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Flushing Financial delivers bonuses after tax overhaul

John R. Buran, president and chief executive at

John R. Buran, president and chief executive at Flushing Financial, in the company's boardroom in Lake Success on March 8, 2012. Credit: Jeremy Bales

Flushing Financial Corp. has paid each non-executive full-time and part-time employee a one-time bonus, of $1,000 and $500 respectively, as a result of the benefits derived from the recent federal tax overhaul.

“We are getting a nice, little gift from the federal government,” John R. Buran, president and chief executive at Flushing, said in an interview Tuesday afternoon. “We are a service business, and we say that employees are our most important asset. We really mean it.”

Buran said the bonuses cost the Uniondale-based company about $620,000.

“It’s money well spent, and we hope the money goes back into the economy,” Buran said.

He added that 448 non-executive employees received the benefit; 425 are full-time. Flushing has 489 employees.

Flushing isn’t the only Long Island company to grant a bonus after the tax bill was passed. Bohemia-based Dayton T. Brown Inc., an engineering and testing company, said in December it was giving each of its roughly 210 employees a $400 bonus.

AT&T, Boeing Co., Comcast and Sinclair Broadcast Group are among the large companies that have said they will pay employees bonuses because of the savings they expect from the tax overhaul.

Also, JPMorgan Chase said Tuesday it is boosting wages, opening new branches and hiring thousands of new workers, citing improved economic performance and the changes to the U.S. tax code.

The bonuses at Flushing, Dayton T. Brown and other companies will be well received by employees, although they are one-time payments, said Alex Raskolnikov, a tax law professor in Columbia University’s law school.

“It’s good for the people who get the bonuses,” Raskolnikov said. “But there is no telling if these bonuses will happen again, while the benefits to the tax reforms will go on for the foreseeable future.”

The bonuses are a strong retention tool, added Herman A. Berliner, an economist and dean of Hofstra University’s Frank G. Zarb School of Business.

“It’s very close to full employment [on Long Island],” Berliner said, adding that the bonuses will go “a long way toward holding on to employees.”

Flushing Financial has about $6.2 billion in assets.

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