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Companies Turn Tax Breaks Into Bonuses And Wage Hikes

22 December 2017

AT&T plans to invest $1 billion in the United States in 2018 and pay $1,000 as a bonus to each of its more than 200,000 USA employees once the bill becomes law. Fifth Third Bancorp promised to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour and give a one-time $1,000 bonus to its more than 13,500 workers, according to Business Wire.

Comcast: $1,000 bonus to each of about 100,000 workers and more than $50 billion in "infrastructure investments" in the next five years.

Congressional Republicans slashed company taxes from 35 percent to 21 percent on December 20, freeing up millions or even billions of dollars of profit.

These are just the first out of the gate, and probably won't be the last. But some of these announcements come across as more gimmicky than others, and it's not hard to wonder if there are also other motives at work.

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A spokesman for Wells Fargo bank on Thursday made a mistake when he told the Los Angeles Times that pay hikes announced by the bank were not connected to the GOP tax bill. AT&T is angling to overcome regulatory objections to its $109 billion merger with Time Warner Inc. and either way, needs to invest in the build out its fiber-optic cable and 5G networks.

"If these companies had wanted to make these investments in their workforce, they could have done it before now", Gardner said. Boeing successfully pushed the Trump administration to slap heavy trade tariffs on Canadian rival Bombardier Inc., but that commercial war is starting to backfire.

Major government contractor Boeing will provide an additional $300 million for job-training, facility upgrades and charitable giving.

Neither Boeing nor AT&T is exactly short on funds. It has already spent more than $30 billion on share repurchases since 2013, Bloomberg News calculated.

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"With these investments, we expect to add thousands of new direct and indirect jobs", Comcast's chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in the company's statement.

Total employment at Boeing has been declining over the past few years.

Since the Senate passed their initial tax overhaul, 32 companies have announced share buybacks totaling $83.7 billion, Schumer's office said.

"As it relates to team members, minimum pay is a topic that we continue to review as part of our efforts to attract and retain talent, and we have been on a path to increasing the minimum hourly rate, having most recently increased it in January 2017", spokesman Peter Gilchrist told the Los Angeles Times in an email. The bank will also earmark $100 million of capital "and other resources" for small-business and community-focused lending.

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Companies Turn Tax Breaks Into Bonuses And Wage Hikes