By Guy Page
Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump December 22, 2017, 90 percent of American wage earners have higher take-home pay, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) reported August 2. Companies of all sizes are giving bonuses and raises and expanding the scope of their operations.
Scoffed at as “crumbs” on January 11 by U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, below are some new benefits provided by 18 large Vermont employers to their workers as a direct result of tax reform. Credit for research and writing this article goes to John Kartch of ATR. It has been edited for brevity. The full-length original appears on the ATR Vermont web page.
Green Mountain Power (Colchester) — The utility will pass along $6 million tax savings to customers.
Mack Molding — (Arlington), an injection molder and contract manufacturer, invested $5.4 million to upgrade two existing facilities in response to “favorable tax changes” and a surging economy.
Vermont Gas Systems, Inc. (South Burlington, Vermont) — The utility will pass $2.4 million savings from tax reform to its 51,000 customers. The average customer’s annual bill will be almost $40 lower. “Our customers will start to see a reduction in their heating bills next month and with the recent bitterly cold weather we’ve been experiencing, this money will be a welcomed relief,” President and CEO of Vermont Gas Don Rendall said when the savings were announced.
AT&T — $1,000 bonuses for 73 Vermont employees. Nationwide, $1 billion increase in capital expenditures.
Walmart — Vermont employees at 6 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 — 3 locations in Vermont; Bennington, Williston, Rutland — Bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.
Lowe’s —200+ employees at two stores in Vermont; Burlington and Essex Junction — 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 (Two locations in Vermont; White River Junction and Williston) — Tax reform bonuses for employees.
Starbucks Coffee Company — (8 locations in Vermont) – $500 stock grants for all retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plant 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.
Best Buy — (Williston) — $1,000 bonuses for full-time employees; $500 bonuses for part-time employees.
Cintas — ( Multiple locations) — $1,000 bonuses for employees of at least a year, $500 for employees of less than a year.
Chipotle Mexican Grill — (Burlington) – Bonuses ranging from $250 to $1,000; increased employee benefits; $50 million investment in existing restaurants.
Comcast — (Three locations in Vermont: Newport, Rutland, South Burlington) — $1,000 bonuses; nationwide, at least $50 billion investment in infrastructure in next five years.
T.J. Maxx — (Five locations in Vermont; Barre, Burlington, Middlebury, Rutland, St Albans) – Tax reform bonuses, retirement plan contributions, parental leave, enhanced vacation benefits, and increased charitable donations.
U-Haul — (Multiple locations) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.
Dollar Tree, Inc. — (Multiple locations) — Increased base wages, enhanced benefits including maternity leave for qualifying employees and employee training, totaling $100 million nationwide.
FedEx — (Multiple locations) – Accelerated and increased compensation; pension plan contributions.
McDonald’s — (25+ locations in Vermont) – 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.
Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont