The tax cuts passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump six months ago are already impacting our nation in these ways.
Americans are paying less in taxes
Ninety percent of wage earners around the country are already seeing increased take-home pay because of tax reform. Under the bill, a family of four with annual income of $73,000 will see a tax cut of more than $2,058, a 58 percent reduction in federal taxes. Similarly, a single parent with one child with annual income of $41,000 will see a tax cut of $1,304, a 73 percent reduction in federal taxes.
Workers are getting raises and bonuses
Immediately after passing of the GOP tax cuts bill, businesses responded by giving their employees pay raises and bonuses. AT&T announced it would provide each of its 200,000 U.S. employees with a $1,000 bonus. Altria is giving a $3,000 bonus to all of its 7,900 nonexecutive employees, and Wells Fargo has announced it will raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Small businesses across the country have also announced increased employee pay. Harford Alarm Company in Maryland is giving a $1,000 bonus to each of its 13 employees, and Wichita Railway Services in Kansas has given bonuses between $3,000 and $6,000 to its five employees. Similarly, Anfinson Farm Store, a family-owned business in Iowa, has given its employees a $1,000 tax reform bonus and raised wages by 5 percent. Five Senses Spa Salon and Barbershop in Illinois gave $500 bonus to its 20 employees.
The country now has a fairer tax code
The tax bill implemented numerous provisions that will bring meaningful simplification to millions of families. Most notably, the tax cut dramatically expanded the standard deduction so that 93 percent of taxpayers will have a simplified tax code. The bill consolidated personal exemptions and the child tax credit, simplifying tax compliance for more than 22 millionfamilies. The threshold at which the alternative minimum tax hits taxpayers is also dramatically increased, offering relief for most of the 4.5 million Americans that pay this tax and millions more that are forced to comply with its added complexity.
The job market and economy are strong
The U.S. economy is strong because of the Republican policies of tax reform and deregulation that have emphasized promoting American competitiveness and economic growth. Under President Trump, the economy has grown at 2.9 percent annual growth in the past year, far outpacing the stagnant 2 percent economic growth under President Obama. Job openings have hit a record high of 6.6 million, while the unemployment rate is at a 3.9 percent, the lowest level since 2000. Real disposable income rose 3.4 percent in the first quarter of 2018, and nearly 800,000 jobs have been created since tax reform passed in December.
Businesses are strengthening programs
In addition to increasing employee pay, businesses are also giving their workers other benefits, including new childcare and adoption programs, as well as development programs because of tax reform. Walmart has announced it will give a $5,000 allowance for adoption expenses and 10 weeks of paid parental leave in addition to employee pay raises. Similarly, Walt Disney will spend $50 million in employee educational programs, while Boeing has announced $300 million to be spent on charitable donations, workforce development, and infrastructure improvement.
Families are getting relief from ObamaCare
The Affordable Care Act imposed a tax penalty of $695 for an individual and $2,085 for a family of four for failing to buy “qualifying” health insurance as defined by the federal government. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act repeals this unfair tax. This tax penalty is one of the most regressive taxes in the code. More than 6.6 million individuals and families paid the individual mandate tax penalties in 2015. Nearly 80 percent of taxpayers made less than $50,000 in annual income.
Utility companies are passing on savings
Utility companies across the country have responded to tax reform by lowering rates for consumers, resulting in $4.5 billion and counting in savings for 92 million customers. Commonwealth Edison Company in Illinois is passing $200 million worth of savings to consumers, while Georgia Power will provide $1.2 billion in benefits. Arizona Public Service has requested a $119 million bill reduction for customers, and Consumers Energy in Michigan will lower customer bills by around $200 million.
Business confidence is soaring to new highs
Business confidence has skyrocketed since the tax bill passed. Small business optimism has seen 18 months straight of record high optimism, based on a survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses. More than 93 percent of manufacturers reporting a positive outlook in the first quarter of 2018, according to a survey by the National Association of Manufacturers. Optimism among middle market businesses is also at a record high. Roughly 60 percent of businesses plan to hire more workers and increase wages in the second or third quarter of 2018, while half of businesses have already increased hiring and increased wages in 2018.
Capital investments by companies are up
Since tax reform passed, capital expenditures among businesses has increased by 39 percent, the fastest rate in seven years. This good news should not be surprising. Comcast has announced it will spend $50 billion in infrastructure investments in the next five years, Merck has said it will invest $12 billion in the economy due to tax reform, while ExxonMobil will invest $35 billion in the next five years.
Americans have better retirement security
Companies are directly increasing retirement benefits because of tax reform. For instance, Visa is doubling its 401(k) employee contribution match to a maximum of 10 percent of employee pay, while Cigna is spending $30 million on 401(k) matches. At the same time, tax reform is helping the nearly 55 million Americans who own a retirement account or 401(k), and the almost 10 million American seniors that receive dividend income. Overall, our country is thriving under the latest tax reform.
Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform.
Alex Hendrie is director of tax policy at Americans for Tax Reform.