AT&T says to pay bonuses, invest $1 billion once tax reform signed

AT&T says to pay bonuses, invest $1 billion once tax reform signed

2017-12-20 20:44:25

NEW YORK (Reuters) – AT&T Inc (T.N) said on Wednesday it will pay $1,000 bonuses to more than 200,000 employees and invest an additional $1 billion in the United States in 2018 once a tax reform bill approved by Congress is signed into law.

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval to the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years on Wednesday, sending the sweeping bill to U.S. President Donald Trump for his signature.

Employees of the No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier who will receive the bonus are all “union-represented, non-management and front-line managers,” AT&T said in a statement. The company has more than 250,000 employees in all. A person briefed on the matter said the bonuses will cost the company about $230 million.

Aerospace company Boeing Co (BA.N) also said on Wednesday it would invest $300 million in workforce training and facilities enhancements for employees as its CEO lauded the tax bill.

The two announcements gave at least some support to claims by Trump and fellow Republicans that their tax bill, which cuts the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, would lead to more investment by U.S. companies.

Republican senators and Trump praised the announcements.

“Within hours of passing #taxreform, we’re already seeing announcements that companies plan to give back to their employees and invest more at home,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia on Twitter. “Good news for workers and the economy!”

Earlier on Wednesday, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York criticized AT&T on the Senate floor.

”AT&T – big American company, fine American company – their tax rate over the last 10 years was a mere 8 percent, and they cut 80,000 jobs,“ he said. ”That one statistic belies all this trickle-down bunk that our Republican colleagues still cling to even though it’s outdated and disproven.”

AT&T is in the process of acquiring Time Warner Inc (TWX.N) for $85.4 billion, but the U.S. Department of Justice has sued AT&T to block the deal, saying it could raise prices for rivals and hamper development of online video.

Reporting by Anjali Athavaley in New York and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Bill Rigby

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