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How's The New Tax Law Playing Out In North Texas?

Katherine Welles
While some companies are issuing one-time bonuses, Texas Instruments is not. Instead, employees will get a cut through their profit-sharing program.

In this week's State of the Union speech, President Trump delivered a glowing report about the tax bill he just signed, saying roughly three million people received "thousands and thousands of dollars in tax bonuses." However, that's only partially true in North Texas.  

Mitchell Schnurman, a business columnist for the Dallas Morning News, found that only 15 businesses across Texas have publicly said something about what they'll do with their tax savings. Most of them are issuing one-time bonuses, while others are holding out. 

Interview Highlights: Mitchell Schnurman

 On who's handing out the bonuses:

"They're the big names: AT&T, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines. Kimberly-Clark Corporation, based in Irving, is not handing out any bonuses in relation to the tax cuts. What they did announce is that they're going to restructure. They're going to use some of that tax savings to pay for the closing of 10 plants and the elimination of up to 5,500 jobs.

Most publicly traded companies are going to reward shareholders, so that means they're going to buy back stock on the open market and increase dividends."

What smaller companies are doing:

"Small businesses are covered under a different section [in the tax code]. The first 20 percent of net income in these companies is no longer going to be subject to tax, so that's going to flow through as more money for them. It's a little less clear what they're going to do with it. Are they just going to have more money or are they going to pass it along and hire people? We just don't know. This is going to take a couple of years to sort through. It's a real test of that idea of trickle-down economics. We're just freeing up a bunch of money for these companies and we're going to wait to see whether it all trickles down into higher wages or more jobs."   

On whether the tax overhaul gives Texas a competitive advantage over other states:

"For years we've had a cost advantage over other places, but that advantage is going to get even stronger now. There's a provision in the tax law that limits the deduction for state and local taxes. This is really a provision to help offset some of the gains that high earners are going to get from the taxes. This particular provision really affects California and New York much more than it does Texas, so our edge that we had before this law is going to become even greater."