The U.S. economy is a gift that keeps on giving.
Appalachian Power recently announced utility rate cuts for more than 500,000 Americans. The West Virginia-based energy provider estimates the total rate reduction will come out to roughly $50 million, meaning customers’ monthly bills will decrease about six percent for the average residential account.
What explains the drop? The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed last December. Because of its lower federal tax bill, Appalachian Power can afford to slash rates and pass along its tax savings to working Americans who desperately need financial relief.
This story is playing out all across the country. Because of federal tax cuts, more than 665 U.S. employers can afford to help the Middle Class American workers in the form of pay raises, 401(k) increases, bonuses, and other employee benefits. Job creators are also taking advantage of their beefed-up budgets to expand hiring, extending career opportunities to thousands upon thousands of Americans who couldn’t find them years ago.
Appalachian Power’s utility rate reductions comprise only the tip of the iceberg. Wal-Mart issued a $1,000 bonus to employees. Apple will use its tax savings to hire 20,000 new employees, while Kraft Heinz plans to put $1.3 billion toward pre-funding of worker retirement benefit plans. New York-based M&T Bank Corporation focused on bumping up employee paychecks, increasing its base wage from $14 to $16 an hour.
And don’t forget the Republican tax bill’s positive impact on small business, which remains America’s most important employer. The United States is home to more than 30 million small businesses, which employ nearly 60 million workers—half of our private-sector workforce. In fact, small businesses account for 99.9 percent of all U.S. employers.
When they succeed, the U.S. economy flourishes. And they are succeeding!
Because of lower rates and increased deductions, job creators—large and small—now have more resources to invest in business expansion and job creation, bringing undeniable economic prosperity to local communities. The list of tax cut beneficiaries certainly includes America’s largest corporations, but it would be foolish to overlook the likes of neighborhood diners and community banks.
Take it from me: I’m a small business owner. As the president and CEO of Joseph’s Lite Cookies in Florida, I run a family-owned, sugar-free cookie business. We bake more than 12 million sugar-free cookies a day. And thanks to the tax cuts, we’re now experimenting with new product lines including sugar-free pancake syrup.
For years, I sent as much as 50 percent of my business income to the government—federal, state, and local. As the owner of a pass-through small business, my business income was taxed as personal income at the top federal rate of 39.6 percent, on top of the state and local tax burden.
But the future is now brighter—because of our tax savings. Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, I not only awarded four-figure raises to key employees, but also purchased new computer systems and created new product packaging for international expansion.
The bottom line is this: When you help job creators, you are helping those who depend on them—not millionaires and billionaires, but everyday Americans in need of a leg up. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.
Joseph Semprevivo is president and CEO of Joseph’s Lite Cookies in Florida. He is an adjunct professor of finance, real estate, and insurance at Indian River State College and the author of “Madness, Miracles, Millions.”
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.