Morgan Griffith: More good news from tax reform

morgan griffithThis year’s federal income tax return due date is Tuesday, April 17. It’s the last time you will have to file under the old tax code that was replaced by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which will apply to next April’s returns.

Although Americans will file under the old, broken tax code this last time, tax reform has already ushered in benefits for taxpayers and workers.

I’ve written in this column previously about the benefits of tax reform: many people are already seeing a boost in take-home pay because the Federal Government now withholds less for income taxes, and businesses are paying higher wages, offering bonuses, and investing in the United States.

There is still more good news resulting from tax reform in the Ninth District and nationwide.

In late March, First Sentinel Bank of Richlands announced that it would offer employees a $750 bonus. The bank’s directors credit tax reform for the savings that they are now sharing with their workers. This follows on First Bank & Trust of Abingdon raising its minimum wage to $15 for the same reason.

I’ve been advised that tax reform enabled K-VA-T Food Stores, the parent company of Food City, to give raises to 25% of its workforce, a total boost to the payroll of $1 million. It also improved its benefits package for employees and can continue some health benefits that had been under stress due to soaring health insurance costs.

Also, EnerVest, an oil and gas company with a presence in Southwest Virginia and around 95 employees in the Commonwealth, paid more in bonuses at the end of 2017 and provided a larger average pay increase to its employees than it had in prior years. The company attributed part of its decision to the lift provided by tax reform.

Charter Communications, which serves parts of Southwest Virginia, announced in February that it would institute a $15 minimum wage for all employees in the country, saying that tax reform allowed them the resources to implement this policy.

Thanks to tax reform, the fast-food company McDonald’s is expanding education tuition assistance for employees. The size of the benefit per year increases from $700 to $2,500 for employees and from $1,050 to $3,000, and the number of workers who qualify now includes almost half of the company’s U.S. employees.

In all, more than four million Americans have received bonuses, and nine out of ten are seeing more money in their paychecks, and more are yet to come. The Kroger Co., which has stores in the Ninth District, recently said it plans to put a large part of the money it saved from tax reform into its employees, but will announce the details later in April.

Tax reform has unlocked new opportunities for these millions of our fellow citizens. It means that, rather than counting on Washington to make decisions about how to spend your money, you have more control over your own economic future. People are earning and keeping more of their paychecks to save or invest as they see fit.

Tax reform is fueling growth in paychecks, jobs, and the economy at large even as people file under the old code for the last time.

Businesses are excited about their economic future with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Take a recent survey of manufacturers conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers. It found that 93.5% of respondents have a positive outlook for their company, close to an all-time high, and optimism among small manufacturers is even higher. What is more, expected growth rates for production, capital investments, and full-time employment are at all-time highs.

This optimism from manufacturers and other businesses translates into more jobs and higher wages right here in America.

When tax season does come around again next year, most Americans will find filing a simpler task. They will find a standard deduction that has nearly doubled. Families will note a larger child tax credit. And most Americans will pay less to the Federal Government than they would under the current code.

So goodbye to the old code and welcome to the prosperity tax reform brings.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office.  You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.

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