February 03, 2018
A thousand dollar bonus may be “crumbs” to some people in Washington, but for Missouri families that are already feeling the impact of the tax cuts that were signed into law in December, it can mean a lot.
Missouri’s top employer, Walmart, recently announced that 25,700 Missourians will be eligible for cash bonuses. Walmart will also be raising the starting wage for full-time employees to just under $14 in our state, along with expanding its parental and maternity leave policy and providing adoption assistance nationwide. At least 20 companies that are either based in Missouri, like Great Southern Bank in Springfield and Mid-Am Metal Forming in Rogersville, or employ Missourians have made similar announcements. Nationwide, at least 3 million Americans are receiving bonuses, wage increases or enhanced benefits because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
We’ve also seen several of our nation’s largest employers announce major investments that will strengthen our economy and create thousands of new jobs. Apple plans to create 20,000 new jobs as part of its plan to contribute $350 billion to the U.S. economy over the next five years. Boeing is putting $100 million into workforce training and another $100 million into infrastructure and facilities. At the same time, smaller employers are making the same kinds of decisions.
On top of these capital and workforce investments, I’ve been particularly glad to see hundreds of millions of dollars going toward charitable contributions. I have long supported tax policies that promote charitable giving, and ensuring nonprofit organizations have the resources they need to continue serving our community remains a top priority.
And, under the law, many Missouri families’ electric bills should go down. Investor-owned utility companies in several other states have already announced rate decreases. When companies like Empire Electric and Ameren have their tax bill reduced, the rate they can charge is reduced also. The Missouri Public Service Commission has taken the first step toward seeking lower rates for Missourians.
These are some of the immediate, positive effects of the law, but there’s much more to come. As early as this month, most workers will get to take home more of their paycheck. By nearly doubling the standard deduction, doubling the child tax credit and lowering rates, the new tax code will allow Missourians to keep more of their hard-earned money instead of sending it to the IRS.
The average family of four making $73,000 a year will see around a $2,000 tax savings this year. Or, to put it another way, that’s more than two months worth of groceries, 17 months of utility bills for the average Missouri household, or a year’s worth of gasoline. 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. For families that have struggled to make ends meet with slow economic growth and relatively stagnant wages over the past 10 years, that will make a big difference.
Helping families also means making sure they have more opportunities and better-paying jobs in the future. By lowering the corporate tax rate, we’ve increased U.S. competitiveness and made it possible to bring trillions of dollars that have been stuck overseas back to our shores. By changing the way small business income is treated under the tax code and allowing Main Street businesses and family farms to immediately deduct the full cost of new equipment, we’re making it easier for them reinvest, reinvent, and grow. Together, these critical reforms are fueling record-high optimism among manufacturers, business leaders and American families.
Democrats in Congress who voted against this bill were told by their leaders it would be “Armageddon.” With more than 250 companies (and counting) using their tax savings to show employees how much they’re valued in a growing economy, nothing could be further from reality.
Delivering much-needed tax relief for Missouri families was a historic accomplishment, 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 extending funding for community health centers, 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.
Sen. Roy Blunt is the junior U.S. senator from Missouri.
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