How tax reform changed our lives

Apr 17, 2018 | Communications •

Here’s what you have to look forward to next Tax Day: lower tax rates, nearly doubled standard deduction, a doubled Child Tax Credit to help families, a simpler process, and relief from Obamacare. More on that at FairandSimple.gop.  

But that’s not the only thing that’s got us celebrating this Tax Day. In addition to the new tax code, 90 percent of Americans are seeing bigger paychecks, and 500 companies are giving more than four million Americans more than $4 billion in bonuses and benefits.

Today, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX) sat down with several small business owners in a #TaxTalk roundtable to hear more about what tax reform means to them, their families, and their workers.

See below to watch Fox Business’s livestream of the full roundtable, and be sure to check out these highlights:

Chair McMorris Rodgers:

“We are celebrating today as the last day under the old system. And and so it’s going to look very different moving forward. We want to put the faces of tax reform on it today and that’s why we’d love to hear your stories. Nothing’s more powerful than the stories that we’ve heard all across the country.

I think about the manager of Starbucks in downtown Spokane that after Starbucks made their announcement of increased salaries and benefits, he was just bouncing off the walls. He and his wife just had a child, a baby four months ago. And just that hope, that optimism, a belief that there was a better future. And it just it’s a great memory. Premera in Washington state invested $50 million in the community and community investments — a million in the Hope House in Spokane, which is a women’s shelter. And it means that the shelter that is full every night is going to be able to expand. That’s money that’s going to go a lot further than if it were a state here in Washington D.C. and we want to hear more of those stories today. We’re really grateful that you would take the time to join us.”


Speaker Ryan:

“Small business is the backbone of our country. It is where almost all of the jobs come from…We’ve been working on tax reform for a generation. And what we had learned is our tax code was weighing down on our economy. It’s holding us back from reaching our potential. And we wanted to have a tax code that was built not to harass people, to hold them back, but for growing this economy. And our tax code was doing anything but. It was arguably one of the worst tax codes in the industrialized world with respect to job creation and capital investment.

“So we wanted to clear the brush. We want to make it easier for businesses to invest in their businesses, to hire more people, and to be competitive not just in a local economy, but in a global economy. And so that’s why we’ve spent so much time on this and we’re very excited with what we’ve already seen. We’re very excited about the millions of workers who’ve gotten bonuses with the hundreds of billions of dollars of capital expenditures investing in businesses in plant and equipment, which creates more jobs, makes people more productive, and ultimately leads to higher rate wages and better standards of living. We’re also excited about the fact we’ve got to clear out a lot of the loopholes and the hassle from the tax code so we can have a better tax system that’s easier to comply with. 

“But really what we want to do is hear from you about how this affects your business, how this affects what you do because our ultimate goal here is to get this economy getting its potential, get workers and getting better wages, and having more opportunities for people who for you know bought a ticket had a pretty rough economy. We had a slow growth economy that we’ve had since the Great Recession means living standards dropped and were flat. And we want to turn that around and we think tax reform is really the critical component to that. So we’re very happy with what we’ve done but we want to hear from you about how it’s making a difference in how it works with you.”


Chair Brady:

“Speaker and I sat next to each other for 16 years in the Ways and Means Committee dreaming and working for this day. No one worked more in more years than Paul Ryan to make this reality so I’m really grateful the Speaker and I’m grateful Cathy for your leadership in the House to drive this. And you know there are plenty of things you might do differently but we got the fundamentals right for America. I feel like America’s back, especially on Main Street. Optimism among our Main Street businesses is at about a 20-year high. I know in our district people are adding workers, buying new equipment, the leases are longer, the trucks they’re renting is for a longer period of time and more often. And so we’re seeing these jobs and it’s small businesses, medium-sized businesses and then because we redesigned the code so that our local companies could compete and win anywhere in the world including here at home. You know we’re seeing jobs coming back with support from small businesses as well.  

We decided early on small businesses would not be left behind. You know most tax reform plans there was something for corporations and something for families — good things — but for those Main Street businesses, not much. We were determined that wouldn’t be the case and so creating this new small business deduction, a 20 percent discount on top of lower tax rates and making sure you could write off the year you buy all that new equipment those new trucks and new construction equipment is incredibly pro-growth. That’s why we’re just so excited you’re all here to be able to share your story.”
 

Debra Sawyer, Sports Clips (Virginia):

“I’m a franchisee. I have 20 open locations and I have my 21st location that will open sometime this summer. Earlier this year I already bought out one of my friends in Florida. She wanted to relocate to the Carolinas to be closer to her kids. So I’m very grateful that the new tax law allows us that clear opportunity to write off not only newly acquired assets that are a brand new purchase but also ones that are used when you’re buying an existing business out from someone else…And then after the [tax reform] bill was passed and I was kind of looking at my tax situation another opportunity came to me to go for my 22nd location. I went ahead and took that because I was comfortable with the tax write offs that I could do. That lease is with my attorney right now for review and I’m hoping to get that location open as well which will let me promote one of my assistant managers to manager, and it will also let me hire at least ten more employees.

“In addition I did what was right and I made a modification to my pay plan that my managers were being limited if they were unable to give me 35 to 40 hours a week. I’m in a position of a field where you’re on your feet and your arms are up all day long. They cannot do these long 10, 12-hour days. So I have several managers that were unable due to their commitments to their children, balancing daycare costs of that as well as some physical issues that they weren’t able to do more than 32 to 34 hours a week. And the way my bonus plan was structured on their hourly bonus they weren’t hitting the platinum bonus just because they weren’t able to give me closer to 40 hours a week. I made that change. They got a $7 an hour raise if they were able to hit their high metrics and earn the platinum bonus.”


John Biagas, Bay Electric (Virginia):

For the last 10 years we’ve been stuck in neutral. It’s very obvious. I served on the chamber as the chairman of the middle market business and I can tell you since the tax cuts the RSM survey is the highest it’s ever been in the history of middle market businesses.

Since the tax cuts we’ve hired, you know, ten electricians, we’ve got a class of 21 apprentices. And we have to train more because it’s getting so busy we can’t find enough workers, so we’re going to have to hire from within. We certainly have given raises also to both the Davis Bacon workers and the non-Davis Bacon workers.

“Also something, there’s a sense of just optimism with the workers. They’re seeing more money on their check. They’re excited about that. Even some of the younger kids are putting more money in their 401(k)s now. Who’d have thought–kids normally spend their money like like water. So things are going extremely well and I can say thank you guys for just having the guts, tenacity to make the tax cuts happen because it’s helping ordinary businesses and people. Glad to be here.”


Melissa Bercier, Couch Clarity (Illinois):

“I’m from Chicago and I own Couch Clarity, which is a private psychotherapy practice. We’re very small. Right now we have two locations and just ten employees. But what’s so important for us is where I have the opportunity to reinvest into my company and into team building and professional development for my staff. And what happens with that is you know we help people in our communities that we’re in and those people then in the communities can then work at their jobs better. Or do, you know, better in school or have better marriages. And so it’s a domino effect for us.  

“So it’s really important for me to have staff, mental health staff, that are happy and healthy themselves. And so to be able to be able to provide that for them with developing and enriching their, you know, their interactions with each other really helps for us. And so one of my my main themes is helping the helpers. I developed my business and made it a model so that the staff that I train can also open up their own location somewhere else hopefully. And so it’s a very structured practice and it’s something that isn’t typical for a private practitioner where we are able to supply marketing and billing and all of networking and whatnot for the staff. So so happy staff means happy community.”

Dave Manning, TCW (Tennessee):

“I’m chairman of the American Trucking Association and also President of TCW, a trucking intermodal trucking and logistics provider in Nashville, Tennessee. And you know I think everybody knows that trucking is the engine that moves America’s economy and it is booming right now thanks to this tax reform and tax cuts for our company because we are a prominent company owned run company trucks the depreciation was huge. So the fact that we were able to depreciate that equipment we had $1.2 million reduction in our tax bill…we took that 1.2 and invested in wages for our drivers about $3,000 per driver per year that they got as a result of that.

 

“We also put another $500,000 into our health insurance plans. We took on more of the cost of health insurance. We had the confidence to be able to do that because of these changes that are taking place and because of the economy trucking is booming right now — we have a lot of demand.

 

We also invested $20 million in additional equipment so trucks and trailers and chassis…We had a driver that was actually up here last week that said that, you know, this is about $2,300 a year tax savings.But forget the $3,000 raise that he got. $2,300 tax savings in his pocket. What he plans to do that is to save that and take his family on a vacation that he wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise without that.”


Kevin Daly, Turbohaul (Maryland):

“It touched me to have Speaker Ryan recognize the difficulty that small businesses have faced over the last decade. We have really been been through it. And for small businesses it gets you know I get somewhat emotional because it’s very personal. It’s all about families and our employees, their families, their kids. And when you’re when you’re struggling that much for that long you know it takes it takes a toll and you really feel like especially from the small business community like no one’s listening. No one really cares. You don’t have a voice.  

“So I appreciate you hosting us giving us that opportunity come down here and have a voice…Turbohaul is a business I started with my business partner almost 23 years ago and we started it fresh out of college, the University of Maryland. Didn’t have the money so we rented U-Haul trucks and we haul commercial bulk trash. That was the strange an unusual and big and heavy stuff that doesn’t fit in normal garbage can primarily for commercial residential property management firms…Today we employ over 40 people full time with with our corporate location in Maryland and a office in Raleigh, North Carolina.”

“We desperately needed to invest in equipment. For years now I have an aging fleet and have just been very hesitant to pull the trigger on that investment because of the economic climate and the regulatory climate that we are in, tax climate that we’re in. So it was a real shot in the arm to us to get this tax bill passed and I’m happy to report that over the next 18 months we’ll be investing over $2 million in new trucks and equipment for our locations.”

“But what’s even better for me really than trucks…is the effect it has on our people. Most of our people, it’s the first job that they get. A lot of guys and gals that come to work for us, they’re right out of high school. It’s all they’ve got as a high school diploma maybe. We take them, we train them, we give them opportunities and real professional environment and a company, and they’re able to make a real wage and provide for their families. A lot of them from disadvantaged backgrounds and communities and so on. These new trucks they not only will look great and, you know, haul things great, but they’ll be able to be more efficient in their jobs and we incentivize everybody from the starting labor on up through the driver. …we’ve estimated that they have the potential now with these new trucks and equipment to add about $5,000 to their salaries to their wages for this year based on just averages of what they will likely make with these new trucks and equipment that will make them more efficient more safe more comfortable you know in their jobs.”


Kasey Moore, Massage Envy (Florida):

“I’m a manager and a massage therapist at Massage Envy. My employers own seven of Massage Envys. So for me I guess what they’ve done is what’s affected me most. They’ve really reinvested into the company. We’ve got a total overhaul remodel of everything top to bottom, front to back and that’s been great for business. They have given every single person in our clinic an increase in compensation and just have changed the quality of our lives greatly. I mean in the last three years I’ve doubled my salary with what they’ve been able to do and so personally for me how that translates into my life is that you know both of my kids have their own cars so they can drive and I don’t have to share a car with them. I’m able to finish an internship that I’ve been doing in mental health counseling. I had finished my academic requirements a year ago and just couldn’t take off work to finish the internship. I’m in it and I’ll be done in October and I’m not losing any money and not losing any time with my children or anything like that. So it’s been pretty awesome for me. I appreciate it a lot. I know my employers do as well.


Gary Desilets, Deckscapes (Virginia):

“With repealing of regulations and renewed optimism, business has grown considerably over the last year and now with this tax cut, gee-whiz, just the other day we went out with a minimum of 7 percent pay raise to our employees, some of them got higher. We changed our bonus structure, we’re starting IRAs for all the employees, and went out and purchased a bunch of trucks.”