Some local employees have already benefited from a $1.5 trillion tax overhaul that breezed through Congress and was signed by President Donald Trump just before Christmas.
The tax bill reduces the tax rates for most of the seven federal tax brackets and nearly doubles the standard deduction, among other provisions.
For businesses, it permanently reduces the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, while also moving to a system that would exclude many foreign profits from taxation. The savings would generate billions of dollars in profits for companies, with economists generally estimating that roughly 75 percent would go to investors and 25 percent to workers.
Leaders of Austell-based Yancey Bros. Co. announced to its employees days ago that they would be receiving a $500 bonus as a direct result of the tax bill’s passage. A copy of an email to employees that contained the pronouncement was made available to the MDJ last week by a company employee and confirmed by a Yancey official on Thursday.
“While we cannot be certain of what 2018 holds, we are very optimistic for our business and anticipate that the Tax Reform Bill will stimulate even greater profitability next year, which will result in a greater profit sharing contribution next year. However, our confidence in this likelihood is so great that we want to share the anticipated benefits of the Tax Reform Bill now. Accordingly, we have authorized a $500 bonus for each Yancey employee to be processed as soon as possible,” wrote James E. Stephenson, Yancey’s chairman and chief executive officer, and Trey Googe, its president and chief operating officer.
The bonus is in addition to employees’ regular compensation and other bonuses received during the year and will be given to employees in the next two weeks, according to Rick Ream, the company’s vice president of human resources.
Yancey Bros. Co. began in 1914 as the Yancey Hardware Company, selling hardware to government agencies for road construction. Operating in Atlanta for several decades, the company relocated in 1969 to its current corporate headquarters in Austell, according to the company’s website. The company employs about 1,200 people at 27 locations across Georgia, four of which are in Cobb that employ about 420.
MULTIPLE COMPANIES ANNOUNCE BONUSES
Yancey’s plans to award bonuses was similar to those from several large American corporations that were publicized just hours after the congressional approval of the tax bill on Dec. 20. Among them was Philadelphia-based Comcast, which announced it would give $1,000 bonuses to its 100,000-plus frontline and non-executive employees.
Cobb is home to the telecommunications company’s Central Division headquarters, which reaches from Chicago to Key West, Florida. Comcast moved this fall into a new nine-story office building towering over The Battery Atlanta in Cumberland, the mixed-use development next to SunTrust Park. The new facility serves as a primary technology development hub for the company and houses more than 1,000 Comcast employees, according to Alex Horwitz, a spokesperson for the company.
Other company announcements on the day the tax plan passed came from Wells Fargo, which said it would boost its minimum wage to $15 an hour and donate $400 million to nonprofit and community organizations, while major government contractor Boeing said it would provide an additional $300 million for job-training, facility upgrades and charitable giving.
Carl Black Automotive Group, headquartered in Kennesaw, added to the Christmas bonuses of its 500-plus employees depending on their years of service, according to Kathy Livingston, human resources director. Though the company did not wish to disclose the amount of the bonuses, Livingston said employees received them in their paychecks before Christmas and were the direct result of the tax plan’s passage.
“Our president (Mike Bowsher) stated to our employees that the reason they were getting the additional Christmas bonus was for that reason. They had gotten something in addition to that previously,” Livingston said.
In addition to locations in Hiram and Roswell, the company also has stores in Nashville, Tennessee, and Orlando, Florida. Its Kennesaw location has 225 employees, Livingston said.
Lockheed Martin, which employs more than 5,000 people at its Marietta facility, told the MDJ Wednesday that it is eyeing changes in early 2018 in the wake of the approved tax plan.
“We are exploring numerous options to utilize the benefits from tax reform in ways that will support the growth of our company and deliver value to our employees and shareholders,” said Rob Fuller, a Lockheed Martin spokesperson.
Columbus-based Aflac Incorporated announced Thursday that it would increase employee benefits as a result of the approved tax reforms by increasing the company’s 401(k) match and making a one-time contribution of $500 to every employee’s 401(k) plan. It will also offer certain hospital and accident insurance products to all employees free of charge as the company currently does with its core cancer insurance product. In all, the company announced, Aflac expects to increase overall investment in the United States by about $250 million over three to five years.
RaceTrac, which is also headquartered in Cobb, has 700 employees within its Store Support Center in the Cobb Galleria and on its regional team in Smyrna, and another 400-plus team members at 20 stores within the county. A company official told the MDJ that the approved tax plan would not factor into its employees’ bonus plan.
“At RaceTrac, we aim to provide competitive compensation and benefits to all team members and that includes bonuses for our top performing team members,” said Ashleigh Womack, a company spokesperson. “While additional details of our bonus structure are proprietary ... the new tax plan does not factor into our approach.”
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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