We asked Minnesota's Fortune 500 companies what they'll do with corporate tax cut savings

Here's what each of them said.

The country's biggest employers are being given a huge corporate tax cut, as it's reducing from 35 to 21 percent under the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

But the bill has proved controversial, not least because the wealthiest in the country stand to benefit the most, at a time when pay disparity between the rich and middle/lower earners is already huge.

With major corporations set to receive lower taxes, a burning question now is: Will these savings "trickle down" to ordinary workers once the bill is signed by President Donald Trump?

We took that question to Minnesota's largest companies.

Will savings from tax cuts be passed down to Minnesota workers?

After the bill was proposed, GoMN asked each of Minnesota's 17 Fortune 500 companies whether the cut in corporate taxes would lead them to do any of the following:

  • Increase employee wages
  • Hire more people
  • Invest in products/innovation
  • Increase dividends/share buybacks for investors
  • Increase executive bonuses
  • Boost its charitable giving
  • Reduce the cost of products/services
  • Increase spending on lobbying efforts

How did they respond?

Four of Minnesota's 17 Fortune 500 companies – CHS, General Mills. Target and C.H. Robinson – gave details on how they will use the money.

Both CHS and C.H. Robinson said some would be passed on to workers – in CHS' case through hiring and wage increases, and in C.H. Robinson's case through hiring and investing "capital back into growing the company."

Target said it would "pursue our strategic growth priorities" and hinted at some additional hiring or pay rises through its plans for "continued investment in the Target team." The company announced in September it would increase its minimum wage for workers to $11, and has plans to increase this eventually to $15 – which will now be easier to achieve.

General Mills told investors on an earnings call Dec. 20 that it would be returning some of the savings to shareholders, as well as increasing brand and capital investment.

As the only nonprofit on the list, Thrivent reckoned it won't see much of a change compared to for-profit companies.

The remainder of the companies either said it was too early to judge, or didn't respond to our enquiries at all, despite being given weeks to do so as well as several follow up calls and emails.

Two of the three biggest Minnesota companies, UnitedHealthCare and Best Buy, were among eight that declined to respond. This story will be updated as and when they do.

'Tax Christmas for the biggest earners'

Kim Clausing, professor of economics at Reed College in Oregon, told GoMN the surge in the stock market since the tax bill was proposed indicates where much of the savings will go: to shareholders.

"This is tax Christmas for the biggest earners that will be paid for by our children and grandchildren," she said.

"In the short run this is going to benefit shareholders and in the long run shareholders will still see the lion's share of benefits."

But moves taken in the immediate wake of the tax bill's passage suggest at least some large companies will give back to workers.

AT&T said it will give 200,000 employees a $1,000 bonus when the bill is signed, and announced significant investment in its capital spending.

Wells Fargo will be introducing a $15 minimum wage and pledged $400 million in charitable donations for the next year (it's got a LOT of goodwill to claw back).

All of the responses

Here's a look at all of the responses GoMN received from Minnesota's Fortune 500 companies. (We'll update this if and when we receive more).

Target (Minneapolis)

"The tax reform legislation passed through Congress will further enable Target to pursue our strategic growth priorities. These include continued investment in the Target team, in our business and our ability to serve our guests, and in the communities where we do business."

C.H. Robinson Worldwide (Eden Prairie)

"Corporate tax rate cuts will have a positive effect on our (and all) businesses, allowing us to invest more capital back into growing our company. Investing more capital means hiring more people and purchasing more services, all things that help grow the economy."

U.S. Bancorp. (Minneapolis)

"We do not have a comment at this time."

CHS Inc. (Inver Grove Heights)

"We worked closely with several elected officials to ensure the cooperative system voice was heard during recent conversations on Section 199.

"While the tax reform bill presents both challenges and opportunities for farmers and cooperatives, we remain optimistic about future investment, hiring and wage increases across the cooperative system and in rural communities."

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans (Minneapolis)

"Thrivent is a not-for-profit membership organization, so we expect the impact to be minimal compared to the impact on for-profit companies. As a fraternal benefit society, we use our tax-exemption to support our members in their generosity in communities around the nation and the world."

Ecolab (St. Paul)

"The proposed tax reform legislation is still very fluid. It is too early to discuss whether there will be any realized tax reductions for Ecolab."

3M (Maplewood)

"3M appreciates the President and Congress for enacting tax reform legislation that will result in a more globally competitive system for U.S.-based manufacturers."

General Mills (Golden Valley)

During an earnings call on Wednesday, GM executives said they will evaluate "several uses" including brand investment, capital investment, M&A (mergers and acquisitions), and "clearly, cash return to shareholders."

A spokesman also added: "On the corporate income tax reform we are encouraged by the efforts of the House and Senate to address the competitive tax advantage enjoyed by our foreign competitors."

Supervalu (Eden Prairie)

"At this time, Supervalu is still evaluating and will not be able to provide responses to your questions."

Mosaic (Plymouth)

"It is premature for us to answer these questions given that Mosaic is still assessing the impact of the new tax law. I also think it unlikely that we would make decisions like those you ask about based solely on potential tax savings."

The following companies have not responded:

  • UnitedHealthCare
  • Best Buy
  • Hormel
  • Ameriprise Financial
  • Land O'Lakes
  • Xcel Energy
  • St. Jude Medical

Next Up

Mohamed Noor

Ex-Minneapolis cop Noor resentenced to 57 months in prison

Justine Ruszczyk Damond's fiancé said he forgives Noor.

Anthony Edwards

Anthony Edwards was right: he is Houdini and his bag of tricks is incredible

Edwards put the entire league on notice with his season-opening performance.

Bob Fletcher

New 'public service' charter school backed by Ramsey Co. Sheriff to open

Efforts to open the school were spearheaded in part by Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher.

covid-19 testing site sign

Minnesota to offer free COVID rapid testing at 9 more sites

Three new rapid testing sites opened in Minnesota this week.


Elvis Costello cancels Mystic Lake show, will play vax-requiring First Ave instead

Those who bought tickets to Mystic Lake will be refunded, and need to buy new tickets.


23 Minnesotans infected with salmonella linked to onions

Four of Minnesota residents were hospitalized. None have died.

Anthony Edwards

Timberwolves smash Rockets in season opener

The Timberwolves showed they have plenty of firepower in a victory over Houston.

Knuth - Nezhad - side by side

Frey challengers Knuth, Nezhad agree to rank each other 2nd

They're urging supporters to do the same on Nov. 2.

Jerome Horton - Sherburne Co. Jail - CROP

Charges: Man lied to buy gun later used by St. Paul mass shooting suspect

He's accused of making false statements during the purchase of a firearm.

Screen Shot 2021-06-04 at 6.30.24 AM

BCA releases investigative file in Winston Smith's shooting death

The file contains 1,000 pages of documents, hundreds of photos and dozens of audio files.


DFL says plan would cut taxes for families, raise them for corporations

The tax plan is likely to be opposed by Republicans in the Senate.

17 MN companies make the Fortune 500 list – and one cracks the top 10

Target and Best Buy rank highly on the annual list, with Minnesota strongly represented.

Fortune Global 500 list includes six Minnesota companies

UnitedHealth Group, Target, Best Buy, Supervalu, 3M and Inver Grove Heights-based CHS are among Fortune’s list of the biggest companies in the world. Twin Cities Business reports all the Minnesota companies were on the list last year, but dropped in this year’s annual ranking, expect for CHS, who jumped 97 spots.

Minnesota is losing another Fortune 500 company

The Mosaic Company is moving its headquarters to Tampa.

Minnesota gains 2 more Fortune 500 companies

Securian and Polaris have made the list.