A Tale Of Two Kennedys

President John F. Kennedy vs. Grand-Nephew Rep. Joe Kennedy III On Taxes

PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: ‘A Tax Cut Means Higher Family Income And Higher Business Profits’

PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: “The single most important fiscal weapon available to strengthen the national economy is the federal tax policy. The right kind of tax cut at the right time is the most effective measure that this Government could take to spur our economy forward. For the facts of the matter are that our present tax system is a drag on economic recovery and economic growth, biting heavily into the purchasing power of every taxpayer and every consumer.” (President Kennedy, “Radio And Television Report To The American People On The State Of The National Economy,” 8/13/1962)

REP. JOE KENNEDY III: Dismisses The Real Benefits Of Tax Reform For Massachusetts Workers

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): “No, it is the end of the world…. This is Armageddon…. So let’s be truthful with the American people about that. They throw a few crumbs to the middle class.” (Rep. Pelosi, Press Conference, 12/04/2017)

REP. JOE KENNEDY III (D-MA): “Investing in the working Americans who build our economy should have been the absolute priority of any true tax reform. Instead, the GOP tax bill … erodes their economic dignity.” (Rep. Kennedy, Press Release, 12/19/2017)

TAX REFORM REALITY: Massachusetts Companies Have Announced Wage Increases And Bonuses As A Result Of Tax Reform

Meridian Bancorp, Inc. and East Boston Savings Bank, Boston, Mass.: “The minimum wage for all employees will increase to $15 per hour; An additional 20% will be added to the 2017 bonus as part of the Bank's Incentive Compensation Plan that will be paid to the Bank's 500+ employees in January 2018; An increase to the Capital Spending Budget as a result of plans to build six new branch locations in 2018; An increase in charitable giving by targeting $1 million in donations to community and non-profit organizations in 2018.” (Meridian Bancorp, Press Release, 1/03/2018)

  • “Richard J. Gavegnano, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, ‘While our wage policy has consistently been higher than the state mandate of $11.00, the passing of the new tax law has provided the Bank the opportunity to boost its planned minimum wage hike and share those benefits with many of the employees our customers see every day.” (Meridian Bancorp, Press Release, 1/03/2018)

Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Pittsfield, Mass.: “Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc., the parent of Berkshire Bank, today announced additional investments in its employees and communities following the recent passage of federal tax reform legislation. These investments include: Raising Berkshire's minimum wage to $15 per hour. Providing a special, one-time bonus of $1000 to over 1000 employees. … Contributing $2 million to the Berkshire Bank Charitable Foundation which supports charitable organizations, scholarships, and volunteerism across Berkshire's local communities.” (Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Press Release, 1/04/2018)

HarborOne Bank, Brockton, Mass.:Brockton-based HarborOne Bank said on Wednesday that it's accelerating its plans to implement a $15-per-hour minimum wage and will give a one-time $500 bonus to more than 600 bank employees as a result of federal tax reform legislation. HarborOne President Joseph Casey said in a statement that the bank had planned to implement the higher minimum wage over a three-year period, ‘but this tax reform legislation allows us to accelerate those plans.’” (“HarborOne Bank To Give $500 Bonuses To 600 Workers, Citing Tax Reform,” Boston Business Journal, 12/27/2017)

1A Auto, Westford, Mass.: “Massachusetts based online auto parts retailer 1A Auto announced across the board cash bonuses for all full-time employees. CEO Rick Green says that the decision was based on recent changes to tax policy. In a company meeting Wednesday, Green told employees, ‘Ultimately the tax savings will be passed to our customers in the form of lower prices, but we want to also share some of the savings with you, our hard-working employees.’” (1A Auto, Press Release, 1/25/2018)

Many other companies with a Massachusetts presence have announced bonuses, wage hikes, and increased 401(K) contributions as well, such as American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, Bank of America, Comcast, FedEx, Home Depot, PNC Financial, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Verizon, and Walmart – see here for a list of more than 250 companies nationwide.

TAX REFORM REALITY: 10,000+ Workers in Massachusetts’ Breweries Will Benefit

“Congress included Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform as part of the sweeping tax reform bill it passed this week. Brewers of all sizes will see lower federal excise taxes; though, as the name suggests, smaller producers will save the most proportionally.” (“Brewers Celebrate A Measure Tucked Into The Sweeping Tax Reform Bill,” CNBC, 12/21/2017)

  • “Brewers who produce 2 million barrels or less will see their federal excise tax rate halved, to $3.50 per barrel for the first 60,000 produced, from $7 per barrel. The overwhelming majority will pay $3.50 across the board, since at least 97 percent of breweries in the country produce less than 60,000 barrels, according to estimates from the Brewers Association. The 182 brewers who produce between 60,000 and 2 million barrels per year will also pay $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 produced. After that, they'll pay $16, down from $18.” (“Brewers Celebrate A Measure Tucked Into The Sweeping Tax Reform Bill,” CNBC, 12/21/2017)

MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNMENT: “Explore the Bay State by sampling the finely crafted ales and lagers from breweries and brew pubs, extending from Cape Cod and the Islands to the Berkshires. With over 110 breweries to visit, there is plenty of award-winning beer right around the corner.” (“Massachusetts Craft Breweries,” Mass.gov. Accessed 1/30/2018)

TAX REFORM REALITY: Bay State Utilities Request Rate Reductions To ‘Pass Those Savings Along To Customers’

Eversource Energy, Boston, Mass.: “The newly passed federal tax law reduces the amount of taxes Eversource will be paying by millions of dollars and today the energy company has informed the Department of Public Utilities of its decision to voluntarily pass those savings along to customers.” (Eversource, Press Release, 1/04/2018)

  • “We believe it’s important that our customers reap the benefit of a lower tax rate,” said Eversource Massachusetts Electric Operations President Craig Hallstrom. “As a regulated power company our rates are based on our costs, including federal taxes, so if taxes are reduced ultimately costs are reduced and that benefits our customers.” (Eversource, Press Release, 1/04/2018)
  • “For example, customers in the company’s Eastern Massachusetts service territory will see a reduction in taxes of $47.6 million. This will cause a rate reduction of approximately $35.4 million, rather than the approved increase of $12.2 million (per the rate case decision Nov 30th).” (Eversource, Press Release, 1/04/2018)

National Grid, Waltham, Mass.: “On the heels of expansive federal tax reform, National Grid will request a reduction in its pending natural gas distribution rate proposal with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. When federal tax reform legislation was signed into law in late December, the company began assessing how reductions in corporate tax rates could benefit customers. The company announced today it will update its rate proposal with the DPU for natural gas rates that will go into effect in October 2018: reducing the original $87 million request to an estimated $51 million.” (National Grid, Press Release, 1/11/2018)

  • “‘We are committed to ensuring that the tax savings of the legislation are fully realized and are used to help our customers in their energy bills,’ said Cordi O’Hara, president and COO of National Grid in Massachusetts.” (National Grid, Press Release, 1/11/2018)


Related Issues: Middle Class, Jobs, Economy