By Congressman Bob Latta

This month, Ohioans are beginning to see bigger paychecks as a result of the recent tax legislation approved by Congress and signed into law. Recently, I sent a survey asking constituents what the additional money will mean for them. Paula wrote me and said, “Just saw first check with reduced taxes. Such a big help as it will be put towards our daughter’s braces.” A note from Daniel said his family was trying to become debt free and “this extra money will help me get there.” Cindy wrote in to say that her husband is bringing home $100 more per biweekly paycheck and that “for us, that’s not crumbs!”

After the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December – legislation I enthusiastically voted for – we’re starting to see more economic growth, business confidence, and money in the pockets of hardworking families. I’ve been encouraging people to ‘check the check’ this month and see the tax relief in their weekly, biweekly, or monthly paychecks. These savings are helping families put food on the table, make the mortgage payment, and save for retirement or their children’s education.

The benefits of the tax legislation, in conjunction with pro-growth policies passed in President Trump’s first year in office, have led the way to some truly exciting economic numbers. In January, we added 200,000 American jobs and had the largest increase in wages in eight years. The number of unemployment claims is at a 44-year low as Americans continue to find work. Small business confidence is soaring, and the manufacturing sector is poised for its best year in over a decade.

Aside from the extra money in the pockets of individual Americans, these tax cuts are also allowing businesses to reinvest in their workers. More than 350 companies nationwide have announced bonuses, wage hikes, and the expansion of benefits for three million employees and counting.

We’ve seen the difference here in Ohio. Defiance-based SB Financial Group is providing bonuses for their employees, increasing pay, and is instituting a “community volunteerism” directive to enable employees to serve their local communities through philanthropic activities. Ohio companies like Nationwide Insurance and Fifth Third Bancorp both announced bonuses and raises for thousands of employees as well.

Our economy is starting to run on all cylinders. For example, during the Obama Administration, the U.S. never achieved annual growth of 3 percent, a number that was reached often under both the Bush and Clinton Administrations. A number of left leaning economists even began saying with confidence that low growth was the “new normal.” They believed that due to a number of factors, it just wasn’t realistic to achieve high economic growth anymore.

Anyone with a working understanding of history knew this was ridiculous. All you have to do is let individuals and businesses keep more of their own money and cut the red tape coming from Washington bureaucrats, and high growth is not only possible – it’s likely.

So far, that theory has borne fruit. Third-quarter growth in 2017 was 3.3 percent and a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta predicts growth in the first quarter of 2018 to be more than 4 percent.

For most people, all of these economic indicators like the unemployment rate, wage growth, economic growth, business confidence are just numbers on a spreadsheet. The real question is, what does all of this news mean for my family and me?

It means that a family sitting around the kitchen table working up their budget will have more money to pay the bills. It means it’s easier for newlyweds to save up for that down payment for their new house. It means Ohioans can contribute more to 401Ks to help toward retirement. It means extra funds to help save for a child’s college education.

For many, their February paycheck is the first opportunity to see what the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act did for them. Keep in mind, that pay stub is just the beginning of an economic awakening under this Republican Congress and President. It’s time for the new American economy to roar.