2:54 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. I just wanted to start by saying I spoke with Speaker Ryan just a few moments ago, and they’re doing pretty good. The train accident was a tough one — a tremendous jolt. And they’re proceeding to their conference. We don’t have a full understanding yet as to what happened, but it was a train hitting a truck going at a pretty good speed. And we’ll have a full report as to what it looks like. The driver of the truck was killed, and it’s very sad to see that.
But they’re going on to the conference, and I’ll be going to West Virginia — great state. I’ll be going there — I’ll be going tomorrow, and we’ll be together. But it was a pretty rough hit. That’s what they all tell me. Spoke to a few of the folks, and they say it was tough.
Joining me today are some really great Americans. And I’ve been talking about reaping the rewards of the big tax cut bill, and reform — but the big tax cut bill. And these are people who have — they’ve worked hard. They have businesses. In some cases, they’re making tremendous percentage amounts more than they were going to before the plan. And we thought we’d bring some of them up just to say, in front of the media and in front of the press, to say a few words.
We have Sue Wagner. Thank you, Sue. Sue Wagner is ith Bank of Colorado — Fort Collins, Colorado. Great place. Thousand-dollar bonuses awarded to all full-time employees. That’s great. That was nice, right?
MS. WAGNER: It was great.
THE PRESIDENT: It was a gift, all of a sudden.
MS. WAGNER: Yes, it was.
THE PRESIDENT: But it was a gift for somebody that works very hard.
William Harmon. And, William? William?
MR. HARMON: Here, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, okay. Total System Services, Muscogee County, Georgia. Thousand-dollar bonuses awarded to 11,500 employees. So you have a lot of happy friends, right?
MR. HARMON: Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great, William.
John Anfinson. John. Hi, John. Anfinson Farm Store — Cushing, Iowa. That’s good stuff, right? The great state of Iowa. Thank you very much, John. Thousand-dollar bonuses and 5 percent pay raises awarded for the employees. That’s great. Five-percent raises, in addition. All things that would have never happened without the — or it certainly wouldn’t have happened for a long time, without the tax cut.
Michael Porter, Aflac, increases — Columbus, Georgia. 401(k) match from 50 percent to 100 percent on the first 4 percent of compensation. That’s pretty good, right? Plus one-time 500 [dollar] contribution to every employee’s 401(k). And they’ve got a lot of employees. It’s a great company. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
China Edwards. China, hi. Bank Midwest — Independence, Missouri. $500 bonus for full-time employees; $250 bonus for part-time employees. That’s a lot of people. It’s a great place. It’s a great state. Thank you very much. It really is, isn’t it?
Patrick Sobers. Patrick. Hi, Patrick. National Bank Holdings Corporation — Denver, Colorado. $1,000 bonuses for employees making less than $50,000. And that’s a big group, and there were a lot of happy people, right?
MR. SOBERS: Yes, there were.
THE PRESIDENT: And Jessica Melendez. Hi, Jessica. Jergens, Inc. — Cleveland, Ohio. Jessica will announce $1,000 bonuses to employees. That’s great. Thank you very much.
We have some companies that have announced $3,000 bonuses, and, in some cases, even more. Some have given raises to the minimum wage up to $12, $13, $14, and even $15. We also have massive investments coming in, like Apple — $350 billion. Yesterday, we had ExxonMobil announce that they’re investing $50 billion in our country.
So we have a lot of things happening, and perhaps we’ll start with you. Go ahead, tell them.
MR. HARMON: Yes, sir. So with TSYS Total Systems. Basically, like President Trump said, TSYS invested a total of about $10 million-plus in its team members, giving them the $1,000 bonus. And that was all the full-time team members — and not only in the U.S., but also worldwide.
And not only did it do that, but it also raised its 401(k) match that they paid us from 4 percent to 5 percent.
So, you know, ultimately these new tax laws is really helping everyone out in the sense that, you know — like me personally, I was able to take some money from the bonus, put it aside for vacation — a much needed vacation — that I plan on taking my family on this year. And, you know, that’s huge for us.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s fantastic. Good. Well, enjoy it. Enjoy the vacation.
MR. HARMON: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.
MS. WAGNER: Yes, my name is — thank you for having us here, Mr. President. My name is Sue Wagner. I am from Fort Collins, Colorado. And I’m with Bank of Colorado, also Pinnacle Bank is our parent company. And we’re a community bank serving eight states. We focus on serving local businesses, agriculture, and all the customers that we have.
And when the news came out with the tax bill passing, Shawn Osthoff, who’s our president, said we wanted to make a very clear statement that this tax cut would benefit all Americans. So they immediately announced the — I believe we were one of the first to announce that $1,000 bonus.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s true. That’s true.
MS. WAGNER: And everyone, of course, has their own story of how it benefits them. We had some that had a very special Christmas. We had others that had medical, family expenses — things like that. For me, I have a wedding coming up this year with my daughter.
THE PRESIDENT: Good. Congratulations.
MS. WAGNER: So I’ve earmarked it for that. We’re looking forward to making a very special event and memory out of that.
So we thank Bank of Colorado and Pinnacle Bank for their generosity and thoughtfulness, and we thank you, Mr. President, for championing the bill for us.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Sue. And, you know, we didn’t know this was going to happen so much. Nobody thought in terms of the corporations doing what they’ve done by the hundreds. And millions and millions of people are covered, and, frankly, we thought February 1st was going to be the big date when you’re also going to have more money in your paycheck. So that will be something special, and that’s coming up very soon.
MR. PORTER: Yeah, Michael Porter with Aflac in Columbus, Georgia. And as a husband and a father of four, ages 2 to 9, it’s very busy at our house. And what Aflac has done is went a full percentage point to 4 percent match — allowing employees to contribute up to 4 percent and the company would match that 100 percent. And then they also gave another $500 — a one-time $500.
So it’s really given us, as parents, the peace of mind to really focus on our kids and our retirement. Aflac has always taken care of their policyholders, not only in an immediate sense, but also long-term. And they do that for their employees as well. And what they’ve done through this tax cut and giving back to their employees and their 401(k)s is phenomenal.
And it really gives my wife and I the ability to focus now on our kids and raising our kids, and not have to worry about what’s going to go on down the road. Retirement will come, but Aflac has taken a vested interest in ensuring that we have what we need for that retirement.
So thank you to you, Mr. President. And I just wanted to give you this pair of Aflac socks.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, good. (Laughter.)
MR. PORTER: So you enjoy that. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Good. Well, your chairman I know very well, and he’s done a fantastic job. And they actually, a long time ago, hired my wife to do a big commercial. You know that, right? An Aflac commercial. And I think it was a successful commercial, too.
So thank you. Say hello to him.
MR. PORTER: I sure will.
THE PRESIDENT: Good.
MS. EDWARDS: So my name is China Edwards. I work at Bank Midwest, which is a division of the NBH Bank which my colleague over there, Patrick Sobers, also works at.
And it was — it was just a very unexpected surprise. So with Bank Midwest already having such a great benefits package, it was just one more way that they really took advantage of the opportunity that they were given and invested in their associates. It’s not something where you can work for — for every company, and they really invest in the associates they have. So I’m just truly thankful to work for a great company.
THE PRESIDENT: So it is a great company.
MS. EDWARDS: It is a great company, yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s great. And a really great state.
MS. EDWARDS: Good state. Fun state.
THE PRESIDENT: All right. Thank you. Thanks, China.
MS. MELENDEZ: My name is Jessica Melendez. I work for Jergens, Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio. I’ve been there for six years.
Me, personally — other than seeing more in my paycheck every week, the president of Jergens is going to be giving everyone a double pay raise —
THE PRESIDENT: Wow.
MS. MELENDEZ: — permanently every year, every annual.
We’re going to be investing money into CNC machining downstairs. And we’re also looking forward to bringing on new hires. We have an interview already Friday.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s fantastic. Good. Well, say hello to everybody. Fantastic.
MR. SOBERS: First of all, Mr. President, thanks for having us here.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
MR. SOBERS: My name is Patrick Sobers. I’m with National Bank Holdings. And we operate a family of community banks in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, and Texas. I also serve as the president of community banks in Colorado.
And I want to say, Mr. President, this has been very impactful to all our associates. We quickly took action and we awarded every associate in our company who makes less than $50,000 a year, annually, a $1,000 bonus. And the feedback has been really fantastic. People have used it to pay bills. They’ve used it to buy books for their kids, et cetera.
Additionally, as a result of this tax reform, we are looking at implementing a long-term bonus for this same group of associates. And we are also in the process of rolling out a plan that would be tuition reimbursement for our associates. And it’s all made possible by this tax reform.
One more thing I would definitely want you to hear from the field, Mr. President, is that small businesses — small businesses, our clients — are telling us that they are looking to invest in their businesses, invest in their associates, invest in plants, buy new equipment, and there’s an excitement also among our business clients.
And so this is having an impact not only on our associates, — which we’re delighted to take care of our associates, but it’s having an impact also on business clients.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think expensing will be one of the biggest impacts from the plan. People have one-year expensing, which is unheard of. We’ve never had that before in this country. And a lot of people don’t talk about it, and yet I think it’s going to be, maybe, most impactful of anything — including bringing, perhaps, $4 trillion back.
Like Apple is bringing approximately $245 billion back. They’re paying approximately a $38 billion tax, and they’re going to invest that money in this country, up to $350 billion.
But I think expensing is the unsung phrase within our bill. That’s going to be fantastic. People are going to really go out and do something. And I’m seeing it already.
So thank you. I’m glad you brought that up, actually. Thank you very much.
MR. SOBERS: Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, sir.
MR. ANFINSON: Hi. I’m John Anfinson. I’m from Iowa, and I operate Anfinson Farm Store in Cushing, near Sioux City. And we’re a very small business compared to the rest of the people in the room, I’m sure. I have seven employees.
And almost immediately, when I heard the bill was passed, it struck me, and I heard somebody was going to give bonuses. That’s great, you know. And I decided to do it immediately — the bonuses and pay increases. And I felt like somebody — a kid who just got the new keys to the car. You know, “Oh, we got to do something with this, you know, and make the best of it and go ahead with it.” So, you know, it just seemed like the thing to do right away.
So anyway, our business is very old. We’ve been a family business — it’s going to be 100 years, this year.
THE PRESIDENT: Wow. That’s great.
MR. ANFINSON: According to (inaudible), I haven’t done all the exact research, but about 1918 we started. I’ve run the business for 45 years.
As far as the bonuses, I work day-to-day every day with my employees in the fields and in our plant. And I know them all very well and really appreciate everything that they do. And it’s important that we look after our employees.
THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely.
MR. ANFINSON: So it’s really easy for me. You know, I’m right there with everybody every day.
And in addition to that, as far as — I’ve got, on order, new equipment for our plant. I bought a new John Deere sprayer — that’s about a $360,000 machine. And some new storage tanks for our liquid fertilizer products — that’s $25,000. So it’s some decent money we’re going to invest back in the business.
THE PRESIDENT: One-year expensing, right?
MR. ANFINSON: Yeah, you bet.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s pretty good.
MR. ANFINSON: So we’re very pleased. As far as the personal thing, I had a granddaughter and her husband who live in Boston, and they already seemed to have experienced the benefit of the bill. My granddaughter called me and said, between the two of those people, they’re going to have about $6,000 additional money they get to keep. It’s not a gift; they get to keep it. Well, it is a gift.
But they were shocked what it was going to amount to them personally, and just ecstatic.
THE PRESIDENT: It is not crumbs. That I can tell you. (Laughter.)
MR. ANFINSON: No, not crumbs.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you folks are terrific. We’re going to take some pictures. And thank you all very much. Appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you very much.
END 3:10 P.M. EST