by Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa
It’s been six months since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law. Since then, there have been continuous, positive economic developments in Iowa and throughout the country.
Last month, the U.S. economy generated 223,000 new jobs. In fact, more than one million new jobs have been created in the months since the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The national unemployment rate has fallen to 3.8 percent, its lowest level since April 2000 and tied for the lowest unemployment rate since 1969. The number of Americans who say they’re optimistic about finding a good job has increased by 25 percentage points, and small business owners say they are increasingly confident about hiring new employees.
Iowa’s economy is even better, with the unemployment rate at an incredible 2.9 percent. I often hear from Iowa business owners during my annual 99-county meetings who say their businesses are thriving thanks to the reforms implemented in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Just recently, during a tour and Q&A at JTV Manufacturing in Sutherland, I learned that because of their tax savings, the owners of the company were able to purchase new machinery to help grow their business.
I’ve also heard from the president of Hamilton Redi-Mix, a second generation family-owned ready-mixed concrete business in central Iowa with more than 20 employees and locations in Jefferson, Boone and Fort Dodge. Thanks to the increased opportunities created by the act, Hamilton Redi-Mix was able to issue bonuses of up to $1,500 to all of its employees.
Over the past several months, news reports have detailed the stories of businesses throughout the state that have been able to reinvest in their employees and operations thanks to tax reform. Stories like that of Dyersville Die Cast, which dedicated a total of $150,000 in bonuses for its employees, and Anfinson Farm Store in Cushing, which gave $1,000 bonuses and raised wages by 5 percent for all of its full-time employees.
Iowans employed by national companies are also receiving the benefits of tax reform.
McDonald’s, which has more than 165 locations throughout Iowa, has increased tuition investments, which will provide educational program access for its employees. That includes helping them earn a high school diploma, receive upfront college tuition assistance and access free education advising services.
Wells Fargo, which has more than 60 locations in Iowa, raised its base wage for employees. AT&T gave $1,000 bonuses to its more than 500 Iowa-based employees. T.J. Maxx, which has 11 Iowa locations, instituted paid parental leave and issued bonuses for eligible employees, enhanced vacation benefits and made contributions to its retirement plans.
Iowa utility companies are also benefiting from tax reform and delivering an estimated $147 million total reduction on heating and cooling costs to Iowans. Alliant Energy estimated its customer savings to be $18.6 million to $19.6 million for electric and $500,000 to $3.7 million for gas. MidAmerican Energy estimated $90.8 million to $112.3 million in customer savings, and Iowa American Water Co. estimates customer savings of $1.5 to $1.8 million.
Tax reform is working. For the first time in three decades, taxpayers are able to keep more of their own hard-earned money and decide for themselves how to use it. They’re able to reinvest in their businesses, save for homes and their children’s college tuitions and contribute to their retirement plans.
The economic optimism continues to grow and so do the success stories of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The amount of progress made over the past six months is nothing short of incredible. I’m confident the successes of tax reform will continue and I look forward to hearing from Iowans at my county meetings about how these common-sense reforms are changing their lives for the better.