 years, Thies said.” — Feb. 21, 2018 The Spokesman Review article excerpt

Utility Trench Technologies (Spokane, Washington) – The company was able to invest in its community because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Tax reform is twofold for our small business because the 20 percent deduction allows us greater revenues without additional tax liabilities—of at least 20 percent—and in turn we will spend that extra revenue locally,” Angela Gibson, owner of Utility Trench Technologies based in Spokane, Washington, said in the survey. “This tax reform helps our customers also.” – March 23, 2018, NFIB article.

HomeStreet, Inc. (Seattle, Washington) – Base wage increased to $15 per hour:

Today, HomeStreet, Inc. (Nasdaq: HMST), the parent company of HomeStreet Bank (“HomeStreet”) announced that it has raised its company minimum wage to $15 per hour across all 111 retail branches and lending centers in seven states. The increase took effect January 1, 2018. The announcement comes on the heels of the recently signed federal tax reform bill that cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

HomeStreet made the decision to increase its minimum wage in order to share the tax reform benefits with its employees. The change is particularly welcome as the cost of living continues to increase across the country.

“We’re dedicated to the incredible people who work at HomeStreet,” said Mark Mason, president and CEO of HomeStreet Bank. “We’re grateful to be in a position where we’re able to raise our minimum wage and reward our hardworking employees for the great work they do every day. – Jan. 16, 2018 HomeStreet, Inc. press release

AT&T — $1,000 bonuses for 3,890 Washington 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

Inland Northwest Bank (Spokane, Washington) – Base wage raised to $15; $500 bonuses to employees excluding Senior Management Team:

INB, a regional independent community bank, today announced that it plans to share a portion of its anticipated tax savings with its employees as a result of the federal tax reform legislation signed last week.

The new tax reform law will revamp the tax framework and reduce the maximum tax rate for corporations from 35 percent to 21 percent. Historically, INB’s parent company, Northwest Bancorp has paid the maximum tax rate so it expects a tax cut of approximately 14 percent.

At year-end 2017, INB will pay a bonus of $500 to each of its 200 employees, excluding its Senior Management Team. Additionally, it will establish the company’s minimum wage at $15 an hour effective, January 1st, 2018. INB will also adjust other employee wages for those making more than $15 an hour. The total wage adjustment will affect more than one third of their entire workforce.– Dec. 27, 2018 Inland Northwest Bank press release excerpt

Peoples Bank (Bellingham, Washington) – Base wage raised to $15 per hour; 401(k) match increased one point to 8%:

In response to the newly passed tax reform legislation, Peoples Bank    (https://www.peoplesbank-wa.com/) today announced new investments in its employees. Specifically, Peoples Bank will raise the minimum wage to $15 for all hourly employees, effective February 1, 2018, and will increase its 401K match one point to eight percent for all eligible employees, effective immediately

“These new employee benefits reflect our ongoing commitment to doing what is right at every step, and our People Come First philosophy which guides the decisions we make in support of our customers and employees,” said Charles LeCocq, Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer. “The new corporate tax reform package is an opportunity to give back to our employees, and recognize their hard work and dedication to providing our customers with a full relationship banking experience and exceptional customer service.”  – Jan. 8 2018, Peoples Bank press release

Starbucks Coffee Company (Headquarters in Seattle, Washington and 757 store locations in Washington) – $500 stock grants for all Starbucks retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plant and support center employee stock grants, totaling more than $100 million in stock grants; 8,000 new retail jobs and 500 new manufacturing jobs; an additional wage increase this year, totaling approximately $120 million in wage increases, increased sick time benefits and parental leave:

“Starbucks pays above the minimum wage in all states across the country. In April, all eligible U.S. hourly and salaried partners will receive a second wage increase in addition to the annual increases that they have already received this fiscal year. This will include an investment of approximately $120 million in wage increases that will be allocated based on regional cost of living and laws that vary from state to state. 

On April 16, we will provide an additional 2018 stock grant for all eligible full-time, part-time, hourly and salaried U.S. partners across our stores, plants and support centers, who have been active as of Jan. 1, 2018. All Starbucks retail partners will receive at least a $500 grant, store managers will each receive $2000 grant and plant and support center partner (non-retail) grants will vary depending on annualized salary or level. This investment alone is valued at more than $100 million.  

A new Partner and Family Sick Time benefit will be available to all eligible U.S. partners, which will allow partners to accrue paid sick time based on hours worked and then use them if they or a family member needs care. When this benefit goes into effect this year, Sick Time will accrue at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, thus a partner working 23 hours a week can expect to accrue approximately five days of sick time benefit over the course of one year.

Starbucks has also reaffirmed their commitment to create more than 8,000 new part-time and full-time retail jobs and an additional 500 manufacturing jobs in its Augusta, Georgia soluble coffee plant.

For store partners, Starbucks has also expanded their parental leave policy to include all non-birth parents with up to 6 weeks of paid leave when welcoming a new child.” Jan. 24 2018, Starbucks Coffee Company press release excerpt

Washington Federal (Seattle, Washington) – according to a company statement, “all Washington Federal employees in good standing and earning less than $100,000 per year will receive a 5% increase on top of their normal merit increase.”

Washington Federal, Inc. (NASDAQ: WAFD) today announced with the signing of tax reform legislation, the Bank will accelerate strategic investments in its employees, client service capabilities and community development funding. – Dec. 20 2017, Washington Federal press release

Sound Financial Bancorp Inc. (Seattle, Washington) – increasing employee incentive compensation, expanding charitable giving, and implementing a down payment assistance program for first time homebuyers:

“Responding to H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Sound Community Bank is set to implement a series of employee and community benefits in 2018.

At the Annual Employee Meeting on February 3rd, President and CEO Laurie Stewart unveiled a suite of employee and community initiatives. These include enhancing employee incentive compensation, expanding charitable giving and implementing a down payment assistance program for first time homebuyers.

The increase to incentive compensation will allow both back office and front line employees to increase compensation for achieving goals.” – Feb. 9 2018, Sound Financial Bancorp Inc. press release excerpt

Premera Blue Cross (Mountlake Terrace, Washington) — $1,500 bonuses for 2,600 employees.

Walmart – South Dakota employees at 67 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 — 45 locations in Washington – Bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe’s — 5,000+ employees at thirty-six stores and a distribution in Washington. Employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service, for 260,000 employees; expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance.

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

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

Best Buy — Twenty-eight locations in Washington; $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees.

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

Taco John’s (Locations in Fort Lewis, Kennewick, Spokane, McChord AFB): 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

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

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

T.J. Maxx – (19 locations in Washington) – 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:


  • 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


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 Washington) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.

FedEx (Multiple locations in Washington) – 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 Washington) — $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 (320+ locations in Washington) – 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 (135 locations in Washington) 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 Washington examples, please email John Kartch at [email protected]

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