164 Companies Credit Tax Reform for Bonuses and Pay Raises

One hundred sixty-four companies have gone on record stating they gave bonuses and pay raises to employees because of the new tax reform law, according to Americans for Tax Reform.

The list has been continually updated and jumped from 40 companies to 164 in 10 days, the Washington Examiner reports.


The businesses include American Airlines, AT&T, several prominent savings and loan banks, Boeing, Comcast, Pacific Power, and Visa.

The list shows what each company paid in bonuses and includes attached statements or press releases, saying tax reform was the catalyst for each company’s decision.

AT&T showed direct support for President Donald Trump in its statement and said it expects the changes to produce more jobs and “economic growth.”

“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,” AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement. “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.”

Americans for Tax Reform tweeted the list and said companies also provided increased 401K contributions along with the bonuses as a result of the new tax law.

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How Tax Reform Will Put More Money in Your Wallet This Year

President Donald Trump on Dec. 22 signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and this sweeping reform of the U.S. federal tax system will mean significant tax cuts for most individuals, families, and businesses.

Because most workers have taxes withheld from their paychecks, these tax changes could have a big impact on take-home pay and household budgets.

Those changes to paychecks could come as soon as February, when the IRS is supposed to have new wage-withholding guidance available to businesses. Currently, however, the IRS has instructed employers to continue using the old, 2017 withholding tables.

Once the IRS releases its 2018 tables that incorporate the changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, most workers will see either larger paychecks, or little change in them.

Workers with children and those with moderate incomes will likely experience significant changes—increases—in the size of their paychecks.

A single individual earning the median wage of $50,000 a year can expect a $35 to $45 increase in their biweekly or semimonthly paycheck. That amounts to an additional $1,100 in take-home income per year.

A married couple with three children and $75,000 in income can expect an additional $65 to $75 in their combined biweekly or semimonthly paychecks, or close to $2,000 per year.

The primary source of higher paychecks will be the new tax law’s lower rates and higher child tax credit.

Lower Rates

The new tax law lowered marginal tax rates virtually across the board. That means the IRS will direct employers to withhold less of workers’ wages.

For example, income previously taxed at a 15 percent rate will now be taxed at a 12 percent rate, and much of the income that was previously taxed at a 25 percent rate will now be taxed at a 22 percent rate. Lower rates mean less money withheld and thus higher take-home pay.

Child Tax Credit

The doubling of the child tax credit, from $1,000 to $2,000, along with a higher phase-out level and a higher threshold for the refundable portion will translate to less tax withholding for workers with children.

Employees who receive the full benefit of the child tax credit can expect to receive about $40 more per child in each paycheck.

Of course, the new tax law does away with personal exemptions, which previously provided an additional per-child tax benefit ranging from $0 to a little more than $1,000 per child, depending on the taxpayer’s income level.

The near-doubling of the standard deduction, along with the increase in the phase-out and the refundability of the child tax credit will go a long way in making up for the loss of personal exemptions for most taxpayers. On net, the higher child tax credit will result in significant increases in workers’ take-home pay.

Pass-Through Income for Small Businesses

Workers with pass-through income from a small business or LLC can also expect to submit lower tax payments to the IRS.

The new tax bill provides a 20 percent deduction for certain pass-through income, and that income is also subject to the new, lower tax rates.

For a small business with $150,000 in annual income, the new tax law will likely translate to about $2,500 less in quarterly income tax payments to the federal government, or $10,000 less per year.


Most retirees receive a large share of their income from fixed sources, such as Social Security, pensions, or 401(k) withdrawals.  Thus, they are unlikely to experience changes in their monthly income because of the tax bill.

Many retirees will, however, experience a change in their total tax bill. For most, that will be a positive change, meaning a lower total tax bill.

The new tax law will not affect either the level of Social Security or 401(k) payments and withdrawals or the taxation of those payments and withdrawals. It will, however, generally result in lower tax rates on income from earnings or pensions.

For many seniors, that will mean either lower quarterly tax payments to the IRS or income tax refunds when they file their 2018 taxes next year.

Higher Refunds in 2018

Since employers won’t receive the new tax-withholding tables until February, most workers will pay more in taxes than they owe during the first few weeks of the year. Consequently, tax refunds for 2018 (which will come in 2019 after workers file their 2018 taxes) will likely be larger than in future years when the correct withholding tables apply for the entire year.

Although not perfect, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will have significant, positive effects on the economy.

Some businesses have already responded to those anticipated changes by granting bonuses and wage increases and by making or planning for additional investments. Individuals, too, will soon see the benefits of tax reform by taking home bigger paychecks.

The vast majority of businesses and individuals will benefit, thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The post How Tax Reform Will Put More Money in Your Wallet This Year appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Trump Backs Bill to Require Online Merchants Collect Sales Tax, Lawmaker Says

A North Dakota lawmaker says President Donald Trump has promised that her bill requiring online merchants to collect sales taxes will be signed into law in 2018.

“They all committed to me that we were going to get my bill passed in ’18 here,” Noem said, according to The Rapid City Journal, referring to the president and members of his administration. “I told them that I would remind them of that daily.”

Noem’s bill would allow all states to tax retailers that don’t have a physical presence in their state, Adam Michel, a tax-policy expert at The Heritage Foundation told The Daily Signal in an email Monday.

Currently, according to Supreme Court precedent in Quill v. North Dakota, states can only collect sales taxes on businesses that have a physical presence in the state, such warehouses or offices, according to a report by James Gattuso, a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, and Michel.  

“The case currently under review by the Supreme Court to overturn Quill, and congressional proposals to similarly expand states’ ability to tax beyond their borders, are ill-conceived,” Michel said. “Such proposals would upend a quarter-century of precedent on sales taxes, and put consumers–especially customers of small, internet-based retailers–at risk of higher taxes.”

A senior aide to a conservative member of Congress told The Daily Signal in an email that a vote for Noem’s bill wouldn’t be popular.

“Conservatives would be broadly opposed to it, but we haven’t heard anything about this coming to the floor [of Congress] in the near future,” the aide said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin appeared to signal possible support for the tax in July, when he said during a hearing that such a tax “could be a very important means for the states to fund infrastructure.”

Instituting out-of-state sales taxes would be counterproductive to the tax-reform bill that passed Congress on Dec. 20, Michel said.

Congress just passed [the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act] with the aim of cutting tax for millions of Americans. Allowing states to tax business outside of their borders will undermine the victory of tax reform by raising taxes on unsuspecting consumers.

The post Trump Backs Bill to Require Online Merchants Collect Sales Tax, Lawmaker Says appeared first on The Daily Signal.

We Hear You: Tax Cuts, the GOP Establishment, the Job Outlook, and the Trump Economy

Editor’s note: Here’s another smorgasbord of emails from The Daily Signal’s audience, reflecting your thoughts on tax cuts and other matters as 2017 came to a close. Enjoy, and don’t forget to write us at letters@dailysignal.com.Ken McIntyre

Dear Daily Signal: The historic tax reform legislation draws a clear distinction between the governing matrixes guiding the two political parties in Congress (“Taxpayers Could See Benefits of GOP Tax Reform Bill as Early as February“).

Simply stated, the Democrats govern by onerous taxation (their “affordable” health care act), stressing that only the “state” can adequately spend the citizen’s money. The Republicans govern by free market license, stressing that the state has no business in the citizen’s pocketbook; the way citizens spend their money is their decision, and the consequences are to be borne by them.

The Democrats seek an obtrusive nanny state governed by elites who “know best” how to spend someone else’s money. In the wake of the passage of the historic tax reform, they are reliving the wounds they suffered when they thrust Obamacare upon the American taxpayer, increasing taxes in every imagined way.

The Democrats are saying the defeat they suffered in 2010 will now befall the Republicans. But such a conclusion only exposes a delusional matrix of governing that believes that citizens love to be taxed, so if taxes are removed they will be enraged.

The huge difference between the way the Affordable Care Act became law along party lines and the way tax reform did is so simple: In the first, the Democrats crammed oppressive taxes down citizens’ throats, and in the second, the Republicans released citizens from oppressive taxes.

The blowback of the 2010 election cycle resulted because Americans angrily rejected the Democrats’ governing matrix. Once they realize the 2017 tax reform released them from the onerous bondage of elitism taxation, they will show genuine appreciation at the polls.—John L. Kachelman Jr., Searcy, Ark.

Dear Daily Signal: I will fight the GOP establishment every day for what they think is an adequate calculation of what our wimp of a House speaker, Paul Ryan, called “giving back to taxpayers their money.”

How can anyone with millions of dollars in wealth even keep a straight face when saying that giving back a family of four making $70,000 a year around $2,000 of their own money is great? Enough for each of them to purchase an extra happy meal a week.

I have been paying from 15 to 18 percent and never, ever have had one year since 1965 that I paid zero taxes.

That gets me on the topic of the 48 percent who don’t pay taxes each year. And yet I hear how, if you owe over $10,000 in taxes, so many fly-by-night companies can make a deal with the IRS to cut what you owe. If the IRS is making deals with these groups, they’re all stealing from those of us who pay taxes every year, plus penalties.

I was given a penalty of 11 percent. That alone gets my goat when we give enemy countries billions every year and politicians live the life of Riley. Under my rule, that would stop now.

Seniors having to include our Social Security in our income is double jeopardy. That’s like an insurance company saying that if you collect on the policy we have to take 15 percent back as a penalty.

Seniors getting Medicare and Social Security don’t think the word “entitlement” should be construed as the politicians keep using it, as if we don’t deserve it and it should be taken away from us. We didn’t mismanage the funds. We didn’t create the program. Get the drift?

President Trump has done more than any other president in history to guide us in a better direction, but the establishment politicians are still idiots and border on being crooks.—L. Michael Bessinger


Dear Daily Signal: Your two sets of charts reviewing the effects of the changes in taxes are excellent (“In Updated Charts, How These 7 Taxpayers’ Bills Will Change If Tax Reform Is Signed Into Law,” “In Updated Charts, What 8 Seniors’ Tax Bills Will Be With Tax Reform“). I am bombarded by liberals on every side whining about how much they will be harmed by changes that they have not even seen yet.—Anne Rose


Dear Daily Signal: The big question: Are leftists going to apply for all the new jobs President Trump is creating?—Robert Albanese


Dear Daily Signal: Why should we embrace tax cuts and tax reform? Because they will help our families and the businesses that employ us.

Republicans proposed to end the death tax, the alternative minimum tax, and the marriage penalty; they proposed to increase the child tax credit and double the standard deduction. They lowered taxes for small businesses and corporations, and allowed full “expensing” of new business investments. Historically, these kinds of tax cuts translate into hiring by companies of more workers and raising wages.

The changes simplify a complex, anti-growth tax code that serves special interests (through loopholes) and confiscates the earnings of hardworking Americans.

Republicans campaigned on pro-growth tax reform as a priority in 2016. Now they can pair tax reform with spending cuts to maximize economic growth.—Lucy Tscherne, Valley Forge Patriots

Editor’s note: This letter also was signed by Pennsylvania residents Linda Hertzog, West Chester Tea Party; Betty Dunkel-Hernon, Valley Forge Patriots; Lisa Esler, Delaware County Patriots; Jane Marie Toal, Citizens for Liberty; Donna Ellingsen, Elk Township Republican Committee; Linda Cleaver, Londonderry Township Republican Committee; Margaret Layden, Tredyffrin M-6 Republican Committee; Jane E. Brown, Landenberg; and Rita Misero, Coatesville.


Dear Daily Signal: I suggest you discuss with several economists whether we are living in a “Trump economy” (“4 Big Signs of a Trump Economic Recovery”). It has been stated often that the economy of the prior president carries forward at least one if not two years.

Both Trump and The Daily Signal talk like a president starts with a clean slate. Doesn’t work that way. Trump takes no responsibility for his actions that have negative consequences, and inflates the benefit of any action with agreeable results.

Conservatives allegedly recognize reality. That is not consistent with judgments The Daily Signal has made about Trump and his non-policies.—Dr. Jacob T. Chachkes


I thoroughly enjoy reading your updates and have tremendous confidence that the Trump administration is performing as advertised. However, the leftist media and Democrat talking heads will continue to sway the citizenry. Therefore, would it be possible to compile a list of the accomplishments of the administration?

Anything from regulation reduction to the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court would, we hope, contribute to a considerable list that would be good ammunition in talking to others in our circle of friends and family.—Mike Stevens


We can take pride again that we have a president who represents the people who put him in office, much to the dismay of the sewer creatures of Congress.—William Wall

A New President at Heritage 

As a fan of The Heritage Foundation who watched Genevieve Wood’s interview with its new president, I’m impressed with Kay Coles James’s resume and, most importantly, her library of common sense that, sadly, cannot be passed on (“Q&A: Meet Kay Coles James, the New Heritage Foundation President”).

Ms. James is an example of someone who should be a role model for our youth and adults alike. I appreciate the efforts of people like Ms. James and Ms. Wood in trying to keep citizens informed.—Brannen Edwards


I really enjoy receiving The Daily Signal. I’m a 60-year-old woman who grew up reading and being excited by the biographies of our nation’s founders. The Barack Obama years were truly depressing.

I feel like the world has been turned upside down and inside out regarding our nation’s values. I applaud The Heritage Foundation’s new president, Kay Coles James. She and your organization give me a glimmer of hope for our future.—Mona Hamel


I have had the blessing and privilege of being mentored and nurtured by Kay Coles James. Heritage and America are getting the best this nation has to offer. I am also proud that Heritage had the vision and courage to do the right thing by hiring the best person for the job.—Clarence Carter, Phoenix


Thank you, Heritage, for introducing me and so many others to this beautiful woman. It certainly seems Kay Coles James should and be the “poster adult” for every disadvantaged child in this nation, and many around the world. To admire and emulate her will help so many of our young as her story gets wider review. May God continue to bless Ms. James and Heritage.—Mike Briggs


So pleased with the selection. A dedicated, decent woman and smart, too, who respects and has been part of the Heritage tradition for a long time. Onward!—Jean Smoot, Raleigh, N.C.

Concerning Paris Dennard’s tribute to Kay Coles James (“What I Learned From The Heritage Foundation’s New Leader”): President Trump should place this woman and the young conservatives she has mentored in charge of developing and implementing strategies to fulfill his promises to the black communities of this nation.

Nothing is more important to the success of the Republican Party than changing the hearts and minds by ridding black communities of the violence perpetrated by a few on the many decent families living there.

Improving security will bring businesses, which will bring jobs, which will bring higher wages. Safe schools will foster a better educational environment. Mobilizing members of the community who want more for themselves and their neighbors to participate in community action projects aimed at improving lives rather than fighting perceived oppression can lift entire communities.

Kay Coles James appears to be the sort of inspirational, action-oriented, solution-oriented person who can make a huge difference in the proper leadership position.—Chas Bassos


Paris Dennard paints a very positive Heritage Foundation future under the tutelage of Kay Coles James, a highly reasoned educator.

I’ll gladly embrace what she purports for black America as long as she embraces personal choice and equal rights, diminishes sameness, and acknowledges cultural preferences. I’m seriously interested in reading her take on income inequality and our nation’s diverse population.

Perhaps she’s the libertarian with a heart that Heritage very much needs. I wish her total success at Heritage. I’ll also look forward to future Daily Signal commentary with her guidance.—John Kominitsky, Los Osos, Calif.


Heritage is the source we look to for thoughtful and reasoned opinions on current issues in America (“Kay Coles James to Lead The Heritage Foundation as Next President“). We wish Ms. James all the best.—Randy and Peggy Malcom, Limon, Colo. 

I have a question for Ms. James: What does being inclusive mean? The Dems are in the resist movement with very strange bedfellows. Is that what she means by inclusive?—Lori Hopkins-Cavanagh, New London, Conn.

Saw her on “Hannity” last night. Very impressive. Good luck to Ms. James.—Jo Ann Tackovich, Florida

Very happy to hear. I have always respected and admired her.—Sandy Groepel, Elizabethton, Tenn.

Heroism in Higher Education

Tell Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., to keep up the good work. His Hero Act, explained in the congressman’s commentary, is exactly what needs to happen to our broken higher education system that my kids are in the middle of (“Student Debt Is a Symptom of Our Broken Education System“).

We hold our noses every time we make a payment to these “institutions of higher education.” Institutions are what they are. They are not serving the needs of many of our students, society in general, and definitely not Florida families.

Our boys are talented, passionate young men who would benefit from an alternative to a four-year degree at our many Florida universities. One son finds college boring and even wrote a paper about it, suggesting many of the same things DeSantis did.

But they know they have to attend. Our university system needs to be turned on its head. What a waste of money.

Keep up the good work at The Daily Signal. Love you guys.—Caroline Ure

Books Under the Tree

Dear Daily Signal: Your list of books for Christmas gift-giving is comprehensive but, in my opinion, not complete (“29 Books That Would Make the Perfect Christmas Gift“). I would have added Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” George Orwell’s “1984,” Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” and Amity Shlaes’ “The Forgotten Man.”

I know three of the four are out of fashion, but each applies to the world as it exists today—and possibly the future.—Jack Watson, Ardmore, Ala.


I love lists of books with a few personal words to recommend them.This one is full of books I will put on my to~read list. Thanks!—Nancy Arey


Thank you for the list of books. I bought two for me and one for my daughter.—Peter Anderson, New Braunfels, Texas


I want all of these books, but No. 1 is the Antonin Scalia book. Will get this tomorrow for a present to myself. He’s my legal hero.—Virginia Murrell, Rancho Murieta, Calif.


What compendium would be complete without the ever-contemporary Heritage Guide to the Constitution?—Derek Dubasik

This and That

I wish Kelsey Harkness’s video report on Colorado baker Jack Phillips could air on the television networks (“Justice Kennedy: Colorado ‘Neither Been Tolerant nor Respectful’ of Jack Phillips’ Beliefs“). People need to understand this side of the story: This man, this bakery, is about every American.

This story is about the domination of an ideology from the left that seeks to enslave free people—to enslave we, the American people. Let us pray for the defense of the freedoms that self-sacrificing men and women fought and died for.

I thank The Daily Signal and Mr. Phillips for right reason, simplicity, and courage. I thank him for standing up, and paying a terrible price, for truth, beauty, and goodness in all things large and small.Catherine Anderson


Great interview of Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, by Rob Bluey (“Q&A: FCC Chairman Explains Why He’s Ending Obama’s ‘Heavy-Handed Internet Regulations’“).

So good to hear someone talk about getting the government out of the way and letting U.S. companies innovate. Yet another part of President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign promises.—Dale Athanas, Clinton, Conn.


I wish entertainers of all persuasions would exercise restraint, as Taylor Swift does, when delving into the political arena (“Problematic Women: Taylor Swift Isn’t Political Enough for Marie Claire“). Most don’t pursue the moral high ground and are way too enthusiastic about their personal lives. Of which I’d be better off not knowing.

And with limited knowledge of the Constitution and economic prosperity (capitalism), they’re not very reliable for advice. Ms. Swift is smart, wealthy, and wise beyond her years. I hope she remains so.—Brannen Edwards

Concerning the commentary by Robert Moffit and Ed Haislmaier (“Who Wouldn’t Have Coverage If the Obamacare Mandate Is Repealed”), the real reason why the left and liberals love communism is because under it the power holders and politicians have absolute power over the little people. Whom they may kill at will. Mao and Stalin were depopulation machines.—Tom Lilac


I can’t help but compare today’s spiraling accusations of “sexual misconduct” by women against so many high-profile men as being another Salem witch hunt. Men are losing their jobs and being ostracized with no evidence put forth by the women.

There are no videos, there are no signed statements, there are no still pictures, yet everyone it seems believes that these men are guilty. What has happened to innocent until proven guilty?—Elna Bjelland-Hughes


Probably one of the biggest actions President Trump has not taken is repeal of the “Johnson Amendment” that threatens churches’ tax-exempt status if they support political candidates.

True, Trump issued an executive order, but since then he has dropped the subject. The next president, if liberal, will just as quickly rescind the executive order. And there is nothing to say that “infractions” made by churches during Trump’s term will not be prosecuted.—Paul Kellner


Is it fairly common that a Republican president’s judicial nominees struggle with questions at Senate confirmation hearings because the Democrats are zealous to destroy any Republican nominee? So do the Democrats question progressive and liberal candidates like this?—Dave Covert

How Are We Doing?

Dear Daily Signal: I want to take a moment just to thank you very much for your excellent publication. Reading your articles both inspires and gives me hope while mentally floundering in the sea of “fake news,” as it were.

Us folks out in the real world already instinctively understand that President Trump is doing a great job, but when you are constantly bombarded with opposing opinions and “facts” to the contrary, it becomes quite disheartening and difficult to discern the truth, to say the least.

Our resolve to stand with the president is mortared with the good, true knowledge that you bring us every day. Your news is like a lifeline of solid information that we can count on in these troubling times. Please keep up the good work, and may God bless.—Jerry C. Reich


As a conservative, I am constantly looking for coverage of national, political, and international news that is unbiased, but more importantly accurate. I can abide honest mistakes, but “gotcha” journalism is a huge turnoff. I refuse to watch cable news such as CNN and MSNBC as well as ABC, NBC, and CBS. I do watch Fox’s Bret Baier and think quite highly of him as a professional.

I look forward to The Daily Signal’s continuing the “not fake news” coverage I already expect. I will be enjoying Fred Lucas’s great articles in the future.—Joseph Bochichio


Why do you have to interrupt the text of your fine articles with huge color photos so that it is very complicated to print an article without wasting paper and ink on big photos?—Ralph Blair

Gratitude. Thanks for all you do. Bye, B.S.—William Sharpe, Arizona

Some good articles, but too predictably one-sided and selective. The piece on Roy Moore’s loss is pretty balanced. But how about some other views on the benefits (or not) of corporate tax cuts? What are the lessons from President Reagan’s argument that trickle-down aids workers?—Jameson W. Doig

It would be difficult to stay informed about conservative issues without The Daily Signal.—Bill Parker Headland


Please put “like/share” buttons at the end of your articles. I hate having to scroll back to the top after reading an article, and I am not one to “like” or “share” an article without reading it first. I will not do so just because of who the author or source may be.—Craig Brueckman

I enjoy your publication. It’s nice to read things I can enjoy and agree with.—Fred Riley

Stop referring to illegal aliens as “immigrants.” Those illegally in the USA are thieves. They have stolen the privilege of being able to live in the USA. Call them thieves.—Doug Wilkerson

Illustrations in your tax charts are disappointing in that only “Mr. Jones” is wearing a tie.—J. Tilford

Compliments. You are doing a great job. Keep up the fine reporting.—Buddy Hutchins

The post We Hear You: Tax Cuts, the GOP Establishment, the Job Outlook, and the Trump Economy appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Analysis Finds 1 Million Americans So Far Getting Pay Raise From Tax Reform

One million Americans are getting pay increases because of the tax reform package signed into law in December.

That’s according to Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative group that established a running list of companies that have announced bonuses, wage hikes, and charitable donations.

“Just five days into 2018 the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has changed the nation for the better,” ATR president Grover Norquist said in a statement. “American companies are raising wages, paying bonuses, expanding operations, and increasing 401(k) contributions.”

The website asks for people to provide information if they are aware of other companies providing pay raises because of tax reform.

President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress said the reform would grow the economy, while Democrats argued the corporate tax cuts would not benefit employees.

The new law cut the corporate tax rate from 39.6 percent to 21 percent. It also lowered individual rates and closed loopholes.

Among the employers to give bonuses was AT&T, which gave $1,000 bonuses to its 200,000 employees; American Airlines, which gave $1,000 bonuses to 127,600 employees; BB&T Bank, which gave $1,200 bonuses to its 27,000 employees and raised the base wage from $12 to $15 per hour; Southwest Airlines which gave $1,000 bonuses for 55,000 employees and $5 million in charitable donations; and Sinclair Broadcasting, which gave $1,000 bonuses for 9,000 employees.

For the full list of companies, click here.

The post Analysis Finds 1 Million Americans So Far Getting Pay Raise From Tax Reform appeared first on The Daily Signal.

More Businesses Raise Wages, Give Bonuses in Wake of Tax Cuts

More businesses are announcing bonuses, higher minimum wages, and new benefits for employees after passage by Congress of Republicans’ tax reform bill. 

An email from House Speaker Paul Ryan’s press office highlights 33 businesses—including Aflac, Associated Bank, and PNC Bank—that have announced raises, bonuses, and other improvements for employees.

In moves that may defuse efforts to mandate higher minimum wages across the nation, at least nine of the 33 businesses announced they are boosting their minimum wage for thousands of workers to $15 or more an hour.

“Happy New Year and welcome to 2018, where Americans are waking up across the country with a brand new, pro-growth tax code,” the Wisconsin Republican’s press office says.  “Despite the doom and gloom rhetoric from the left and special-interest groups, millions of hardworking people are already seeing benefits.”

Among developments:

Insurance company Aflac says it will boost U.S. investments by $250 million and increase 401(k) benefits for employees, including a one-time contribution of $500 to every worker’s retirement savings account

Associated Bank announced a $500 bonus for  nearly all employees and an increase in its minimum wage from $10 per hour to $15 per hour, and PNC Bank is giving a $1,000 bonus to 47,500 workers and a $1,500 boost to workers’ existing pension accounts.

Southwest Airlines announced a $1,000 cash bonus for all employees, including part-timers, plus $5 million in charitable donations.

President Donald Trump, who made passing tax reform a top goal of his first year in office and signed the bill into law Dec. 22, has praised businesses for their positive response.

Republicans’ tax reform package maintains the current seven tax brackets but lowers rates to 10, 12, 22, 24, 32, 35, and 37 percent.

The package caps at $10,000 the state and local tax deduction, which allows taxpayers who itemize instead of taking the standard deduction to deduct from federal taxable income any property and income taxes paid to state or local governments.

The package repeals Obamacare’s mandate for individuals to buy health insurance, increases the $1,000 child tax credit to $2,000, and provides a $500 credit for child dependents who aren’t minors.

The legislation reduces the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and repeals the corporate alternative minimum tax.

Hours after Congress passed the legislation, AT&T announced it would give a $1,000 bonus to over 200,000 U.S. employees and invest $1 billion in the economy and Boeing announced a $300 million investment, as The Daily Signal previously reported.

>>> Companies Announce Bonuses, Raises Following Tax Reform Legislation Passage

CVS announced it would hire 3,000 new workers and FedEx said it would increase hiring.

Adam Michel, policy analyst for economic studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email Wednesday that such announcements are just the beginning.

“Raises, bonuses, and new investments spurred by tax reform show that the Republicans’ tax reform is working how they said it would,” Michel said, adding:

Businesses across America are putting their tax cuts to work for the American people. This first wave of stories is great news, but the real benefits are yet to come. Tax reform expands the economic pie so that more Americans will be better off.

As businesses and their competitors continue to increase investment in the U.S., workers’ yearly wages will also go up and underemployed households will see the biggest benefits from new jobs.

Below is the list of the groups and businesses included in the email from Ryan’s office. The full list may be viewed here.

Aflac: $250 million boost in U.S. investments and increased 401(k) benefits, including one-time contribution of $500 to every employee’s retirement savings account.

American Savings Bank: $1,000 bonus to 1,150 employees, nearly the entire workforce, and increase of minimum wage from $12.21 an hour to $15.15.

Aquesta Financial Holdings: $1,000 bonus to all employees, increase in minimum wage to $15 per hour.

Associated Bank: $500 bonus to nearly all employees and increased minimum wage to $15 per hour, up from $10.

AT&T: $1,000 bonus to all 200,000 U.S. workers and $1 billion boost in U.S. investments.

Bank of America: $1,000 bonus for about 145,000 U.S. employees.

Bank of Hawaii: $1,000 bonus for 2,074 employees, or 95 percent of its workforce, and increase of minimum wage from $12 to $15.

BB&T Corp.: $1,200 bonus for almost three-fourths of associates, or 27,000 employees, and increase in minimum wage from $12 to $15.

Boeing: $300 million boost in investments to employee gift-match programs, workforce development, and workplace improvements.

Central Pacific Bank: $1,000 bonus to all 850 nonexecutive employees and increase in minimum wage from $12 to $15.25.

Comcast NBCUniversal: $1,000 bonus for more than 100,000 employees.

Deleware Supermarkets Inc.: $150 bonus to 1,000 nonmanagement employees and $150,000 in new investment in employee training and development programs.

Express Employment Prc: $2,000 bonus to all nonexecutive employees at Oklahoma City headquarters.

Fifth Third Bancorp: $1,000 bonus for all 13,500 employees and increase of minimum wage to $15 for nearly 3,000 workers.

First Hawaiian Bank: $1,500 bonus for all 2,264 employees and increase in minimum wage to $15.

First Horizon National Corp.: $1,000 bonus to employees who do not participate in company-sponsored bonus plans.

Kansas City Southern: $1,000 bonus to employees of subsidiaries in the U.S. and Mexico.

Melaleuca: $100 bonus for every year an employee has worked for the company—an average of $800 for each of 2,000 workers.

National Bank Holdings Corp.: $1,000 bonus to all noncommissioned associates who earn a base salary under $50,000.

Nelnet: $1,000 bonus for nearly all of 4,100 employees.

Nephron Parmaceuticals: wage increase of 5 percent for its 640 employees.

Nexus: wage increase of 5 percent and plans to hire 200 workers in 2018.

OceanFirst Bank: increase in minimum wage from $13.60 to $15, affecting at least 166 employees.

PNC Bank: $1,000 bonus to 47,500 employees and $1,500 increase to existing pension accounts.

Pinnacle Bank: $1,000 bonus for all full-time employees in Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri.

Pioneer Credit Recovery: $1,000 bonus to employees.

Rush Enterprises Inc.: $1,000 discretionary bonus to 6,600 U.S. employees.

Sinclair Broadcast: $1,000 bonus to nearly 9,000 employees.

SunTrust: increase of minimum wage to $15, $50 million increase in community grants, 1 percent percent 401(k) contribution for all employees.

Turning Point Brands, Inc.: $1,000 bonus to 107 employees.

Washington Federal, Inc.: wage increase of 5 percent for employees earning less than $100,000 per year and increased investments in technology infrastructure and community projects.

Wells Fargo: increase in minimum wage from $13.50 to $15, and higher charitable giving by about 40 percent, to $400 million.

Western Alliance: wage increase of 7.5 percent for the lowest-paid 50 percent of employees.

The post More Businesses Raise Wages, Give Bonuses in Wake of Tax Cuts appeared first on The Daily Signal.

The GOP’s Work Has Just Begun. Here’s What Should Top the Agenda in 2018.

Conservatives, we have our work cut out for us this year.

Mind you, 2017 definitely had its ups. Neil Gorsuch is on the Supreme Court. The war on terrorism moved in the right direction, with the prime minister of Iraq declaring victory over ISIS.

The Trump administration pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate-change agreement and is working to reduce regulations. We also have a much-needed tax cut in place.

On a more personal note, we welcomed a new president at The Heritage Foundation: the immensely talented Kay Coles James. Director of the Office of Personnel Management under President George W. Bush, and a senior member of President Donald Trump’s transition team, James was the Heritage board of trustees’ unanimous choice after an extensive search.

The nation’s leading think tank couldn’t be in better hands.

Good thing, too, because there’s plenty to do in 2018—and beyond.

Take health care. Despite Trump’s claim to the contrary, repealing the individual mandate does not “essentially” repeal Obamacare. Key provisions, such as the expansion of Medicaid, remain in place.

“Repeal of the individual mandate is certainly a significant victory for congressional Republicans,” writes David Sivak in the Daily Signal. “Yet the change is modest compared to prior Republican attempts at repeal.”

Indeed, he points out, “Some predict that repeal of the individual mandate may actually lead Republicans to shore up the Obamacare exchanges.”

Or take spending—please. It continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Budget expert Romina Boccia, in a review of federal spending in 2017, notes that the deficit reached $666 billion (how appropriate), the debt hit $20 trillion, and Social Security spending topped $1 trillion.

This is unsustainable. No wonder we’re always told we can’t “afford” tax cuts. The money we send to Washington flows out at such a prodigious rate that policymakers naturally howl at the thought of even a modest reduction.

The problem is that freedom requires constant work and vigilance. There are no permanent victories or defeats. It’s like weeding a garden. Policymaking is never a “one and done” situation. There will always be something to do tomorrow. And the next day.

With that in mind, here’s a six-question test that I introduced in my 2006 book “Getting America Right.” My co-author Doug Wilson and I wrote that, if followed, “it could well become the bypass operation that restores Washington’s failing political heart to normal functioning.”

The questions we should ask of any policy prescription:

  • Is it the government’s business? Relatively few things really need federal intervention. Many can and should be handled at the state and local level, where accountability, knowledge, and oversight is naturally better.
  • Does it promote self-reliance? Liberal policy proposals usually promote dependence on government, but nothing could be more un-American. We should, for example, measure a welfare program’s success not by how many people are signed up for it, but by how many who are on it have managed to find work.
  • Is it responsible? Should we spend more than take in? Should we tolerate waste, fraud, and abuse? Of course not.
  • Does it make America more prosperous? That’s a key question to pose when it comes to trade barriers and business regulations. Yet we seldom do.
  • Does it make us safer? The way we’ve been underfunding the military, to the point where current readiness levels are seriously compromised, suggests that we need to ask this more often.
  • Does it unify us? We used to welcome immigrants as new Americans. Yet our current policies encourage balkanization. This needs to change—and soon.

We should certainly be optimistic about 2018. We have the tools we need to make things better. The question is, will we have the courage to act?

Originally published by the Washington Times.

The post The GOP’s Work Has Just Begun. Here’s What Should Top the Agenda in 2018. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

I Voted for Tax Reform. Here’s Why It Will Help America.

The tax cut bill just passed by Congress and signed into law by the president is not perfect. But I voted for it because it will help working families and small businesses, give almost all Americans an immediate pay raise, and create millions of new jobs.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. In fact, as citizens, you shouldn’t take any politician’s word for it. And happily, you won’t have to.

As in any political debate, there has been a lot of overheated speculation about this bill. Some Republicans who opposed my work with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to change the bill to provide more tax relief directly to working and middle class said that would destroy the bill and crush its chances to spur economic growth. The argument was silly.

But so are many of the criticisms of the bill coming from the left. Some Democrats say the bill will only cut taxes for businesses, not individuals.

That’s false. The centrist Brookings Institution says the bill will reduce taxes for all income groups in 2018 by an average of $1,600.

Some congressional Democrats argued this tax rate reduction plan was the worst bill in American history, apparently forgetting about the Fugitive Slave Act, or the Alien and Sedition Acts. These criticisms are nuts.

In total, the bill is estimated to cut some federal taxes by a total of $6.5 trillion over the next 10 years, and raise others by $4 trillion over the same period, coming out to a $1.5 trillion tax cut.

I am not thrilled about the potential hit to the deficit. But I also believe we cannot tax our way to a balanced budget. The only way to close the deficit is with economic growth and spending discipline.

With new jobs, higher wages, and more investment, the larger overall economic pie will give a bigger slice both to American workers and to their government.

Over the last two decades, the United States’ 35 percent corporate tax rate has cost us trillions of dollars in aggregate international investment. The new 21 percent rate in this bill will help bring more of the global economy to our shores, instead of having us send so much of ours overseas.

And of course the doubling of the standard deduction and child credit will deliver immediate, substantial tax relief to middle-income families.

And the good news is, in a few weeks, we will be able to ignore the political speculation and rhetoric and just see for ourselves.

Now that the bill is law, the IRS will begin to implement the new rules, and paycheck withholding guidelines will change. In another few pay periods, you either will or won’t see a raise in your take-home pay.

Over the course of the next year, two years, three years, we either will or won’t see more “Help Wanted” signs in business windows. We will or won’t see more listings on job search websites. We will or won’t hear about this or that business expanding, opening a new branch or a new plant.

The new, $2,000 per-child tax credit—which Rubio and I successfully fought to make available to millions of additional working families—won’t make raising kids easy. But it will make things like diapers, braces, little league, or piano lessons more affordable again.

I voted for this tax bill because I believe it will deliver higher take-home pay, more relief for middle-class families, and business tax reform to spur hiring, wage growth, and investment. Every Democrat in the House and Senate voted against the bill because they thought it would not do those things.

In a few weeks, we’ll start to see—in your paychecks, at your office, in your community—who was right.

The post I Voted for Tax Reform. Here’s Why It Will Help America. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

With Christmas Tax Cuts Signed Into Law, 2018 Just Got Merrier

Most of the gifts exchanged at this time of year are opened on Christmas Day. But this time around, a big one arrived a few days early: the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

You’d never know that if you listen to the grinches in the so-called mainstream media, of course. They poured the usual amount of derision on it, insisting that it’s nothing more than a robber-baron’s roundup—a grab bag of goodies for the rich and no one else.

“A Win for the Wealthy, the Entitled and the Irresponsible,” read the headline of The Washington Post’s editorial. The New York Times, meanwhile, went with “Tax Bill Lets Trump and Republicans Feather Their Own Nests.”

Other media outlets followed suit, venting outrage at what they insist is nothing more than a sell-out and a scam.

It isn’t. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act isn’t perfect, but it offers real tax relief to Americans up and down the income scale. President Donald Trump’s opponents are so fixed in their class-warfare ways that they seem oblivious to how beneficial it will really be, to ordinary workers and to the economy as a whole.

Several high-profile businesses—ones with no ideological ax to grind, unlike many in the media—seemed to realize this. They immediately followed the announcement of the Act’s passage with a few welcome announcements of their own: bonuses for their employees, and plans to create more jobs.

AT&T said it plans to give a $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 employees, and to invest $1 billion in the economy. Boeing announced a $300 million investment. FedEx said it’ll hire more workers, as did CVS—3,000, to be specific.

Comcast reacted to the tax bill and to the repeal of net neutrality by saying that 100,000 of its employees will get a $1,000 bonus.

There were others—and more to come, you can be sure. “This is just the first wave of many such stories,” tax expert Adam Michel told The Daily Signal. “These announcements show that businesses across America will put their tax cut to good use.”

This flatly contradicts the conventional, ahem, wisdom at many media outlets. Trickle-down economics doesn’t work, they insist.

But actions speak louder than words, and the actions of many businesses shows how tax relief can help all Americans, directly or indirectly. As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats.

Will the rich benefit more than lower-income Americans? It depends on how you look at the numbers.

The rich pay the lion’s share of the tax burden, so they will see the largest dollar value in benefits.

However, the middle class sees the largest reduction in taxes paid: up to a 56 percent tax cut for some people.

Is this what the media means by Trump’s “tax cut for the rich?” News flash: Under this legislation, the wealthiest people in America will actually pay a larger share of total taxes. Liberals should be celebrating—our tax code is now more progressive than it was under President Barack Obama (not that that’s a good thing.)

Still, this is a win-win across the income spectrum. When you increase the standard deduction and the child tax credit, to cite two of the tax bill’s most notable features, you can’t help but lower the federal burden on many hard-working Americans—not just the wealthy.

Mind you, there’s still work to be done. There’s much we can do to simplify our Byzantine tax code, and make it flatter and fairer to all Americans.

But the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is an excellent place to start. Something to think about next year, when your gift budget is a bit bigger than it was this year.

Originally published by the Washington Times.

The post With Christmas Tax Cuts Signed Into Law, 2018 Just Got Merrier appeared first on The Daily Signal.