Perspectives; Thoughts; Comments; Opinions; Discussions

By Randy DeSoto | January 11, 2018 at 11:13am

URL of the original posting site: https://www.westernjournalism.com/utility-company-wants-cut-rates-millions-customers-trump-tax-cuts/

Arizona’s largest utility company is seeking permission to cut rates to its more than one million customers as a result of the Republican tax reform bill passed last month. The public corporation joined one of New England largest providers — serving liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Massachusetts — in announcing it will do the same.

The news came as Walmart became another of a plethora of companies that will pay $1,000 bonuses and other benefits to its employees due to the windfall it will reap as a result of the corporate tax rate being lowered from 35 percent to 21 percent.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Arizona Power Service is seeking permission from regulators to cut bills by $119 million a year, effective on Feb. 1. Residential customers will see their monthly decrease by an average of $4.68 per month.

APS said more cuts could follow once the tax bill’s effects become more clear, according to the AP.

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts-based utility Eversource, which serves over 3 million customers, announced earlier this month it wants to lower its rates as well.

“We believe it’s important that our customers reap the benefit of a lower tax rate,” Eversource Massachusetts Electric Operations President Craig Hallstrom said in a statement, according to WBUR. “As a regulated power company our rates are based on our costs, including federal taxes, so if taxes are reduced ultimately costs are reduced and that benefits our customers.”

Eversource seeks to reduce its rates by $35.4 million in eastern Massachusetts and lower its recently approved increase for the western part of the state from $24.8 million to $16.5 million.

The Bay State’s Democrat Attorney General Maura Healey is calling on all utilities serving Massachusetts residents to do the same.

On Wednesday, Fox News host Bret Baier questioned Warren, an outspoken critic of the GOP tax plan and President Donald Trump, about the decision by Eversource to lower its rates.

“Good for them. I’m delighted to hear that,” she replied, but added that she would move to change the new tax law if Democrats take back Congress in November.

“You’ve got to take out the parts that are giveaways to big corporations that right now, the Republicans plan for hardworking families to eventually pay for,” Warren said. “It is a $1.5 trillion that the Republicans gave away to billionaires and to giant corporations.”

“I want those breaks to go to hardworking families, not to a bunch of rich folks,” she added.

At his first Cabinet meeting of 2018 on Wednesday, Trump touted the benefits Americans at all income levels are already experiencing as a result of the tax law, including some that were unforeseen.

“Since that tax cut was enacted more than one million workers have received a tax cut bonus. Something that frankly no one even thought about,” he said. “We just knew a lot of good things were going to happen.”

“I must say AT&T was the first one, and they did it, $1,000 per employee,” he added. “They have hundreds of thousands of employees. And many companies followed immediately thereafter. Millions of employees in this country are getting $1,000 and more in some cases. Tax bonuses because of the tax cuts.”

He also pointed out the plan specifically targets working Americans by nearly doubling the standard deduction, making the first $12,000 earned income tax-free for individuals, and the first $24,000 for married couples. Additionally, the law doubles the child income tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted out the announcement by Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, that it was raising its U.S. minimum wage to $11 per hour and issuing a bonus of up to $1,000 to employees as a result of the lower corporate tax rates.

The corporation also plans to expand maternity and parental leave benefits.

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