WASHINGTON—Millions of people have already started seeing the perks of tax reform. As of Jan 16, the number of companies offering financial benefits to their employees and customers in response to tax cuts reached more than 170.
The benefits include pay raises, bonuses, hiring, investments, fee cuts, and 401(k) increases, according to the conservative lobby group Americans for Tax Reform, which tracks corporate news on tax reform.
Companies like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., AT&T Inc., Comcast, American Airlines Inc., BB&T, U.S. Bancorp, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced bonuses of up to $2,000 for their employees. In addition, companies like Visa, Aflac, and Nationwide Insurance increased contributions to employee 401(k) accounts.
Comcast announced at least $50 billion investment in infrastructure in the next five years. The company will also award $1,000 bonuses to more than 100,000 employees.
Tax reform legislation was welcome news for the U.S. airlines industry. Air carriers will be able to benefit from a corporate tax rate reduction of 40 percent and provisions for “full expensing” of capital investments.
“We will be able to invest even more in aircraft and facilities, and we will be able to do so with even greater confidence about the future,” stated American Airlines in a press release on Jan. 2.
“While the company does not yet pay cash taxes due to our enormous losses in the past, there is no doubt that our country’s new tax structure will have positive long-term benefits for American,” the company stated.
American Airlines will distribute $1,000 to its nearly 127,600 employees at its mainline and wholly owned regional carriers. This will cost the company $130 million in the first quarter of 2018. Other carriers including JetBlue and Southwest Airlines also made similar announcements.
Meanwhile, some utility firms announced they would lower rates for their customers. For example, Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) the largest electric utility in Illinois said in a statement that it would pass on $200 million worth of tax savings to its customers by lowering bills.
“The average ComEd residential customer can expect to see an estimated $2 to $3 decrease on their monthly bill related to the tax reduction,” stated the company in a press release.
Pepco, Baltimore Gas & Electric, and Pacific Power made similar announcements about lowering rates.
Some companies announced charitable donations too. As a result of the new law, Boeing said that it would spend an additional $300 million for corporate giving, workforce development, and facilities and infrastructure enhancements.
So far, more than 2 million workers have benefited from special bonuses or additional wages thanks to tax cuts.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) continued to slam the Republican tax reform bill and called the company bonuses “crumbs” during a press conference on Jan. 11.
“The bonus that corporate America received versus the crumbs that they are giving workers to kind of put the schmooze on is so pathetic,” she said.
Despite criticisms from Democrats, business leaders continue to reward their employees. Many small businesses across the country have also joined the movement.
John Jordan, owner of Jordan Winery, a small business in Sonoma County, California, was one of the first business owners who announced that he would give “$1,000 bonus as a result of the passage of the tax reform bill.” The company has 85 employees.
“Just imagine if we can get 5,000 small businesses, each with around 200 employees, to join us in giving $1,000 bonuses to their employees. We’d be putting close to $1 billion into the pockets of working Americans even before the withholding tax tables change,” Jordan said in a press release.