Jonell Marty, a fifth-grade teacher in the Minneapolis suburb of Apple Valley, received $60 more in her paycheck on February 5, her first to incorporate the Trump tax cuts.
Marty, who has taught for more than three decades, makes $86,000 a year. She is putting the extra $1,440 per year toward paying off her five-bedroom home bordering the woods.
To Marty, a Republican, the tax cut is a campaign promise fulfilled. She strongly supports President Donald Trump.
“I have been on his side for two years,” she said.
Three months after the president signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, workers are able to see an increase in their paychecks. Whether they notice it depends on how big that cut is and probably their politics. Democrats are nearly four times more likely to think their taxes are going up than down, according to a Monmouth University poll released at the end of January. The same poll found that roughly that people across low, middle, and high incomes are split as to whether their taxes will increase, decrease, or stay the same.
The largest cuts will go to people making the most money, but everyone will probably receive something. According to the Tax Policy Center, most people earning less than $50,000 will get less than $30 each month, while the bottom fifth of earners will get just $5 more.
Marty already knew what she would be getting from the tax cut. She estimated it with an online calculator she saw on Facebook.
Meanwhile, Dr. Emil Steinke of Moorhead, Minnesota, has not looked to see if his check has gotten bigger. Steinke, 70, is a partially retired physician who works two days a week. He earns about $75,000 a year and also collects Social Security benefits.
Steinke lives on the opposite side of Minnesota from Ms. Marty. Politically, they are also opposites. Steinke looks forward to Democrats regaining power. Until then, he said of the tax cuts, “I don’t think it’s going to affect me at all.”
Splitting the difference between the doctor and the teacher is Case Walker, a 27 year-old software developer in New York. Walker said he noticed the tax cut increased his pay by more than 2.6 percent.
Walker said he does not need the extra money. “I’m currently very comfortably exceeding my monthly expenses,” he said. He doesn’t plan to do anything with it except maybe set it aside for retirement.
Working for a company that makes software to prevent credit card fraud, Walker said his salary compares to what other companies might pay a mid-level software engineer in New York City. The career website Glassdoor estimates that the average base pay for software engineers in the city is more than $106,000.
“It hasn’t changed any of the things that I do,” Walker said of the tax cut. “It hasn’t impacted me in any real way.”
“I understand that the difference would be much nicer to someone making a lot less than I make.”
Robert Brusca agrees. The economist, who is skeptical that the tax cut will have a positive impact, said he thinks the people who need extra money the most — and would spend it — are not getting enough from the cuts to make a difference in their lives.
“I don’t think they’re gonna be profligate with the few extra crumbs in their paycheck,” he said.
Dividing earners into five equal groups by population, the $106,000 salary of the average software engineer in New York City would put them in the second-highest group — the top 60 to 80 percent of earners. That group will receive an average federal tax cut of $1,810, according to the Tax Policy Center’s projections. Two tiers down, workers earning between $25,000 and $48,600 will receive a fifth of that. Those workers will receive an average cut of $380 over the year, or a little over $30 each month.
The lowest 20 percent of earners, who make up to $25,000 each year, will receive an average tax cut of $60. That is just $5 more per month. Meanwhile, those in the top 20 percent will receive an average yearly tax cut of $7,640.