Surprise! Lower taxes helping manufacturers
Last December, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. The largest shake-up to the federal tax code in more than 30 years, the law includes myriad changes that will benefit manufacturers.
Among other things, the law reduces the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent and repeals the corporate alternative minimum tax. The law also allows companies to immediately expense the full cost of qualified property acquired and placed into service before 2023. And, it maintains the R&D tax credit.
While stumping for the bill, President Trump predicted tax reform would be “rocket fuel” for the American economy, spurring manufacturers to invest in equipment, hire more workers, and increase wages. For once, he was not exaggerating.
According to the latest Manufacturers Outlook Survey, conducted quarterly by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), 77 percent of manufacturers say they will increase hiring thanks to tax reform, and 72 percent plan to increase wages or benefits. Eighty-six percent of manufacturers expect to invest more in equipment and facilities. And, 93 percent report a positive outlook for their companies and the economy—a near-record high level of optimism. Tax reform was cited as a major reason.
“Almost exactly one year ago, I appeared before Congress to make the case for tax reform that would make America fiercely competitive. Congress and the president kept their promise and delivered. Now, it’s our time to keep our promises and deliver—and we are,” said NAM Chairman David Farr during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing in May.
“Manufacturing in America is now rising to new heights, thanks to tax reform, and as a result, manufacturers of all sizes are already investing more, growing more, hiring more and paying more,” continued Farr, who is also the chairman and CEO of Emerson Electric Co.
One such manufacturer is Winton Machine Co., a family-owned maker of tube-bending machinery. The company was founded in 1997 by George and Lisa Winton in the basement of their home in Lawrenceville, GA. Today, the company operates a 14,000-square-foot factory in Suwanee, GA, and employs 32 people, up five workers since 2016. The company is also adding three interns this summer, working with a local high school and college to train students for manufacturing jobs of the future.
Winton Machine has delivered machines to more than 500 customers in the U.S. and around the world. Tax reform helped the company land its largest contract ever, according to Lisa Winton.
“Tax reform is enabling companies to make significant capital investments, and it’s creating more business for us and other small manufacturers,” she says. “We’ll be replacing two machines in our factory.
“The NAM [and lawmakers in Washington] were successful in allowing me the opportunities as a pass-through business to get those deductions, to have that lower tax rate [and] invest in my business. …We came to market with two new machines last year, and we couldn’t have done that without the R&D tax credit.”