Wicker points to bigger paychecks, bonuses as tax law goes into effect

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 22, 2018

By Roger Wicker

Nearly all Americans should see larger paychecks this month, thanks to the tax reform bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump.  Because of the law’s lower tax rates, employers will no longer withhold as much from employee wages.

February 15 is the deadline for employers to implement the new withholding instructions released by the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service.  The Treasury Department has estimated that 90 percent of workers will see pay increases.

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Americans’ additional take-home pay is not the first sign of the tax law’s success.  The number of companies who have decided to give bonuses, raise minimum wages, and improve employee benefits continues to climb, already surpassing 335.  So far, some three million Americans are getting bonus checks this year. This money could go toward college tuition, a family vacation, or any number of expenses that have been difficult in recent years.  The bottom line is that it will be better spent by the workers who earned it than the federal government. You may have seen the positive local news about the tax law’s benefits.  Early last month, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported that BancorpSouth and Renasant would use their tax savings for bonuses and other investments, giving back to the thousands of people they employ in our state and region.  Similar stories have also been reported recently by South Mississippi’s WLOX and the Hattiesburg American, which highlighted higher wages for Pine Belt workers at Regions, Lifeguard Ambulance, and Pearl River Community College.   

These are just a few examples.  The impact of tax reform is expansive – affecting all different types of industries and business sizes across the nation. 

One of the most nationally recognizable companies and our state’s largest private employer, Walmart, has announced bonuses, higher starting wages, and expanded parental leave for its workers.  Likewise, just a few days ago, Best Buy told its employees, including some 700 Mississippians, that they would receive a bonus of either $1,000 or $500.  The company also revealed that it is investing $20 million in its foundation’s work to teach technology skills to underserved teens.

Mississippi’s small businesses and consumers should reap significant tax relief as well.  The National Federation of Independent Business has estimated that the tax savings for America’s small businesses will amount to hundreds of billions of dollars.  The savings for our energy providers should translate into lower bills for consumers – another win for job growth.    Simply put, the less money our job creators have to send to Washington, the more they can put toward growing business opportunities and hiring new workers.  America’s economy is best served when its innovative and entrepreneurial minds are not burdened by Washington interference.  A tax system that looks out for American workers has been needed for a long time, and the law we passed in Congress seeks to do just that.  It is no wonder business optimism has soared in recent months.  I hope the boost in paychecks only strengthens this upward trajectory.