Immediately after Republicans in Congress pass tax bill, companies like AT&T announce higher wages and bonuses.
Hours after Republicans in Congress passed a bill aimed at overhauling the tax code on Wednesday, several large corporations said they were increasing wages and giving out bigger bonuses to employees.
The controversial and wide-ranging legislation is now headed for President Donald Trump’s likely approval within the next few days, giving the White House and Republicans its first major legislative victory this year.
Companies including AT&T, Comcast, Fifth-Third Bank, Boeing and Wells Fargo said they would now raise wages and give out large bonuses, putting into practice Republican talking points that the drastically lower corporate tax detailed in the bill would be good for workers.
AT&T said it would give a one-time $1,000 bonus to some 200,000 employees following the bill’s passage.
“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.
Fifth Third Bancorp, a bank mostly based in the Midwest, said it would boost the minimum wage it pays its lowest-paid workers to $15 per hour and also give out $1,000 bonuses to its over 13,500 employees. Wells Fargo said it would also increase its lowest wage levels to $15 per hour.
"It is good for our communities, employees and Fifth Third Bank,” Fifth Third CEO Greg Carmichael said of the tax bill in a statement.
Whether the passage of the bill means a continued windfall for employees is a very open question. The corporate tax rate in the bill is decreased from 35 percent to 21 percent. While Trump, Congressional Republicans and some corporations have said that the money saved from lower taxes would be passed on to employees, others have argued the money would go to shareholders. A recent survey of business leaders have said they would use the tax breaks for stock buybacks and to pass on profits to those holding stock.