Since the passage of tax reform, every day we seem to see a new story touting the success of this legislation and our economy. Falling unemployment, continued economic growth and a booming stock market have made many of us feel increasingly positive about our finances and the economy overall. According to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, “With a massive tax cut this year, accompanied by significant regulatory relief, we expect very strong growth, millions of more jobs, and higher pay for Americans.”
Businesses are finally optimistic again, and it shows. Companies large and small all across the United States, including in Nebraska, have announced that tax reform will help them offer higher wages and provide bonuses to their hardworking employees. Walmart, for example, recently announced that it intends to raise its starting wage rate for all hourly workers to $11, expand maternity and parental leave benefits and give a one-time cash bonus for eligible employees of up to $1,000.
Walmart has also created a new assistance program to help employees with adoption expenses. These changes will impact the lives of over a million American workers and their families. Unleashing the economy benefits everyone.
In another announcement, Apple recently announced a new investment to show support for our country's economy and workforce. The tech giant said it will invest $350 billion in the United States and gave its employees a bonus of $2,500 worth of restricted stock. Apple already employs over 2 million Americans across the country, and, citing tax reform as one of the reasons, it expects to generate even more work in the future. Apple also indicated plans to build a second campus to support 20,000 jobs.
While national companies that employ a large number of Americans have announced higher wages and bonuses for their employees, companies based closer to home have done the same. For example, based in Geneva, Heartland Bank announced that full-time, non-executive employees will receive a bonus of $1,000 and part-time employees will take home $500.
Two other regional banks joined Heartland. Pinnacle Bank announced plans to give a bonus of $1,000 to its full-time employees and Union Bank & Trust, out of Lincoln, will also be giving over 800 employees a similar bonus.
The leaders of the Lawrence Paper Company, which employs over 300 Americans, including many in Nebraska, stated that they are "confident the tax bill will contribute to their future success as a business." They announced plans to invest $5 million in new equipment and gave every employee a $500 bonus. Lawrence Paper also revealed plans to expand all of their locations.
Finally, the education financial services company Nelnet plans to give almost all of its workforce, the majority of which works in Lincoln, a $1,000 bonus. The company cited the corporate tax rate reduction from 35 to 21 percent as the reason it could reward its employees for their hard work.
Many Nebraskans will be seeing lower energy bills because of corporate tax reform, too. Both Black Hills Energy and Northwestern Energy recently told the Nebraska Public Service Commission that they expect to pass some of their savings from the new tax code to ratepayers. Lower costs and more money in the pockets of Nebraskans will help families and businesses thrive.
These are only a few of the success stories being reported due to the passage of the tax reform bill. Nebraskans are optimistic about the future.