A rising number of Georgia businesses and workers are feeling the positive impact of the historic tax cuts that became law last year.
- Aflac (Columbus) increased its 401(k) match to 100% on the first 4% of compensation and made a one-time $500 contribution to every employee’s 401(k). it also announced an increase in its overall U.S. investment by $250 million.
- AR-15 Gun Owners of America (Warner Robins) announced salary increases and bonuses for all employees.
- AT&T Southeast / BellSouth Telecommunications (Atlanta) announced that over 200,000 employees are getting a $1,000 bonus and that its investing $1 billion more overall in the United States.
- Carl Black Automotive Group (Kennesaw) announced bonuses for over 500 employees.
- CMC (Stephens County) announced $1,000 bonuses for all employees.
- Expanded Technologies (Marietta) announced a minimum bonus of $500 for every employee.
- Home Depot (Atlanta) announced a bonus of up to $1,000 for every hourly employee.
- Lockheed Martin Corp (Marietta) announced it plans to put $5 billion toward its pensions and that it’s increasing its investment in employee training, charitable contributions, and the Lockheed Martin Ventures fund by $200 million.
- Mincey Marble (Gainesville) announced it’s giving bonuses of up to $1,000 to every employee.
- Shred-X (Griffin) announced it’s hiring a new employee and purchasing new equipment.
- Starbucks is headquartered in Seattle but has a plant in Augusta. That plant is getting 500 new jobs and a $120 million expansion.
- SunTrust Banks, Inc (Atlanta) is raising its base wage to $15 per hour, investing an additional $50 million in community grants, and making additional 401(k) contributions.
- Synovus Financial Corporation (Columbus) announced it’s giving a $1,000 bonus to all non-executive employees.
- Total System Services (Columbus) announced it’s giving a $1,000 bonus to over 11,000 employees in Georgia and other states.
- UPS (Atlanta) is making a $12 billion investment to expand its Smart Logistics Network and to increase employee pensions.
- Yancey Bros. (Austell) announced it’s giving a $500 bonus to 1,200 employees.
Nationally, over 3 million Americans are getting bonuses and wage increases. Over 260 American businesses have announced they’re taking positive action because of these tax cuts. Read more here.
Last night, President Donald J. Trump delivered his first State of the Union address. Here are five key takeaways:
- Trump’s agenda is working. The historic tax cuts and regulatory relief are beginning to work and our economy is turning around.
- Fixing our immigration system. President Trump is showing real leadership get something done to fix this broken system.
- Moving at a business pace. President Trump is going to apply his successful, on time & under budget track record to rebuilding our infrastructure.
- Leveling the playing field. Free trade is critical for our economy, but it has to be fair.
- Investing in the military, reengaging with the world. President Trump is committed to working with our allies and protecting our homeland.
This was an optimistic message that all Americans needed to hear.
Together, we will build a Safe, Strong, and Proud America.
A Year Of Accomplishments For The Trump Agenda
By Sen. David Perdue (R-GA)
When President Donald J. Trump was elected, he outlined his top goals: confirming a conservative justice to the Supreme Court, rolling back onerous regulations, fixing our health-care system, and changing our archaic tax code. We have begun to do that, and we are already seeing the economy start to move. Trump’s agenda is starting to work and this has been a year of significant accomplishments.
So far, nearly 2 million new jobs have been created. Eight-hundred sixty rules and regulations have been eliminated. Five-hundred bureaucrats have been fired at the VA for poor performance. Illegal border crossings are down by 60 percent.
Consumer confidence is at a 17 year high. CEO confidence is at a 20 year high. We have had two straight quarters of 3 percent GDP growth. More NATO countries are beginning to invest in defense. For the first time in eight years, we have reinvested in our military.
In addition to Justice Neil Gorsuch being confirmed to the United States Supreme Court, 145 federal judges will be confirmed, including 12 circuit judges, compared to only three in former President Obama’s first year.
Look, I come from the business world where results matter. These results are fantastic for any president’s first year. President Trump is an outsider and business guy who is listening to the American people. He is continuing to move at a business pace, not a bureaucratic pace, and as a result our economy is on the cusp of a turnaround.
Earlier this month, we made history by changing our archaic tax code for the first time in 31 years. These changes are critical to our long-term economic future. While this tax plan is not perfect, it will help Georgians and create a level playing field so we can compete with the rest of the world.
For example, a family of four earning the median income of $73,000 will see their tax bill reduced by 60 percent. A single mom earning $41,000 is going to pay 75 percent less. The standard deduction is doubled. The child care credit is also doubled. In fact, up to 6 million Americans will be removed from the federal income tax rolls altogether.
The biggest impact will come from a dramatically lower corporate rate that will allow American businesses to compete globally. Ending the repatriation tax will free up more than $2.6 trillion in American profits locked overseas to be reinvested into our economy.
Overall, it is estimated that these tax changes will create nearly 1 million new jobs and increase wages anywhere from $4,000-9,000. Ultimately, these efforts will generate much-needed economic growth that is a crucial part of solving our national debt crisis, which is still my No. 1 objective in the United States Senate.
This year, we made some real progress. We are finally starting to get back to our founding principles of economic opportunity, fiscal responsibility, limited government, and individual liberty. However, the hard work is just getting started.
In 2018, we must keep up the momentum. We have to continue going after onerous rules and regulations. We started by rolling back the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule, stopping the Clean Power Plan, and undoing some of the damage done by Dodd-Frank.
We have to continue working to fix our health-care system. Here in Georgia, 91 percent of counties only have one choice in provider and 300,000 Georgians still cannot get insurance. We were able to eliminate the individual mandate, which fined 8 million Americans $2 billion in 2014. We still have to save Social Security and Medicare for future generations, and get at the drivers of spiraling health-care costs.
We also have to fix our broken immigration system. I have been working on The RAISE Act, which would stop chain migration, end the outdated green card visa lottery, and move us to a merit-based immigration system.
Ultimately, we must scrap Washington’s failed budget process and put in place a politically neutral platform that works to fund the federal government on time, support our military, and pay for important infrastructure investments.
It is hard to believe that just one year ago, we were getting ready for President Trump’s inauguration. It is even harder to believe that I am halfway through my first term in the United States Senate.
Georgians sent me to the United States Senate for the same reason they sent President Trump to the White House: to get results. I am proud of what we have accomplished in 2017, and in 2018 I am committed to doing all I can to continue changing the direction of our country.
Read more in The Macon Telegraph.
The Economy Revs Up
Wall Street Journal Editorial Board
The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. created 228,000 net new jobs in November, in the latest sign that the American economy is growing at a healthier pace. Could it be that “secular stagnation” isn’t inevitable and that better policies make a growth difference?
There’s little doubt now that the economy has reached a higher growth plane over the past nine or so months. Growth in GDP hit 3% in the second and third quarters, and all signs point to another in the fourth quarter. That would mark the first such string of 3% quarters since 2014, after which growth fell back to the 2% range.
The rising growth is touching most industries and parts of the country. Manufacturing is healthy—note to Donald Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross —thanks to growth abroad and rising exports. The housing market is doing well overall, and consumer confidence is high.
The best news may be the surge in small business optimism that began with the election and has persisted, as measured by the National Federation of Independent Business. Small business confidence has been depressed compared with the typical economic expansion, but NFIB’s hiring index reached an all-time high in November, and the sentiment is making a difference in the labor market.
The 228,000 new jobs in November isn’t gangbusters but it is healthy considering the growing tightness in the labor market. The jobless rate stayed at 4.1%, as new people entered the labor market, but the economy will need more workers to keep growing. Unemployment hasn’t been this low since it was 3.9% in December 2000, before the dot-com bubble burst.
Some of our friends, including Stanford’s Ed Lazear on these pages Friday, point to the still-low labor participation rate as a sign of labor slack and room to grow. If rapid growth persists, rising wages and more opportunities will pull people off disability and out of their parents’ basements.
That’s plausible, and we hope it’s true because Labor Department statistics show there is little slack in the market for current workers. The jobless rate among college graduates is down to 2.1%, which has to be near full employment and is close to the lowest since before the 2008 recession. Even more striking is the rapid decline in the jobless rate among workers over age 25 without a high school diploma. (See the nearby chart.)
These folks are supposed to be the least employable in our skills-based, information economy. Yet in November the jobless rate for these workers fell to 5.2% from 5.7% in October and 6.5% in September. That is lower than any time since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking this figure in 1992.
Why has the economy improved? Faster growth abroad has helped, and central banks continue to be accommodating by any historical measure. One of the threats to the expansion will be when monetary officials raise rates and pare back their balance sheets, as the Federal Reserve is beginning to do.
But the biggest change has been in U.S. economic policy, notably the Trump Administration’s deregulatory efforts and the boost they have given business confidence. Barack Obama’s economists dismissed regulation as a minor concern, and even called it a boon to growth, but the costs of compliance were real and added to uncertainty. Businesses held back because they didn’t know how or when government might strike next, which contributed to historically low levels of capital investment in this expansion.
That has begun to change, and the main promise of tax reform is to create the incentive to produce an investment surge. The bet is that this will increase the pace of growth, with new investments in labor productivity that will lift wages. Wage gains have been modest so far—2.5% over the past year—but if labor markets stay tight that is bound to improve.
There are risks to this growth scenario other than monetary policy. One is a burst of trade protectionism from the White House, starting with a U.S. withdrawal from Nafta. Another is a labor shortage exacerbated by a decline in immigration that forces companies to hire human capital abroad. The latter two would be self-inflicted wounds that Mr. Trump has every political incentive to avoid.
But for now U.S. economic portents look as good as they have in years. If Congress can get its tax reform over the finish line without watering down its pro-growth elements, “secular stagnation” may go down in history as one more failed progressive diagnosis.
Read more at The Wall Street Journal.
Manufacturing CEO survey shows record high optimism on prospect of tax reform
December 12, 2017
The National Association of Manufacturers said Monday its latest quarterly CEO survey reflects historically high optimism on expectations for the passage of tax reform in Washington.
The trade group said CEO optimism — hitting a high mark in 20 years of the survey — should send a message to legislators that failure to enact the bill would be a blow to American business.
“These incredible numbers demonstrate the absolute urgency of getting tax reform signed into law because manufacturers are saying loudly and clearly that more jobs, better pay and manufacturing growth are on the horizon,” said Jay Timmons, president and CEO of NAM. “This also serves as a warning to lawmakers: Fail to get this done, and American manufacturing workers will suffer the consequences of inaction.”
Each quarter, the NAM surveys 14,000 large and small manufacturers to gain insight into their economic and hiring outlook. Of those who participated in the fourth quarter study, 94.6 percent said they were positive about their own company’s outlook.
Nearly 63 percent said comprehensive business tax reform would encourage their company to increase capital spending, and more than half said they would expand their businesses (57.9 percent).
“The single most important thing that we need to see out of tax reform is permanent, more competitive tax rates,” said Austin Ramirez, president and CEO of HUSCO International, a Wisconsin-based hydraulic and electro-hydraulic component manufacturer. “I compete against competitors in Asia and Europe who are operating in a different paradigm with lower tax rates, and the high rates in the U.S. make us less competitive.”
Almost 54 percent of CEOs in the survey said they would hire more workers, and nearly half (48.8 percent) said they would increase employee wages and benefits.
“Tax reform will enable us to provide our employees with better salaries, wages and benefits which will have a real impact to improve the standard of living for them and their families,” said Bruce Pulkkinen, senior advisor and former president of the third generation, family-owned architectural woodworking company, Windham Millworks in Maine. “We can’t accept the status quo anymore.”
NAM CEO Timmons anticipates tax reform would increase the amount of available manufacturing jobs from today’s 350,000 to 2 million jobs by 2025.
“If we get it right, we’ll grow this economy. The president calls it ‘rocket fuel,’ I agree with that. Couple that with regulatory reform reducing the burdens on manufacturers who are simply trying to do the right thing and make ends meet and hire new people,” Timmons said on CNBC’s “Power Lunch.” “I think there’s no end in sight to how we can grow this economy.”
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC this optimism is not unique to the manufacturing sector.
“President Trump’s policies of deregulation, free and fair trade and now tax cuts have created an environment where businesses want to invest, grow and create jobs here at home,” Ross said.
Read more at CNBC.