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Daily Journal (Op-Ed): Tax reform benefiting families throughout Missouri

April 13, 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is fueling record-level economic optimism across America, and Missouri is no exception.

I recently visited two small businesses, one in Owensville and one in Montgomery City, and it was clear the new tax code is already paying off for employees and local jobs, and laying the groundwork for stronger growth in our communities.

As of today, more than 500 companies nationwide have publicly announced pay raises, bonuses, benefit increases, and new investments because of tax reform. More than four million Americans will benefit from these changes, including thousands in Missouri. Walmart, our state’s largest employer, and Lowes, which employs 6,000 Missourians, announced tax reform bonuses and expanded maternity and parental leave, and both companies will provide $5,000 to help cover adoption expenses. Home Depot, with 34 locations in Missouri, announced that its employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000. Smaller employers, like Mid-AM Metal Forming in Rogersville and Hunter Chase and Associates in Springfield, have also handed out bonuses to their employees.

In addition, with the new tax rates in effect, the vast majority of Missourians should be taking home more money in their paychecks. For the single parent with one child who makes $41,000 a year, their taxes will be reduced by 75 percent or nearly $1,400 this year. For the average family of four making $75,000 a year, the law will mean $2,000 in annual tax savings. That amounts to more than two months’ worth of groceries, a year’s worth of gasoline, and almost a year and a half of utility bills for the average Missouri household.

At a recent roundtable hosted by President Trump in St. Louis, one mother and veteran said the increase in her take-home pay is allowing her to invest in her daughter’s education to give her the same opportunity she had to succeed. Chris, who wrote to me from Midland, says he’s taking home an additional $136 in his pension check. For him, that means another trip to the grocery store each month and help offsetting other bills.

Helping families also means making sure they have more opportunities and better paying jobs in the future. We’ve seen employers in Missouri and across the nation announce major investments that will strengthen our economy and create thousands of new jobs. A solar company based in Springfield just announced that it’s adding 30 jobs and will invest $300,000 in a Kansas City expansion. Boeing, which has a significant presence in St. Louis, has announced $100 million in charitable donations, $100 million for workforce development, and $100 million for infrastructure and facilities investments nationwide.

A recent report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that nearly sixty percent of business leaders plan to increase hiring over the next six months. As the CEO of Kansas City Southern said, “The combination of lower tax rates and expensing is going to create … additional cash flow that we can use for reinvestment in growth, [to] create jobs, and so it's a very big deal.”

Delivering much-needed tax relief for Missouri families was a historic accomplishment, and it will continue to have a major, positive impact on families across our state. But, our work can’t stop there. It’s important for Congress to continue moving forward on the big issues we have in front of us, like fighting the opioid epidemic, strengthening our infrastructure, and more. I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to join us in doing the job the people we work for expect us to do.

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