WASHINGTON — Truckers and trucking took center stage briefly today at the White House Rose Garden as President Donald Trump pointed to truckers and carriers as part of the workforce who have benefited from his tax cuts.
Trump highlighted the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Job Act signed into law in December 2017.
Werner driver Quinton Ward was called up by Trump to take the podium and said his added income from the tax cuts have enabled him and his family to take a vacation they had been planning for years but were never able to afford.
Also speaking on behalf of Werner was President and CEO Derek Leathers, who attended along with driver Marvin Fielder and associate Kathryn Oswald.
According to the White House, the most recent Outlook Survey from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) shows that American manufacturers’ optimism is at 93.5 percent, the second highest reading in the survey’s history.
“Projected employment growth, new capital investments, and inventory increases all reached all-time highs in the survey,” said a White House statement.
The survey also predicted that manufacturers anticipate wages will grow at the fastest pace in 17 years.
The American Trucking Associations said several of its member companies besides Werner attended the president’s Rose Garden speech.
“Putting truckers in a position to have their voices heard on important issues is a critical part of what we do at ATA,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear.
“Our industry could not ask for better representatives than these to talk about the benefits of the president’s tax reform package.”
Also present were executives and drivers from Crete Carrier Corp. and TCW Inc.
TCW was represented by President Dave Manning, chairman of ATA, and driver David Livingston. Crete was represented by CEO and Chairman Tonn Ostergard, Vice Chair Holly Ostergard, and driver Jeff Tetzloff.
ATA was an advocate for the of the tax reform bill and hosted President Trump in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, at an event in October 2017 to garner support for tax reform. A January 2018 survey of ATA member companies revealed that 50 percent of carriers were planning to increase wages or offer bonuses as a result of tax reform, and 47 percent were planning to invest their tax cuts in new equipment, including trucks, trailers and safety technology.
President Trump noted that tax reform could be raising or lowering taxes and that he wanted to be clear that his program contained tax cuts.
“In the past three months, I got raises that will provide me and my family over $4,000 annually,” said Tetzloff. “The extra money in my check provides me and my family freedom and flexibility. Also, the significant increase in my company-provided profit-sharing and 401K plan provides me additional retirement security, lessening my dependence on Social Security.”
“Mr. President, you care about truck drivers, and it shows,” said Ward, a U.S. Army veteran. “Thank you so much for fighting for us. This tax law means a better future for me, and a significant pay increase this year.”
“To fully understand the true size and scale of this law’s impact on our company, I point to some concrete numbers,” said Leathers.
“We have increased our capital expenditures for 2018 by $127 million, or 64 percent, over the previous year — 90 percent of which was for newer and safer trucks.
“For our employees, we are increasing driver pay by more than $24 million — an average increase of $2,400 per driver.”