Though the stock market wobbles underneath threats of tariffs, trade wars and tweets, workers in North Georgia continue to see bonus checks and raises.
Another group of companies is making announcements of increases to their minimum hiring wage, charitable donations and capital investment attributed to federal tax reform. The businesses employ thousands of people in Georgia and many have a presence in at least one community in Hall County.
The announcements have been like mana to Republicans in midterm elections who have tax reform as the single large legislative achievement in 2017.
“I just got back just recently from touring and helping our candidates across the country, and Democrats are fired up. They believe this is their year,” Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia, told the audience at the 9th District gubernatorial debate in March.
“Let me just put this in very stark perspective for you: If we do not as Republicans get fired up, support our president, move forward and get our agenda and (talk) about tax cuts that are stimulating the economy, the lowest unemployment in years, the best job generation, 3 percent growth” then Democrats will take back the House, Collins told the audience.
With close elections around the country and a loss in Pennsylvania earlier this year, it remains to be seen whether the economy is enough of a message for Republicans at the ballot box this year.
But for many in Georgia workers, the economy is enough for their wallets as businesses roll out bonuses.
American Proteins is lining up $1,000 in bonuses for 700 employees, according to CEO Tommy Bagwell. The poultry product recycling company is based in Cumming.
In Toccoa, metal fabricator CMC of Georgia Inc. is giving bonuses of up to $1,000 to its employees, according to Toccoa radio station WNEG. Employees working a full year as of June 2017 were given $1,000, while employees with less than a year on the job received $500.
“We wanted to do that because of the change in the view our county is facing with manufacturing. It seems that the President wants to promote manufacturing; rather than, make it worse. We think that changes in taxes and tax law all have positives, and we wanted to get in the front by sharing it with our employees,” CMC President Matthew Marty told the station.
Several national companies with large footprints in Georgia are also offering bonuses, raises and other perks to employees:
Lowe’s Home Improvement, which has a store in Gainesville is giving $1,000 bonuses to hourly employees and offering additional parental leave.
Cox Enterprises, headquartered in Atlanta and Georgia’s largest privately owned company, is offering bonuses of up to $2,000 to employees.
Carter’s, headquartered in Atlanta and a major manufacturer of children’s clothing, announced it will offer bonuses and 401(k) matches for full-time and part-time employees.
Best Buy, which has a store in Gainesville, is giving $1,000 bonuses to full-time employees and $500 to part-timers, adding up to $75 million in bonuses.
BB&T Corp. is handing out $1,200 bonuses to 27,000 employees and raising its minimum wage to $15.
Many of these businesses and others are also making large donations to charities while giving bonuses to employees. Conservative organization Americans For Tax Reform, headed up by anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, maintains a list of Georgia businesses giving bonuses to employees and making other contributions to the economy online.