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Local business leaders see benefits from tax bill

Albert Lea business leaders said the recently passed tax bill is helping them invest in their organizations.

The tax bill passed in December cut the top federal tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, likely putting billions of dollars in the pockets of major Minnesota companies.

Albert Lea Public Warehouse Owner Al Larson gave each of his 12 employees a $2,000 bonus, which he said would not have been possible without reduced rates. He said he decided to pay the bonuses in January to help the workers pay off costs incurred during the Christmas season.

“I just distributed it back to them,” he said.

In addition to bonuses, Larson is installing two roofs and investing in new dock levelers.

Larson said he prefers investing company revenue locally instead of contributing more of a percentage to the federal government.

According to Reuters, in passing the legislation, Republicans sealed President Donald Trump’s first major legislative victory since he took office last January and steamrolled opposition from Democrats to pass the bill, which slashed taxes for corporations and the wealthy while giving mixed, temporary tax relief to middle-class Americans.

In addition to cutting the corporate income tax rate, the legislation gave other business owners a new 20-percent deduction on business income and reshaped how the government taxes multinational corporations along the lines that the country’s largest businesses have recommended for years.

According to Reuters, Democrats were united in opposition to the tax legislation, calling it a giveaway to the wealthy that will widen the income gap between rich and poor, while adding $1.5 trillion over the next decade to the $20 trillion national debt. Trump promised during the campaign that he would eliminate the national debt.

Mrs. Gerry’s CEO Chad Vogt said the tax relief package would probably result in more dollars for the company that employs more than 200 people to expand, including for new equipment and other steps to increase sales.

Vogt said the company has given its employees bonuses for a decade before the tax package was passed.

“We’ve always taken care of our employees,” he said.

The tax bill is also credited with helping Walmart raise entry-level wages for U.S. hourly employees to $11 an hour in February, even though the organization announced it would close more than 60 Sam’s Club stores.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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