Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) is so desperate to pretend that the deeply unpopular tax bill he voted for is good for California that he is dishonestly spinning media reports about retail giant Walmart.
Taking to Twitter, Knight shared a news story about Walmart increasing its pay scale and giving out bonuses with the exclamation, “The good news keeps on rolling in! #TaxReformWorks”
The CNBC story Knight referenced stated, “Walmart will raise its starting wage rate for hourly employees in the U.S. to $11, expand maternity & parental leave benefits, and provide a one-time cash bonus for eligible employees of as much as $1,000 due to tax reform.”
Knight intentionally remained silent on issues that make this announcement much less impressive.
The most elemental issue is that the minimum wage in California is already $11 per hour for workers at large companies. The Democratic-controlled state legislature increased the minimum wage, starting on Jan. 1, 2018. Walmart is simply complying with state law, which has nothing to do with the tax bill.
Further, Walmart raised their starting wage in both 2015 and 2016 to $9 per hour and $10 per hour, respectively. Many economists expected Walmart to increase its starting wage due to a strong economy and the need to compete with other companies that recently increased wages, such as Target and Costco.
The cash bonus is also extraordinarily misleading. Walmart employees who have worked there for more than 20 years will receive a $1,000 cash bonus. However, the average bonus will be close to $190. While definitely beneficial, that is a far cry from $1,000.
And considering that Walmart will reap a windfall of about $18 billion from the tax reform bill, the bonuses amount are a drop in the bucket for the global company.
Most deceptively, neither Knight nor Walmart decided to share that the company is also laying off thousands of workers on the very day it made this announcement.
Walmart is closing 63 Sam’s Club stores, including two locations in southern California.
According to Business Insider, many employees were not even told that they were losing their jobs before showing up for work today.
So while Knight was sending out a celebratory tweet with misleading information, some of his constituents may have been receiving a pink slip.
His deceptive praise of the bill will not sit well with constituents today, nor in November.