Trump signs tax plan and NJ companies raise minimum wage, boost benefits
The Republican tax plan signed into law by President Donald Trump is already trickling down to some lower-wage and middle class workers in New Jersey in the form of bonuses and pay raises.
A number of companies with offices and operations in the Garden State announced that they would be passing the economic benefits of the corporate tax cuts to their employees and communities.
New Jersey-based OceanFirst Financial Corp. said Friday it would raise the minimum wage of its tellers and customer service workers to $15 an hour.
That followed the same move by PNC Bank, which also said it would pay $1,000 bonuses and $1,500 pension contributions to their 50,000 employees. Wells Fargo also is hiking it’s bottom wage to $15 an hour while donating $400 million to charity next year.
In doing so, the companies have voluntarily raised their minimum wages as states across the country, including New Jersey, consider mandating a $15-an-hour wage.
The tax code overhaul lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent.
Critics said the tax plan, which may bring the federal budget deficit to more than $1 trillion next year, would provide a windfall for corporations and the extremely wealthy who don’t need it.
All but one of New Jersey’s Republicans in Congress joined GOP congressmen from New York to vote against the tax bill because it capped deductions for state and local taxes — a benefit that homeowners in heavily taxed states rely on. As a result, analysts have predicted that the high-end housing market in New Jersey will take a hit.
But Republican backers of the tax bill say the cuts would translate to more investment and economic growth.
That argument appeared to be bolstered by announcements this week from companies like AT&T. The telecommunications giant, which has large operations in New Jersey, said it would give $1,000 bonuses to 200,000 unionized employees.
Boeing, which has more than 100 employees in New Jersey, said it would spend $300 million on employee training and donations to community groups.
Comcast said it would pay $1,000 bonuses to 100,000 frontline workers.
Bank of America also said it would award $1,000 bonuses to employees who earn less than $150,000 a year.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.