Tax reform resulting in Colorado businesses investing more in employees, communities

Scheels All Sports Colorado’s location in Johnstown gave its employees bonuses right after federal tax reform was signed into law. (Little Mountain 5 | Wikimedia via Creative Commons)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will create roughly 17,520 new jobs in Colorado and increase household median income by an average of $3,105.

Americans for Tax Reform, which compiled a comprehensive list of businesses giving raises, bonuses, and other savings to employees and customers in Colorado, notes that tax reform resulted in 90 percent of wage earners receiving higher take-home pay.

“This legislation will put our nation and Colorado back on track by providing much needed assistance to families and small businesses," Republican Colorado Congressman Scott Tipton, who voted for the bill, said in a state. "Coloradans know best how to spend their hard-earned paychecks and this legislation will allow them that opportunity.”

As early as late December, companies in Colorado announced that they were passing on their tax savings to employees and customers.

Denver-based manufacturer Centennial Bolt gave bonuses to its employees as a “Christmas gift” equal to 5 percent of their annual salary. It also helped fund the opening of a new 150-bed women’s shelter in Denver in December.

Centennial Bolt employees can expect another bonus this June, the company announced. Tax reform resulted in the company increasing wages, increasing its workforce by 30 percent, updating facilitates and expanding capital investment, increasing community giving, and it plans to open a new plant in the U.S. instead of manufacturing its product in China.

“We’re actually going to be at a competitive level to build it in the United States again," Centennial Bolt president Mark Cordova said of tax reform.

"In our industry, there are people using 1940s equipment because it still works,” Cordova told the National Association of Manufacturers. Tax reform allows companies to make capital investments that they weren’t able to do before, he added.

Scheels All Sports Colorado’s location in Johnstown gave its employees bonuses right after the bill was signed into law. In a Dec. 28, 2017 news release, Scheels stated, “As we enter 2018, the new tax reform bill offers a huge opportunity for American business and notably our employee-owned company.” Company leaders have been meeting with employees explaining the "positive impacts" of tax reform, CFO Michelle Killoran told the Fargo Forum this spring.

Denver-based Canary LLC announced that it’s hiring more employees and increasing capital spending because of tax reform. CEO Dan Eberhart said in a statement that tax savings would be spent locally, replacing aging equipment and hiring more employees.

Fort Collins-based Bank of Colorado gave $1,000 bonuses to all of its full-time employees. Its president, Shawn Osthoff, said in a press release, "We feel strongly that the message should be loud and clear that this is a tax cut that will benefit all Americans."

Alamosa-based First Southwest Bank increased its base wage to $14 per hour, including full benefits in January.

“By being able to provide a higher living wage to our starting employees, and invest in our team, we can be a catalyst for economic growth, and reaffirm our commitment to a better quality of life in all of the rural Colorado communities our branches serve,” First Southwest CEO Kent Curtis said in a press release.

Longmont-based FirstBank gave bonuses to its part- and full-time employees, increased base wages and salaries. Fort Morgan-based FMS Bank increased its 401(k) contributions. National Bank Holdings Corporation of Greenwood Village gave bonuses to employees making less than $50,000.

Waste Management Inc., with multiple locations in Colorado, gave $2,000 bonuses to 1,243 employees statewide. Apple stores in Boulder, Broomfield, Colorado Springs, Denver, Littleton, and Lone Tree gave all employees $2,500 bonuses in the form of restricted stock units.

“The impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is just now taking real shape across the country, and Colorado Millennials can take heart in its potential," Jimmy Sengenberger, president and CEO of the Denver-based Millennial Policy Center, told "With a tight labor market and the unleashing of capital by private businesses – especially small businesses – we are finally on the cusp of meaningful wage growth.

“This earnings growth will especially impact millennials, who are now laying the foundations for and starting families. Moreover, as most millennials do not itemize already, the added benefit of doubling the standard deduction will be tremendous come tax season 2019.”

Companies with a national presence like AT&T gave bonuses to all union-represented, non-management and front-line managers, impacting nearly all of its 2,675 employees in Colorado. Best Buy, Carmax, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Cintas Corporation, Comcast, FedEx, Home Depot, Lowe’s, McDonald’s, Ryder, Starbucks Coffee Company, T.J. Maxx, U-Haul, and Walmart gave bonuses, increased or expanded other benefits to nearly 50,000 employees and created thousands of new jobs throughout the Centennial State.

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