When Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, there was a lot of talk about how detrimental it would be to our economy and to working Americans. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the tax cuts “open warfare” against the middle class and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi infamously described the tax plan’s benefits as “crumbs” and the passage of the plan as “The end of the world. Armageddon.”
Despite the dire warnings, it turns out that the economy is responding incredibly well to the changes we made to the tax code.
Now, businesses are beginning to do the math and are realizing that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will mean more savings. As a result, many have announced that they are passing some of these savings on to their employees or will now be seeking to grow and expand operations. As of today, more than 350 companies have announced pay raises, bonuses, and/or 401(k) increases, benefitting over 4 million Americans.
Recently, Entergy Arkansas announced that it plans to pass on savings from tax reform to its customers. It expects to save about $466 million as a result of tax reform and is acting on Governor Hutchinson’s request to send those benefits to ratepayers. Entergy officials estimate that residential customers will see savings of around $20 per month for every 1,000 kWh consumed and also expect bill reductions for commercial customers.
Small business owners are also feeling encouraged at where the economy is headed. Changes to the tax system and regulatory environment are positive indicators for them that the economic climate is becoming more advantageous. According to a recent National Federation of Independent Business survey, 32 percent of small businesses believe now is a good time to expand – the highest level ever recorded by this survey.
Companies of all sizes headquartered in Arkansas or with a sizable presence in the state are passing along savings to their employees through wage increases, bonuses and other benefits; giving to charity; and/or are making investments to grow their businesses and better serve customers.
Financial institutions like Bancorp South, Home Bancshares, People’s Bank, Bank of the Ozarks and Regions Bank are all announcing benefits for their employees and the communities they serve. Bonuses, wage increases and increased charitable giving are helping Arkansans and the towns and cities where they live and work.
Other businesses like Walmart, Tyson Foods, FedEx and UPS have also announced that they are investing in their employees and looking to grow their operations. This is a win for our state’s workforce and our economy. And lest anyone suggest otherwise, all these businesses have attributed their actions to the savings they are seeing thanks to tax reform.
There are other provisions in the law to be excited about as well. One in particular that could have an enormous impact on average Arkansans is a new incentive for employers to offer paid family leave benefits to their employees in exchange for a tax credit.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is proving to be anything but “crumbs” or “Armageddon.” It’s opportunity. It’s upward mobility. And it is what Americans deserve.
Learning about how tax reform is helping our economy and benefitting Arkansas families just confirms what we predicted would happen if we made American businesses more globally competitive and let average individuals and families keep more of what they earn. I welcome the positive news and trends we are already seeing and I’m confident that tax reform will have lasting, positive effects on our economy.