Tax Reform Helps JLS Automation Grow and Give Back
Get the Latest NewsSign up here
JLS Automation, a maker of robotic packaging systems in York, Pennsylvania, is growing fast—adding workers, expanding its facility and looking toward a bright future. According to Craig Souser, the company’s president and CEO, this growth was enabled in part by the tax reform law passed in 2017. Souser spoke to us recently about the strides that JLS has been making ever since—and noted that any changes to those tax policies could endanger the company’s continuing success.
Ramping up hiring: According to Souser, JLS hired 20 people already this year, which represents 20% growth in its workforce. The company also expects to hire another 20 people, further expanding its talent bench of high-skilled workers.
Providing bonuses: It’s important to JLS that employees feel connected to the work they are doing, and that means ensuring they have a piece of the profits. That’s why the company has a profit-sharing program that gives bonuses to its team, explains Souser.
- In the past three years alone, JLS has given workers two to three weeks’ pay in profit-sharing bonuses, and this year employees received additional thousand-dollar bonuses across the board. The company also offers other merit-based bonuses to qualifying employees, ensuring that good work gets noticed and rewarded.
Expanding facilities: The company’s hiring spree means it must expand its facilities, doubling the area where employees work and adding space for new capital equipment like an on-site crane and machining capability. According to Souser, the company is likely to spend as much or more on the expansion as it took to buy their current facility in the first place.
Investing in training: Souser also cites tax reform as a factor in the company’s decision to invest aggressively in training efforts.
- “We can be more investment-driven, allocate more money to any individual training program and hire better people to do training because of tax reform,” said Souser. “We always need to train our people, but we can do it faster and better because of tax reform. There’s no doubt about it.”
Strengthening communities: JLS is focused on developing the workforce of the future, especially within its own community. The company supports local initiatives like Give Local York, which promotes nonprofit organizations that serve York County, and established a scholarship to help students of color attend York College’s engineering program.
The road ahead: All these efforts were made possible in large part by tax reform, Souser stresses. However, if JLS is saddled with a higher tax burden, the company might struggle to maintain this level of expansion. In particular, Souser worries about an increase in the corporate tax rate, harmful changes to the estate tax and the rollback of full expensing (which allows companies to deduct the costs of their equipment purchases in one year, an important tax benefit).
- “We’re concerned about what we’re hearing on the tax side,” said Souser. “The full expensing provision has been huge. On tax, we like to be able to hire and retain people, and we like to be generous, and if profits get whacked, we can’t invest in them and their futures nearly as much.”
- “The long-term concern is about pulling back on estate tax relief,” he added. “We are a closely-held company, and that could cause liquidation or asset sales or staffing reductions. It would be potentially devastating to the company. You put all three of these provisions together, and there’s not much to like.”
The last word: “Business is the process of managing risk—and when risk is an unknown, it becomes hard to manage,” said Souser. “It’s difficult enough to deal with a whole variety of issues out there and to remain competitive in an environment where the majority of our competitors are global. When you see something as great as tax reform, the threat of it going away gives you pause.”
Manufacturers Unveil Competitiveness Agenda Ahead of Midterm Elections
“Competing to Win” offers a path for bringing the country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose
Washington, D.C. – Ahead of the midterm elections, the National Association of Manufacturers released its policy roadmap, “Competing to Win,” a comprehensive blueprint featuring immediate solutions for bolstering manufacturers’ competitiveness. It is also a roadmap for policymakers on the laws and regulations needed to strengthen the manufacturing industry in the months and years ahead.
With the country facing rising prices, snarled supply chains and geopolitical turmoil, manufacturers are outlining an actionable competitiveness agenda that Americans across the political spectrum can support. “Competing to Win” includes the policies manufacturers in America will need in place to continue driving the country forward.
“‘Competing to Win’ offers a path for bringing our country together around policies, shared values and a unified purpose,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The NAM is putting forward a plan filled with ideas that policymakers could pursue immediately, including solutions to urgent problems, such as energy security, immigration reform, supply chain disruptions, the ongoing workforce shortage and more. Manufacturers have shown incredible resilience through difficult times, employing more workers now than before the pandemic, but continued resilience is not guaranteed without the policies that are critical to the state of manufacturing in America.”
The NAM and its members will leverage “Competing to Win” to shape policy debates ahead of the midterm elections, in the remainder of the 117th Congress and at the start of the 118th Congress—including in direct engagement with lawmakers, for grassroots activity, across traditional and digital media and through events in key states and districts as we did following the initial rollout of the roadmap in 2016.
The document focuses on 12 areas of action, and all policies are rooted in the values that have made America exceptional and keep manufacturing strong: free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.
Learn more about how manufacturers are leading and about the industry’s competitiveness agenda at nam.org/competing-to-win.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.77 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org