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With the 2018 midterms on the way, many Republicans are turning to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to bolster their campaigns. You can count Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District among them.
On Aug. 27, Wagner tweeted, "The #TaxCutsandJobsAct is delivering real results. Since passage, @Walmart increased their starting wage to $11/hr & has given about $400 million in bonuses."
We thought Wagner’s claim might be too large, so we decided to see if she was right.
In December 2017, President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, restructuring tax laws for both private individuals and major corporations. The bill cuts corporate tax rates to 21 percent from the previous 35 percent.
Republicans at the time said the move would almost double the standard deduction for citizens, would encourage investments and lead to overall economic growth.
In January, Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon announced in a blog post to employees the company’s plans due to the president’s tax overhaul. He said workers’ starting wages would be increased to $11. He also previewed bonuses to workers ineligible for the hourly wage increase that ranged from $200 to $1,000 depending on time spent within the company.
"As you know, the president and Congress have approved a lower business tax rate," McMillon wrote. "Given these changes, we have an opportunity to accelerate a few pieces of our investment plan."
Walmart was already planning these payments and could afford them before the tax reform, but the law fast-tracked the process.
Wagner’s office linked us to a January CNBC article announcing Walmart planned to distribute these raises and bonuses and that the payments were projected to start the following month. The office also sent another article from the St. Louis Business Journal about a St. Louis Walmart receiving regular bonuses because of "their store’s performance the previous quarter."
In its original announcement, Walmart said it planned to spend $400 million on one time bonuses. The company would not confirm the exact amount but said the number was close to its original projection.
Justin Rushing, the director of corporate communications for Walmart, said "the raises went into effect on Feb. 17, and showed up on the paycheck our associates received on March 8. This is the same paycheck they all received their one-time bonus."
Wagner said that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was creating real results. "Since passage, @Walmart increased their starting wage to $11/hr & has given about $400 million in bonuses."
Wagner is correct that Walmart made the payments and that it credited the legislation for the company’s actions.
For this we rate Wagner’s claim True.
Walmart, "CEO Doug McMillon's Note to Associates on Tax Savings," Jan. 11, 2018.
Walmart, "Walmart to Raise U.S. Wages, Provide One-Time Bonus and Expand Hourly Maternity and Parental Leave," Jan. 11. 2018.
CNBC, "Walmart's bonuses: Here's what workers will receive," Jan. 12, 2018.
Americans for Tax Fairness, "The Walmart Web," June 24, 2018.
Roosevelt Institute, "Making the Case: How Ending Walmart’s Stock Buyback Program Would Help to Fix Our High-Profit, Low-Wage Economy," May 22, 2018
Tax Foundation, "The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Simplified the Tax Filing Process for Millions of Households," Aug. 7, 2018.
Brookings Institute, "Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: A Preliminary Analysis," June 14, 2018.
Forbes, "Report: Walmart Workers Cost Taxpayers $6.2 Billion In Public Assistance," April 15, 2014.
Adweek, "Walmart Is Closing Over 60 Sam’s Club Stores in an Effort to Amp Up Its Ecommerce Strategy," Jan. 11, 2018.
PolitiFact, "Are Americans already benefiting from the new tax law?" March 9, 2018.
PolitiFact, "Donald Trump says tax bill led to bonuses for 3 million workers," Jan. 30, 2018.
Email interview with Ali Pardo, communications director for Rep. Ann Wagner, Sept. 25, 2018
Email interview with Justin Rushing, director of corporate communications for Walmart, Oct. 1, 2018
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