The owner of car dealerships in Hunterdon County is handing out $500 bonuses to his full-time employees and crediting the business tax cuts recently signed into law.

Steve Kalafer, owner and founder of the Flemington Car & Truck Country dealerships as well as the Somerset Patriots baseball team, will hand out $500 bonuses to more than 700 employees who have been with the company for at least a year. It's a move that will cost him over $350,000.

The money represents the tax savings that the business will get from the tax bill passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in December. The measure was opposed by every member of the New Jersey congressional delegation except for 3rd District U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur. Critics of the tax overhaul opposed a new cap on property and state tax write-offs, which are set to cost residents of high-tax states like New Jersey.

Kalafer said he will also invest money in new equipment and upgrades to his eight locations.

"It's about what can happen when you put money in the hands of the people and not in government's pocket," Kalafer said.

“Reinvesting tax savings in our employees and our businesses will make our communities and America stronger," he added. "We call on all of the auto manufacturers we work with to help drive economic growth by giving back to the communities where they employ and invest with appropriate employee bonuses and by creating new jobs with their new capacity for additional capital expenditures."

Kalafer said the news was met with applause from his employees. He said one man who hugged him at the news told him it would "make a difference" to him.

Kalafer pulled his advertising from professional football games on cable TV because he believed that NFL owners did not stop players from kneeling during the national anthem.

Other companies have already said they will give bonuses to their employees because of the new law. AT&T, which has large operations in New Jersey, said it would give $1,000 bonuses to 200,000 unionized employees.

Boeing, which has more than 100 employees in New Jersey, said it would spend $300 million on employee training and donations to community groups.

Comcast said it would pay $1,000 bonuses to 100,000 frontline workers.

Bank of America also said it would award $1,000 bonuses to employees who earn less than $150,000 a year.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ