Companies Turn Tax Breaks Into Bonuses And Wage Hikes

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Companies are announcing plans to raise minimum wages and offer bonuses to employees in light of the corporate tax cuts from the GOP's tax overhaul.

Congressional Republicans slashed company taxes from 35 percent to 21 percent on Dec. 20, freeing up millions or even billions of dollars of profit. President Trump called the bill "an extraordinary victory for American families, workers, and businesses," USA Today reported.

The Washington Post reported that businesses in the telecom industry will be the biggest beneficiaries of the new tax rules, according to economic analysts.

AT&T was among the first large companies to announce that it would give some employees bonuses as soon as the new laws took effect. Up to 200,000 employees will receive $1,000; USA Today reports that AT&T will increase capital expenditures by $1 billion.

"Congress, working closely with the President, took a monumental step to bring taxes paid by U.S. businesses in line with the rest of the industrialized world," said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson in a statement, adding that his own company would invest in its employees.

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Comcast also announced that it would offer $1,000 bonuses to "eligible frontline and non-executive employees," The Washington Post reports.

The cable company also pledged to invest "well in excess of $50 billion" into its infrastructure, theme parks and media businesses over the next five years.

Both USA Today and The Washington Post note that companies such as AT&T and Comcast may further benefit from the FCC's Dec. 19 decision to repeal net neutrality, which would allow the companies to invest in new upgrades that may or may not hinder access to certain websites.

Companies outside of the telecom industry are also increasing their employee spending. Fifth Third Bancorp promised to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour and give a one-time bonus of $1,000 to its more than 13,500 workers, according to Business Wire.

"We want to invest in our most important asset -- our people," said company CEO and President Greg Carmichael, who credited the GOP tax bill with enabling Fifth Third to redistribute its benefits to more of its workforce. "Our employees drive our reputation, our business and our success."

The minimum wage hike will impact nearly 3,000 Fifth Third employees, and 75 percent of the company's workers will see an overall increase in pay. It's unclear whether or not senior and executive employees will also benefit, though they will not receive the $1,000 bonus.

Sources: USA Today, Business Wire, The Washington Post / Featured Image: Steven Depolo/Flickr / Embedded Images: KennethHan/Wikimedia Commons, Stevan Sheets/Flickr

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