How the Republican Tax Cuts Are Helping Wisconsin

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Posted by John Kartch on Monday, January 18th, 2021, 6:10 AM PERMALINK

Wisconsin is benefiting greatly from the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act enacted by Republicans in 2017:

Individual mandate tax relief: 82,060 Wisconsin households are no longer stuck paying the much-loathed individual mandate tax, thanks to the TCJA's elimination of this tax. 80% of Wisconsin households hit with this tax made less than $50,000 per year. Be warned, Joe Biden wants to bring this tax back from the dead, one of the many reasons Biden can't be trusted on taxes.

424,970 Wisconsin households are benefiting from the TCJA’s doubling of the child tax credit.

Every income group in every Wisconsin 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.

1,954,190 Wisconsin 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.

Lower utility bills: As a direct result of the TCJA’s corporate tax rate cut, Wisconsin residents are saving money on utility bills. Lower electric, water, and gas bills help households and small businesses operating on tight margins. For example, Madison Gas & Electric, Alliant Energy, Wisconsin, Superior Water, Light & Power, and We Energies (see below) all passed along tax cut savings to their customers. 

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

MusicNotes (Madison, Wisconsin) – Salary increases for employees:

The new year brings a new salary increase for all 55 employees at Musicnotes, Inc., the worldwide leader in digital sheet music based in Madison, Wisconsin. Effective January 1st, the 3% salary increase is tied specifically to corporate tax reform and is in addition to Musicnotes' existing annual raises to eligible employees. 

"We're genuinely appreciative of our loyal and gifted team at Musicnotes and we are thrilled to share the benefit of lower corporate taxes with them," said Executive Chairman, Tim Reiland. "It's the right thing to do and it's also smart business."

After a strong 2017 sales performance, Musicnotes was named to the Internet Retailer Top 1000 list for the 13th straight year in 2017 and garners over half of the worldwide digital sheet music market, according to traffic statistics from SimilarWeb. The company has sold products to over six million customers since 1998.

"Musicnotes has paid a full corporate tax rate over the past several years," indicated Reiland. "Beyond the Jan 1 salary increases, we will accelerate hiring plans and also have increased flexibility regarding technology projects and investment opportunities in 2018 and beyond." – Jan. 8, 2018 MusicNotes press release

Quad/Graphics (Sussex, Wisconsin) - Giving employees stock for their retirement accounts:

Quad/Graphics Inc., the international printing company based in Sussex, said this week that Instead of a one-time bonus, the company will transfer roughly $22 million in Quad/Graphics stock to its employees' retirement accounts.

In his fourth quarter 2017 earnings call with analysts this week, chairman, president and CEO Joel Quadracci said the stock gift was "made possible by tax reform legislation."

"We received a benefit from tax reform and decided it made sense to invest this back into our employee base who is helping drive our transformation as a company," said company spokeswoman Claire Ho.- February 23, 2018, Milwaukee Business Journal article excerpt

Trico (Pewaukee, Wisconsin) -- 401(k) expansions, bonuses, and creation of new jobs:

For example, as a direct result of the tax cuts, full-time employees at the Pewaukee-based Trico Corporation will receive $650 bonuses and increased contributions into their 401(k) accounts. The company will also hire more full-time workers to fill new positions. - April 17, 2018, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner article excerpt

Brian's Electric (Stratford, Wisconsin) – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allowed the company to increase wages:

Jacobs told Budget & Tax News he has passed the benefits of TCJA along to his employees,

“I gave out, when you add it all up, about $150 an hour worth of wage increases,” Jacobs said. “Depending on how they have their taxes taken out of their checks, the lowest was around $14 a week in net take home pay, all the way up to $65 in net take home pay.” – Sept. 12, 2018, Heartland Institute article.

The Platform (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) -- The company is building a co-working space and food hall which is located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Developers offered look Monday at the progress on a $16 million project to turn a cold storage building into a co-working space and food hall in the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood.

The first floor-to-ceiling window has been installed in the nine-story building at 2937-67 E. Grand Blvd. It will be among dozens of windows that will pour light into the long-abandoned building known for its rainbow-colored mural.

"It is a relatively small project but because it is out of the norm, it attracts a great deal of interest," said Peter Cummings, executive The Platform, the Detroit-based development group undertaking the project.

For example, the Chroma project falls under Opportunity Zone rules that allow investors to reduce or avoid capital gains taxes by investing in designated areas. Ferrari will participate in a session Tuesday on the topic of successful opportunity zone investments. -- April 30, 2019 Detroit News article

Koehler Flooring, Inc. (Green Bay, Wisconsin) – This family carpet and flooring company gave $1,000 bonuses to seven full-time employees:

The tax reform bill is a huge win for the USA and will have positive effects on our floor covering business. Our customers have more capital to use for expansion and remodeling which is great news for all construction trades. There is more work to be done on the tax code but it's nice to see this recent reversal on punishing success. My crew was very happy to receive their tax reform good news.” -- David Koehler, President.

Americollect (Manitowoc, Wisconsin) $300 - $500 bonuses for 250 employees:

A Manitowoc-based company will give its roughly 250 employees a bonus following Congress's passage of the tax reform bill the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

In an email to employees Wednesday, Americollect President and CEO Kenlyn T. Gretz said: “Today, Congress passed the tax reform bill; our company will be taxed less because of it. Since we will now be taxed less, I wanted to take this opportunity and utilize this financial benefit to give back to each of you, our teammates, by directly impacting your paycheck in the form of a bonus!”

Gretz said: “We find great joy in being able to provide this bonus to the employees, who really are the heart and soul of what we do. Full-time employees can expect to see as much as a $500 bonus come 2019 and even part-time employees will be included.” -- Dec. 21, 2017 Manitowoc Herald Times article excerpt

Melron Corporation (Schofield, Wisconsin) -- The company was able to give employees a pay raise because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Thanks to the trump tax cuts, I've been able to raise my employees wages so they got a pay raise and the tax cuts. Even in the face of the pandemic the president doubled down on his support for business. -- Debbie Flood Speech at RNC, Aug. 27, 2020

American Family Insurance (Madison, Wisconsin): 11,000 workers will receive a $1,000 bonus:

“American Family Insurance said Friday it will give 11,000 workers a one-time bonus of $1,000, becoming the latest U.S. company to pass some of the savings from federal tax reform to employees.

The Madison-based insurer said the reduction in the corporate income tax rate also would help fuel permanent changes to its employee benefits program, such as expanded tuition reimbursement, help paying student loans and scholarships for workers who pursue a post-high school degree.

In addition, American Family said its family leave program now will provide employees with paid leave to care for an ill child of any age or for a spouse or domestic partner.

 “Our success rests with our people who are dedicated to helping our customers,” Bill Westrate, American Family Insurance president, said in a statement. “These changes demonstrate our commitment to our people, today and into the future, with expanded benefits and educational support, and to the communities where we do business.”

American Family said Friday the company will contribute $10 million to its Dreams Foundation, which supports programs and provides grants to nonprofits. This year, American Family said, the foundation will provide a one-time, two-to-one match for employee and agent donations to qualifying charities, a boost from the one-to-one match in place since the Dreams Foundation was established in 2016. – Jan. 26 2018, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article excerpt

Twisted Path (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) – Because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the business is planning on hiring new employees:

With less than 20 days until the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act expires, local craft distillers are getting nervous. Brian Sammons, owner of Twisted Path Distillery in Milwaukee's Bay View area and president of the Wisconsin Distillers Guild, said the last few weeks have been scary for him and his small craft business.

"It's goofy to have this much business uncertainty just hanging in the balance," Sammons said.

…..

Sammons only has two full-time employees and four part-time. He is waiting to hire a full-time sales and marketing person because of the act's uncertain future.

Local distillers such as Sammons points to the political distractions in the House and Senate as a reason for the act's idleness. The act is bipartisan with 326 co-sponsors in the House and 73 co-sponsors in the Senate, more than three-quarters representation in each chamber. – Dec. 16, 2019, Milwaukee Business Journal article.

Sprecher Brewing Company (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) – The brewery used savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to reinvest in the company and create new jobs:

"Other breweries in this area are certainly doing the same thing with the savings they get as we are here," said Jeff Hamilton, president of Sprecher Brewing Company. "This act gave a bit of a tax break to all alcohol producers."

Right now, the team at Sprecher said the money saved from the tax breaks goes back into the business.

"Gives us additional funds that can be reinvested back into the company," Hamilton said. "Back into creating additional products, which on top of that creates new jobs."  Oct. 9, 2019, Fox 9 article.

RF Development (Menasha, Wisconsin) -- The company is redeveloping a building and creating commercial and residential space in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

Alderman Stan Sevenich said the proposed $10 million redevelopment of the former Brin Building property could be one of the best things to happen in Menasha in the past 100 years.

"I actually think that this is probably going to be the catalyst that will really turn Menasha into the gem of the Valley," Sevenich told The Post-Crescent.

RF Development of Menasha, the same group that owns the former City Hall at 140 Main St., intends to construct a three-building commercial and residential complex on the Brin site at the southeast corner Main and Tayco streets.

Sevenich and the rest of the Common Council reviewed the proposal Dec. 16 and unanimously directed city staff to negotiate a development agreement for the project.

The agreement could come back to the council for approval as soon as January. Sevenich said RF Development could begin construction by late spring.

"This is going to be somewhat on the fast track," Sevenich said.

The development has a tentative completion date of spring 2021.

According to plan, RF Development would purchase the Brin property from the city for $1 and then redevelop it as follows:

Building 1: A three-story mixed-use building at the corner would have 8,148 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and 16 market-rate apartments on the upper floors.

Building 2: A four-story residential building along Tayco would have 30 market-rate apartments. The two apartment buildings would be connected by a skywalk.

Building 3: A 3,000-square-foot restaurant near the Fox River navigational canal.

Parking: The development would have 40 underground stalls and 55 surface stalls.

Mayor Don Merkes said the project would set the tone for future developments and would offer connections to the city's trails and waterfront.

"I think it really sends a good message as you're coming into town that this is the entry to our downtown and this is what you can expect to see when you're downtown," Merkes told The Post-Crescent.

Sam Schroeder, the city's director of community development, described the proposal as "an iconic and influential project that will lead a path of urban renewal and growth in our downtown."

Menasha officials had been marketing the site to potential developers to create a new anchor for the downtown. The site lies in an Opportunity Zone, which provides investors with certain federal tax advantages. -- December 25, 2019 The Post-Crescent article

White Lotus Group (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) -- The company announced that they will be building 100 affordable apartments located in an Opportunity Zone created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:

The former Fletcher School property near Northridge Mall in Milwaukee could be sold to developer White Lotus Group for 100 new affordable apartments and community spaces for local social service groups including the YMCA.  White Lotus Group, based in Omaha, Nebraska, expects the project will cost $28 million, according to a city of Milwaukee report on the proposed property sale. The one-story school at 9500 W. Allyn St. has been vacant since 2009. The city would sell it for $500,000.  

White Lotus has a “special affinity” for rehabbing vacant former schools into housing, and is exploring multiple opportunities to do that in Milwaukee, said Scott Henry, executive vice president of development in the company’s Chicago office.  

  “The real estate tends to be good, the buildings tend to be built well and solidly and they are beloved properties in the community that people want to see saved,” he said.  White Lotus would build three vertical floors on top of the existing Fletcher school for a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The first floor would have about 70,000 square feet of community space dedicated for local social-service organizations. Those organizations could provide financial literacy training, or help people find jobs, for example, Henry said. 

 Potential partners for that space are the YMCA, Social Development Commission and CrossWay Church, according to the city report.  The apartments would be for people making 50% to 80% of the area’s median income level, Henry said. It would become a modern housing option for people in the local workforce, he said.  White Lotus must secure low-income housing tax credits to finance the development. It would apply in December to the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority to compete for them. If White Lotus succeeds in winning the credits, it would buy Fletcher School in August 2020.   

 Evers reveals businesses allowed to operate under Safer at Home order  Businesses allowed to operate under the Safer at Home order include banks and health care operations COMING EVENT Power Breakfast June 19   White Lotus plans to use other public financing mechanisms to pay for the project. Those include the federal Opportunity Zone program, Henry said. The federal Opportunity Zone program offers tax breaks to investors who put money received from capital gains into developments in low-income areas.  White Lotus usually works with larger corporations seeking to invest multimillion-dollar sums through the Opportunity Zone program. While that financing would be available for Fletcher School, Henry said there’s also room for local investors who may want to participate. -- November 11, 2019 Milwaukee Business Journal article

Madison Gas & Electric (Madison, Wisconsin) - The utility is passing along tax cut savings to customers:

Madison Gas & Electric will return a one-time credit of $9.23 to its residential electric customers and $4.80 to natural gas customers by July 31. After that, electric bills will dip about $1.56 a month and gas bills by about $1 a month in 2018, MGE spokesman Steve Schultz said. That totals about $8 million worth of credits, according to PSC calculations.

The money represents excess taxes the companies have been collecting from ratepayers. Utility rates, set in advance, anticipated a 35 percent corporate tax rate. But Congress, in its tax reform package, lowered the rate to 21 percent. – May 26, 2018 Wisconsin State Journal article excerpt

Great Lakes Distillery (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) – Used savings from the Tax Cuts And Jobs Act to add space and buy new equipment:

When the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act was passed two years ago, Great Lakes Distillery founder and owner Guy Rehorst was able to make a lot of advances to his business with the added savings. He added space to his Walker's Point distillery at 616 W. Virginia St. in Milwaukee. He also added new equipment and new personnel and began producing more product for future sale. – Dec. 10, 2019, Milwaukee Business Journal.

Stillmank Brewery (Green Bay, Wisconsin) – The owner of the brewery said that he was able to use savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to create new jobs and grow his company:

It did help us,” Brad Stillmank, Owner and Brewer at Stillmank Brewery in Green Bay said, “you know, accelerate our growth to where we are now.”

Stillmank added that his brewery currently produces between 1,500 and 2,000 barrels of beer annually, meaning that with the tax cuts, his business is saving almost $7,000 every year.

He explained that breweries are still taxed in other ways, despite the cut, “We’re still responsible for paying all the other taxes that any other business would have to, this is just a tax that’s above and beyond for our particular business segment.”

....

Stillmank says that over the past two years, he has been able to invest more in his business and the community, evening hiring extra personnel as a result of the tax breaks.

“For the last two years we’ve been doing our best to take advantage of the opportunity that we have had with that,” he explained, “and we have grown our company and we have added employees.”

Without the tax cuts, Scanzello told Local 5 he worries that that kind of growth will falter across the area, including in businesses that supply local breweries.

“Cleaning chemical companies, hop purveyors, or equipment manufacturers are all going to be impacted by anything that’s going to stunt the growth in the industry,” he said. – Dec. 11, 2019,  CBS Green Bay Article.

Alliant Energy, Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin) - The utility is passing along tax cut savings to customers:

Alliant said its retail electric costs will rise by a total of $194 million in 2019 and 2020 as it brings on the 700-megawatt, natural gas-fueled West Riverside power plant near Beloit in the second half of 2019.

Alliant’s natural gas expenses are projected to rise $24 million over that period.

But rather than raising customer rates, the utility said it will cut costs via fuel savings and income tax reductions. - May 26, 2018 Wisconsin State Journal article excerpt

Superior Water, Light & Power (Superior, Wisconsin) – the utility is passing along tax reform savings to customers:

Residential customers of Superior Water, Light & Power will receive a $31.80 lump-sum credit on July bills as a result of savings accrued from the tax law Congress passed last year, according to an order issued Thursday by the Public Service Commission.

Customers in all categories will receive lump-sum and ongoing credits for each provided service. The largest electrical customer will receive a $61,807 lump sum credit and other non-residential customers will receive lump-sum electric credits varying from $13.70 to $3,106 depending on customer classification, according to the PSC order.

SWL&P estimated its total customer credits this year at $1.322 million. – May 29, 2018, Superior Telegram article excerpt

We Energies (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) – the utility is passing along tax reform savings to customers:

We Energies electric customers will receive a one-time credit in July and a slight decrease in electric rates in subsequent months from a portion of the savings from the company's lower federal corporate tax rate, state regulators decided on Thursday.

The Public Service Commission determined that 20 percent of the immediate savings from the lower tax rate should be passed on to customers.

The remaining 80 percent of the savings will go toward paying down deferred costs that stood at $424.5 million as of Dec. 31 but that are not included in current rates.

"It will be a win-win for our customers — providing an immediate bill credit while also helping to reduce future rate increases," Cathy Schulze, a We Energies spokeswoman, said in an email.   - April 26, 2018, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article excerpt

Central Standard Distillery (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) – The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act allowed the distillery to hire four new employees, invest in a new facility, and ordered a new bottling line:

Central Standard Distillery co-owner Evan Hughes said his business was able to grow faster than it normally would because of the act. He attributes four key growth areas to the success of the act, including: Central Standard hired four new employees, bringing staff totals to 22 people. The company invested in a 15,000-square-foot facility on Clybourn Street. In addition, Central Standard ordered a new bottling line for improved efficiency and offered health care to all of its employees.

"It gave us the courage to expand our business quicker than we normally would," Hughes said. – Dec. 10, 2019, Milwaukee Business Journal.

Associated Bank (Green Bay, Wisconsin) – a base wage increase from $10 to $15 per hour and $500 bonuses:

Associated Bank today announced plans to raise its minimum hourly wage from $10 to $15 per hour and to distribute a one-time bonus of $500 for all hourly, non-commissioned employees once tax reform legislation is signed into law.

The pay increase and one-time bonus are expected to be distributed during the first pay cycle of 2018. This combined investment in the company's workforce will positively impact 55% of its employees.

"Every day our customers share stories of our colleagues delivering a positive customer experience," said Associated Bank President and CEO, Philip B. Flynn. "Our ability to recognize their work in this way is something we are proud to do."

Flynn said the new tax legislation, particularly the reduction in business tax rates, allowed the company to share some of the benefits with its employees. It also helps position the company to further enhance the customer experience and its community investments in the future. -- Dec. 21, 2017 Associated Bank press release

Blue Harbor Resort (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) -- $1,000 bonuses:

The Forsythe Family today dedicated a one-time cash bonus of $1,000 to each eligible Blue Harbor employee.

The Forsythe Family’s financial dedication to Blue Harbor employees is in direct response to President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017. – Jan. 25, 2018 MySheboygan.com article excerpt

Copperleaf Assisted Living (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) –  $200 - $600 bonuses for 175 employees:

An assisted-living business will give its 175 employees bonuses up to $600 as a result of the tax reform package passed by Congress and signed by President Trump on Friday.

Krista Mendyke, who owns Copperleaf Assisted Living with her husband, Jim, said they will give away all of the company's estimated tax savings as a result of the legislation.

Copperleaf, which is based in Stevens Point, also has facilities in Schofield, Marathon City, Ripon and Adams.

"It's really to bring awareness to what's going on in our country and how it impacts them ... and that businesses and corporations do want to do the right thing," Mendyke said Friday.

Every employee will receive a bonus, which will start at $200 and be tiered based upon the worker's status of casual, part-time or full-time. About 60 full-time employees will receive the maximum bonus of $600, she said.

Mendyke said she and her husband will visit each facility on Tuesday to hand out the bonus checks.

In total, they are giving away $60,000 in bonuses, "our entire tax savings" estimated for 2018 based on changes to business income tax rates, she said.

"I called (our accountant) yesterday and I said, what does this mean for us, a company our size?" Mendyke said Friday. "They sent us a projection and we're going to go ahead and pass that on." Dec. 22, 2017 Stevens Point Journal article excerpt

CUNA Mutual Group (Madison, Wisconsin) – $20 million in charitable contributions:

"CUNA Mutual Group said Tuesday the company is making its largest contribution ever to its philanthropic foundation, a $20 million donation made possible in part by federal tax reform." -- Feb. 13 2018, Journal Sentinel article excerpt

BMO Harris Bank200 locations in Wisconsin -- base wage raised to $15 per hour; increased charitable donations:

“BMO Harris Bank has joined an increasing number of financial institutions in raising its minimum hourly wage to $15.

The bank cited the recent federal tax reform, which lowered the corporate income tax rate, in its decision to boost employee compensation.

The new rate is effective immediately, the company said Tuesday. BMO Harris, which is based in Chicago and owned by Toronto's BMO Financial Group, has more branches than any other bank in Wisconsin.

BMO Harris also said it will increase its level of philanthropic community giving by 10% in 2018.

“We’re pleased to share the benefits of the strong economic conditions, and the effects of the recent tax reform changes, with our employees and communities,” David Casper, president and chief executive of BMO Harris Bank, said in a statement. “Our success is tied directly to the communities we serve, and we’re proud of the exceptional job our employees do in providing a great customer experience.” – Jan. 31 2018, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article excerpt

Johnson Bank (Racine, Wisconsin) – base wage raised to $15 per hour.

North Shore Bank (Brookfield, Wisconsin) -- $500 bonuses.

Plexus Corp. (Neenah, Wisconsin) – cash bonuses for non-executive employees:

“In order to reward employees for their contributions towards Plexus’ success, Plexus will provide existing, full-time, non-executive employees a one-time cash bonus.  This bonus will be provided in the fiscal second quarter to nearly 16,000 employees, totaling approximately $13 million.” – Feb. 20 2018, Plexus press release excerpt

Robert W. Baird & Company (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) – Cash bonuses of up to $1,500; charitable contributions:

“Milwaukee's Robert W. Baird & Co. said it will pay cash bonuses of $500 to $1,500 to employees, joining the list of Wisconsin companies passing along some of the benefits of federal tax reform to their workers.

All full-time and part-time benefit-eligible employees of the financial services firm — except company leaders — will receive a $1,500 one-time cash bonus. Other part-time associates and long-term interns will receive a bonus of $500, Baird said.

Baird leaders will receive the benefit in the form of a $1,500 donation to the charity of their choice, which could amount to an additional $1.2 million being contributed to the community in 2018, the company said.

The one-time benefit will be awarded to Baird's more than 3,500 global employees and amounts to more than $5 million.” – March 2 2018, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article excerpt

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 2,684 Wisconsin 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

Home Depot -- 27 locations in Wisconsin, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Lowe's -- 1,000 employees at 8 stores and one distribution center in Wisconsin. Employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service; expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance.

Apple (Apple store locations in Glendale, Madison, and Wauwatosa) -- $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.

Walmart – 89 stores in Wisconsin; Bonuses of up to $1,000; base wage increase for all hourly employees to $11; expanded maternity and parental leave; $5,000 for adoption expenses.

Wells Fargo – 51 locations in Wisconsin; raised base wage from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour; Nationally, $400 million in charitable donations for 2018; $100 million increased capital investment over the next three years.

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

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

Comcast (Multiple locations in Wisconsin) -- $1,000 bonuses; Nationally, at least $50 billion investment in infrastructure in next five year.

Ryder (Fourteen locations in Wisconsin) – Tax reform bonuses.

Starbucks Coffee Company (145 locations in Wisconsin) –$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.

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

McDonald’s (325+ locations in Wisconsin) – 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 

Note: If you know of other Wisconsin 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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