Subscribe for 33¢ / day

In social media posts following a visit Wednesday to Target in Camillus, U.S. Rep. John Katko claimed that the retail chain raised wages last year "as a direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," a federal tax plan that Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed in December. 

The Facebook and Twitter posts received attention because of Katko's assertion. Several followers of these accounts noted that the claim wasn't true. 

It begs the question: Did Target, as Katko stated, raise employee wages due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act? 

The Claim

Katko, R-Camillus, visited Target Wednesday. The stop wasn't publicized beforehand — it wasn't an official press event — but his office published social media posts with photos to announce that he met with Target employees. 

Katko Target

A screen shot of U.S. Rep. John Katko's tweet following his visit to Target Wednesday. The tweet claims that Target raised wages for employees after passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. 

In a tweet after the visit, Katko wrote: "Enjoyed meeting with @Target employees in Camillus. As a direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Target raised their wages last year to retain workers. I supported tax reform because this legislation will allow #CNY families to keep more of their hard earned money each month."

Katko posted a similar message on Facebook. The post reads, in part: "As a direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Target raised their wages late last year to retain cashiers and stockers and increased its entry-level wages for employees." 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the federal tax plan Republicans in Congress, including Katko, supported late last year. The final version of the bill passed in December with Katko's support. Trump signed it before Christmas. 

One of the main provisions in the tax law is a corporate tax rate reduction. The measure lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent. Target, a corporation, would benefit from this reduction. But that doesn't the company gave its employees a raise in response to the tax plan. 

The Facts

In September, three months before Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Target announced that it would raise the minimum wage for employees to $11 an hour. The hike was the first phase of the company's effort to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. 

The $11 an hour rate went into effect in October, according to CNN Money

At that time, there were discussions happening in Congress about the tax plan. However, there was no action taken on a single proposal. The House didn't pass its proposal until November. (Katko voted for the bill.) The final legislation wasn't approved until December — three months after Target announced its decision to raise employee wages. 

Target has said that the tax law will benefit the company and allow it to address "long-standing capital deployment priorities, including capital investments, dividends and additional share repurchase." But its commitment to raise employee wages came before the tax law was finalized. 

Conclusion

U.S. Rep. John Katko claimed Target raised employee wages "as a direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act." This is false. While Target has said it will benefit from the tax law, the company announced the raise for employees three months before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed Congress and was signed into law by President Trump. 

Katko's office has clarified its social media posts. The congressman's Facebook post was edited one hour after the initial post was published, according to the edit history.

The updated post reads, "Enjoyed meeting with employees at Target in Camillus. We had a positive conversation on the Tax Cut & Jobs Act, and its impact in our community. Target raised their wages late last year to retain cashiers and stockers and increased its entry-level wage for employees. I supported tax reform because I am confident this legislation will allow families in our community to keep more of their hard earned money each month and I’m glad we’re seeing results here in Central New York." 

3
4
0
0
5

Online producer/politics reporter