Monthly Archives: January 2018

With another surge of announcements from Arizona companies providing pay raises, bonuses and other benefits, over $200 Million dollars has now been put back into the pockets of Arizona employees and ratepayers as a result of federal tax reform.

As of January 25th, here is a list of Arizona companies that have rewarded employees with additional pay and benefits:

  • American and Southwest Airlines announced $1,000 bonuses for their nearly 15,000 employees in celebration of the GOP tax plan.
  • CEO Bob Parsons handed out $1.3 million in bonuses to his 725 employees at YAM Worlwide.
  • AT&T and Comcast provided $1,000 bonuses to hundreds in their Arizona workforce.
  • Bank of America will be giving $1,000 bonuses to their 10,000 Arizona employees that make up to $150,000 in total compensation.
  • Boeing has committed to $300 million to charitable investments, workforce training and infrastructure improvements benefiting their 3,600 Arizona employees.
  • Nationwide announced $1,000 bonuses and an increase of their 401(k)-matching contribution for their 1,900 Arizona employees.
  • Wells Fargo, with over 15,000 Arizona employees, announced the establishment of a $15 minimum wage, $400 million in charitable donations and $100 million in additional capital investment.
  • Wal-Mart has committed to providing their 35,000 Arizona employees a guaranteed minimum wage of $11/hour and bonuses up to $1,000.
  • APS announced that they intend to slash $119 Million from their utility rates, which would save the average homeowner $56 each year.
  • Verizon will provide 50 shares of restricted stock (valued at $53/share) to their 2,800 Arizona employees, a total value exceeding $7 Million dollars.
  • JP Morgan Chase will be giving a $750 bonus to their 10,000 Arizona employees and raise starting wages from $15 to $18 an hour.
  • Waste Management, Inc. is providing $2,000 bonuses to nearly 2,000 Arizona Employees that do not participate in a sales incentive or bonus plan.
  • Meridian Bank increased their base wage to $15/hour, increased charitable contributions and capital spending and added 20% to existing bonuses.
  • Comerica Bank will provide $1,000 bonuses to their 100+ Arizona non-officer employees and raised their base wage to $15/hour.
  • Home Depot announced bonuses up to $1,000 for its 10,000 Arizona employees
  • Western Alliance provided bonuses, pay raises and an increase in their 401(k)-matching contribution for their 700 Arizona employees.
  • Washington Federal, which has nearly 200 Arizona employees, has committed to 5% merit increases for employees making less than $100k and an substantial increase of training programs for their workers.
  • Starbucks announced pay raises, expanded benefits and company stock (valued at $500 for shop workers, $2,000 for managers) to their 4,000 Arizona employees.
  • FedEx, with 3,700 Arizona employees, will be giving bonuses, pay raises and a voluntary $1.5 Billion contribution to their company pension plan.

In total, over 100,000 Arizona workers are on the receiving end of bonuses, pay raises and other benefits thanks to the business tax cuts. Combined with the individual income tax reductions that will show up on paychecks next month, the direct financial benefit for Arizona taxpayers as a result of tax reform will be over $1 Billion dollars in 2018.

The Club will continue to expand the list of AZ companies rewarding their employees with bonuses, pay raises and benefits. If you know of a company not on the list, please email info@azfree.org so that the Club can include the good news on our tax cut victory tally.

It appears that Arizona State University may be providing taxpayer funded support to a ballot measure in violation of state law. In conjunction with the far-left National Lawyers Guild, the Sandra Day O’Conner School of Law is hosting a forum on the legal issues of “Dark Money” in Arizona politics.

Normally, giving a platform at ASU for liberal advocates to attack donor privacy wouldn’t be an issue, except that this event is much more than that.  The main speaker at the forum is Terry Goddard, the campaign chair for a statewide ballot initiative to require charities and non-profits that engage in electioneering to report their supporters to the government. If that weren’t enough, the event also invites students to “become involved in the petitioning and subsequent legal issues that may arise.”

All of this activity is direct electioneering occurring on a taxpayer funded University campus, being promoted on ASU’s taxpayer funded website.

Defenders of this forum will contend that this is a student event organized by the Lawyers Guild and that ASU is not formally backing the initiative. The problem with this defense is that a direct endorsement is irrelevant, what matters is if taxpayer resources are being illegally used to support or oppose a candidate or ballot measure.

The good news is that the Attorney General’s office has decided to intervene. In a letter sent today to the ASU Law School, the AG has informed the Dean that Arizona law prohibits the use of any “university resources, including the use or expenditure of monies, accounts, credits, facilities, computer hardware or software, webpages, personnel, buildings or any of thing of value for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election.” (emphasis added). It is unclear if ASU responded to the letter or decided to let the event proceed as planned.

Granting space at a University facility and promoting the ballot measure on ASU’s website should not occur. If Mr. Goddard or other supporters of the ballot initiative want to hold a campaign event on campus, they should promote it on their own website and pay out of their own pocket to host the event.

Hopefully Attorney General Brnovich will keep the pressure on ASU and make sure that taxpayers were not forced to illegally support Goddard’s electioneering activities.

Today the Arizona Free Enterprise Club in partnership with several other organizations sent a letter to the Governor and members of the Legislature urging them to return any additional revenue generated from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in Washington D.C.  The letter was as follows:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write to urge Governor Ducey and the legislature to return to the taxpayers any additional revenue being collected by the state as a result of federal tax reform.

There is little doubt that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in Washington DC represents a big win for Arizona workers and job creators. The TCJA provided long overdue tax relief, cutting both individual and corporate rates while simplifying the tax code.

Already the benefits of tax reform have born fruit, with over $175 million put back into the pockets of Arizona families through bonuses, wage increases, expanded benefits and utility rate cuts. This number will only grow larger as the individual tax rate reductions kick in next month. Coupled with increased business investment from the corporate rate cuts and full expensing, the prospects for a booming Arizona economy have never been higher.

While this is all good news, last week the Department of Revenue released their conformity report showing that Arizona taxpayers will end up paying as much as $250 Million more in state income taxes in FY 2019 as a result of the federal changes. The number could climb to over $300 million in FY 2020.

We understand that this tax increase was a result of historical conformity practices and was not caused by any direct action taken by Arizona policy makers. Nevertheless, conforming our tax code in a way that does not return this money back to hardworking taxpayers would be a disastrous income tax increase that would undo many of the benefits of tax reform.

That is why we urge state policy makers to return this money back to hardworking taxpayers and head off an unnecessary and economically destructive state income tax increase.  It is the right action to take to ensure that the recently enacted federal reforms deliver on their anticipated benefits.

Sincerely,

Scot Mussi                                                 Victor Riches
President                                                   President & CEO
Arizona Free Enterprise Club               Goldwater Institute

Tom Jenney                                               Farrell Quinlan
Senior Legislative Advisor                     Arizona State Director
Americans for Prosperity AZ                 NFIB

Grover Norquist
President
Americans for Tax Reform

 

 



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The Arizona Free Enterprise Club is a free market policy and advocacy group dedicated to promoting a strong and vibrant Arizona economy.