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Dimon to CEOs: Use Tax Reform Benefit to ‘Do Something for Your People’

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon speaks at a luncheon celebrating the expansion of JPMorgan Chase into the D.C. region on April 19, 2018 in Washington. (Kevin Wolf/AP Images for JPMorgan Chase & Co.)

WASHINGTON – JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon encouraged other CEOs to take some of the corporate tax benefit under the tax reform bill that President Trump signed into law and “do something” for their people or communities.

Dimon also said Congress should double the earned income tax credit.

“If you’re a CEO in the room, I hope you take a little bit of this tax benefit you got and do something for your people and your communities,” he said during an event last week at which JPMorgan Chase formally announced its plan to open 70 new branches in the D.C. metropolitan area and hire about 700 new employees.

Forbes has estimated Dimon’s net worth to be $1.28 billion.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) and Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) joined Dimon at the event. Dimon told the audience that JPMorgan Chase has raised the starting wage for a teller at the new branches to $33,000 a year before benefits, which includes full medical coverage worth $10,000-$12,000.

“It’s a good starting job. We should respect starting jobs. Somehow this nation started to disrespect starting jobs,” Dimon said. “Jobs are dignity. Jobs are household formation. Jobs are better for solving a lot of social ills.”

PJM asked Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who delivered a speech at the event, if he thinks Democrats should repeal the GOP’s tax reform law if they take back the majority in the midterm elections. Warner replied that the GOP-led Congress could have lowered corporate rates in exchange for companies agreeing to invest the tax savings into “ongoing training” for low- and moderate-income individuals.

“What I was so offended by was this was a pure giveaway with no collaboration,” Warner said. “There’s going to be a short-term sugar high but I think the long-term ramifications of this are very grave. While this firm did give some back, if you look at the ratio of share buyback and dividends versus investments in human beings that work for those firms, it’s about 85 percent on share buyback and dividends not in human capital investment.”

Warner was also asked if he agreed with GOP senators who are calling for Congress to make the new individual tax rates permanent.

“Even CBO says it’s $1.9 trillion to the debt and they’ve created a new fiscal cliff that’s roughly another $500 billion. You make those rates permanent, unless they are paid for, if you want to take it out of somewhere else, we’re $20 trillion in debt – that number is going to go up,” he said. “When debt payments end up being the largest driver of our national spending, the country is in trouble – and that’s where we’re headed unless we can be more fiscally responsible.”

Following Dimon’s speech at the event, PJM asked him if he agreed with Trump’s approach to trade policy.

“We all want fair and free trade and they have to negotiate a rational deal with everyone,” he replied. “We want NAFTA done and then obviously I would like to see TPP and a trade deal with China.”

When asked if he wants to see the U.S. rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Dimon replied, “I would, yeah.”