Every day, more and more companies are announcing wage hikes, bonuses, and other financial benefits for employees. This isn’t just because business owners woke up one day and decided to give back; it’s a direct result of the Republican tax bill that passed at the end of 2017.

Americans for Tax Reform has been compiling a list of the many companies benefiting from the tax bill. Because of lower business taxes, over 2 million Americans have received some form of a bonus from their employer. Larger companies such as AT&T have promised over 200,000 employees that they will receive a $1,000 bonus. Additionally, AT&T executives said the company will invest an additional $1 billion in the U.S. economy.

But don’t be mistaken: Tax cuts are also being felt here locally in Maine. Camden National Bank recently announced it will distribute $1,000 bonuses to all full-time employees and $750 bonuses to part-time employees.

And it’s not only larger corporations who are using their tax savings to give back to their employees and expand their operations. Small businesses have also announced they are hiring additional employees and opening more locations. Northco Products — a small business based in Albany, New York — announced it will hire an additional employee, give their current employees bonuses, and invest in a new building. If there is still any question about whether the Republican tax plan has been working, these numbers speak for themselves.

Prior to the tax bill’s passage, small businesses could be taxed up to 50 percent once state and local taxes were added in. Having worked in small businesses, I know how much of a deterrent high taxes can be to hiring new workers and expanding exponentially. But the top federal rate — which many small businesses owners fall under — has now been reduced by 2 percent, and small business owners can now deduct 20 percent on their first $315,000 of family income. Additionally, these businesses can immediately expense all of their business investments, rather than having to spread them out throughout the year. None of these provisions were law under the old tax code.

Perhaps the largest perk from the tax bill that most Americans will thoroughly enjoy is greater take-home pay. Under the new tax code, the Internal Revenue Service has lowered the federal tax withholding guidelines on employers. This may sound confusing, but it means the average American employee will see an increase in each paycheck very soon.

The mainstream media’s claims notwithstanding, the tax bill will benefit tens of millions of Americans. Here in Maine, lower business taxes mean that more jobs will be posted, employees will be given raises, and businesses will expand to grow our state’s economy. Higher paychecks also mean that Maine consumers will reinvest that money in Main Street. Who can argue against greater employment, happier employees, and increased local spending?

The Republican tax bill’s many virtues are being seen throughout the country. As the year goes on, you can expect more and more Maine businesses to come forward with pro-employee success stories. I, for one, am excited to read about them.

Beth O’Connor, R-Berwick, represents House District 5 and serves as a director of Maine Taxpayers United.

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