The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

June 2015 Roundup

It’s the last day of June so a monthly wrap-up it is!

Upcoming 2015 July events

Support for ESOPs

The June 2015 Washington Report from the ESOP Report

Welcome to new corporate members

We shared a pic of the 2015 Employee Ownership Month Poster Contest winner

Show your ownership spirit

The June 2015 ESOP Report was published

Registration is now open for the 2015 Employee Owner Retreat

Jobs remained stable in the employee stock ownership sector

ESOP advocates list

Spring Advocacy Kits

Dates announced for the 2015 Employee Owner Retreat

We noted how to access Issue Briefs and the Membership Directory on the website

Carris Reels beats the drum for ESOPs

Filed under: Chapter News, Conference Information, Economic Performance, Employee Ownership Foundation, Employee Ownership Month (EOM), ESOP Report, Government Affairs, Issue Brief, Member Services, Publication, TEA Members,

Support for ESOPs and Employee Ownership in America

ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling, introduces and discusses two very different video from former President, Ronald Reagan, and Senator, and current Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders.

Links to the two videos follow:

Ronald Reagan’s Speech on Project Economic Justice

Senator Bernie Sanders ESOP PAC Breakfast Speech

Filed under: Government Affairs, ,

Ignore “Fur Git It” Messages

Please note, the following article originally ran as the Washington Report column in the June 2015 issue of the ESOP Report, the newsletter of The ESOP Association.

Tax Reform: With the leader of the Senate, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), making it clear that the Senate will not consider a tax reform bill until 2017, when there is a new President, the media, in its usual superficial manner, says the message to America is to forget about tax reform legislation.

Well, depends on one’s perspective, and from the perspective of the media, which is selling a product, the drive is to report on what’s happening now, or what may happen tomorrow, as opposed to focusing on the building blocks of events that might be months, or even years, down the road.

But if one is interested in an outcome that will be determined to a great extent by the building blocks, even the foundational building blocks, what the Senate Finance Committee is doing, and what the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), is planning to do, is important to ESOP advocates.

To explain with two references: ESOP advocates, and 99% of the readers of this column fall into this category, are very interested in the laws that encourage the creation and operation of ESOPs. Many may not be aware that the last tax reform bill, referred to as the Tax Reform Act of 1986, was not created in 1986 — in other words, it was not a “one-year” legislative activity. In fact, the first comprehensive proposal from the Administration surfaced in 1982. And in fact, the first written proposals in Congress, primarily led by members of Congress, Congressmen Jack Kemp (R-NY) and Richard Gephardt (D-MO), and Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ), surfaced in the late 70s and early 80s. (People forget that upon taking office, President Carter put to the Congress a tax reform bill that led to a big tax bill, but it was not a true comprehensive tax reform bill).

Second reference point to illustrate that ESOP advocates are not to forget tax reform until 2017. In the first quarter of 2014, the then Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, after months and months of review by subgroups of the Ways and Means Committee, published a real comprehensive tax reform proposal. In prior years, when a leader, be it the President, or a chair of one of the Congressional tax committees, released his “first” version of tax reform legislation, that proposal becomes the foundation, the first building block as it were, for the final structure. Yes, the final building does not look like the foundation, but it has a foundation that determines many, many aspects of the building’s look. The Camp Tax Reform proposal will still have many of its details in any bill adopted in 2017, or ever later.

What to Do? The ESOP Association’s Washington office continues to monitor, keep an eye on the sub-groups of the Senate Finance Committee that are reviewing tax laws that relate to ESOP creation and operation. The goal is to ensure the positive record of ESOP companies — particularly in having a record of sustainable jobs controlled in the United States — is known by key Senators and their staffs; but most important is to be ready to let the true power behind ESOP laws, ESOP companies and their employee owners, stand out when intense messaging is needed. But, the easiest, and in conjunction with keeping ESOPs front and center in the minds of women and men in Congress is to push for Representatives and Senators to co-sponsor H.R. 2096 and S. 1212 respectively. (For details, Advocacy Kit, or watch Spring Advocacy Kit Intro and Why You Should Invite Your Member of Congress to Visit Your Company.)

In other words, do not take a vacation from making sure those who will eventually decide on tax reform laws know why ESOP laws should be continued and expanded, by using pro-ESOP bills as the tool to make the case for ESOPs, and to have elected officials declare openly a pro-ESOP position.

Filed under: ESOP Report, Government Affairs,

ESOP Advocates

On Monday, we shared information and links for the newly updated Advocacy Kit and Congressional Visit Kit. Today, we want to share a list of Congressional ESOP Advocates. This list is available on The ESOP Association’s website and is updated frequently.

The following members of Congress were ESOP champions in recent Congresses as sponsors and co-sponsors of pro-employee ownership legislation, and will serve in the current 114th Congress.

House of Representatives

Congressman Mark E. Amodei (R-NV)
Congressman Brad Ashford (D-NE)
Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY)
Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Congressman Timothy H. Bishop (D-NY)
Congresswoman Diane Black (R-TN)
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
Congressman John Boehner (R-OH)
Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR)
Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU)
Congressman Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-LA)
Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX)
Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
Congressman Larry Bucshon (R-IN)
Congressman Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Congressman John C. Carney (D-DE)
Congressman Andre Carson (D-IN)
Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen (D-VI)
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC)
Congressman Michael K. Conaway (R-TX)
Congressman Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA)
Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI)
Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT)
Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
Congressman Eric A. “Rick” Crawford (R-AR)
Congressman John Culberson (R-TX)
Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL)
Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL)
Congressman Robert J. Dold (R-IL)
Congressman John Duncan, Jr. (R-TN)
Congressman Michael G. Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA)
Congressman Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)
Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Congressman Sam Graves (R-MO)
Congressman Gene Green (D-TX)
Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
Congressman Brett Guthrie (R-KY)
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
Congressman Joseph Heck (R-NV)
Congressman Michael Honda (D-CA)
Congressman Randy Hultgren (R-IL)
Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX)
Congressman Walter Jones, Jr. (R-NC)
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI)
Congressman Steve King (R-IA)
Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
Congresswoman Ann M. Kuster (D-NH)
Congressman John Larson (D-CT)
Congressman Robert E. Latta (R-OH)
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Congressman Sander Levin (D-MI)
Congressman John Lewis (D-GA)
Congressman David Loebsack (D-IA)
Congressman Billy Long (R-MO)
Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK)
Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Congressman Kenny Marchant (R-TX)
Congressman Tom Marino (R-PA)
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN)
Congressman James McGovern (D-MA)
Congressman David McKinley (R-WV)
Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL)
Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI)
Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-FL)
Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA)
Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA)
Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R-SD)
Congressman Alan Nunnelee (R-MS)
Congressman Pete Olson (R-TX)
Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ)
Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN)
Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN)
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
Congressman Joseph Pitts (R-PA)
Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX)
Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO)
Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL)
Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL)
Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY)
Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY)
Congressman David Reichert (R-WA)
Congressman James B. Renacci (R-OH)
Congressman Reid Ribble (R-WI)
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
Congressman Todd Rokita (R-IN)
Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL)
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
Congressman Edward Royce (R-CA)
Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD)
Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Congresswoman Janice Schakowsky (D-IL)
Congressman Bradley Schneider (D-IL)
Congressman Austin Scott (R-GA)
Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
Congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY)
Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX)
Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA)
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE)
Congressman Jason T. Smith (R-MO)
Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH)
Congressman Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA)
Congressman William Thornberry (R-TX)
Congressman Patrick Tiberi (R-OH)
Congressman Michael Turner (R-OH)
Congressman Juan Vargas (D-CA)
Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI)
Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR)
Congressman Timothy Walz (D -MN)
Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT)
Congressman Steve Womack (R-AR)
Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-KS)
Congressman Todd Young (R-IN)


Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)
Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Senator William Cassidy (R-LA)
Senator Susan M. Collins (R-ME)
Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Senator Michael Crapo (R-ID)
Senator Michael B. Enzi (R-WY)
Senator Al Franken (D-MN)
Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
Senator John Hoeven (R-ND)
Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Senator Angus S. King, Jr. (I-ME)
Senator Mark Steven Kirk (R-IL)
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
Senator Gary C. Peters (D-MI)
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)
Senator James E. Risch (R-ID)
Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT)
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Senator Jon Tester (D-MT)
Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Senator John Thune (R-SD)
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Filed under: Government Affairs, ,

Spring 2015 Advocacy Kits Available

With the introduction of new pro-ESOP legislation — H.R. 2096 and S. 1212 — we’ve updated the Advocacy Kits with new information and tactics for talking to your members of Congress about ESOPs and employee ownership.

If you would like to download a copy of the new Spring Advocacy Kit and the Congressional Visit Kit, click here.

Also, ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling, walks Association members through the 2015 Spring Advocacy Kit in this new video.

Filed under: Government Affairs, ,

May 2015 Link Round Up

It’s June 1 it is which means this is your May news re-cap.

Leading in an Ownership Setting: The Program for CEOs

New Spring Advocacy Kit is available

We talked pro-ESOP legislation

We provided a legislative update on H.R. 2096 and S. 1212

May 2015 ESOP Report was published

We shared some talk about ESOPs

We talked ESOP company news

Dates were announced for the 2015 Employee Owner Retreat

S. 1212 was introduced in the Senate

Congrats to the 2015 ESOP Award & AACE Award winners

The 2015 Annual Conference App was announced

We connected at the Annual Conference with members

We announced new Chairs!

Filed under: AACE - Annual Awards for Communications Excellence, Conference Information, Employee Ownership Foundation, Employee Ownership Message, ESOP Report, Government Affairs, Member Services, Publication, Silver ESOP Awards, TEA Members,

2015 Spring Advocacy Kit Available

With the introduction of new pro-ESOP legislation — H.R. 2096 and S. 1212 — we’ve updated the Advocacy Kit with new information and tactics for talking to your members of Congress about ESOPs and employee ownership.

If you would like to download a copy of the new 2015 Spring Advocacy Kit, use this link: Spring 2015 Advocacy Kit.

It is also available on the Association’s website here if you would like to share a link with others in your company.

Additionally, if you would like to know if your member of Congress has publicly stated support for ESOPs, you can check the ESOP Advocates list on the Association’s website. This list is updated regularly.

Filed under: Government Affairs,

Pro-ESOP Legislation

With the introduction of H.R. 2096 and S. 1212, we’ve shared a lot legislative information in the past few weeks. Following up on those efforts, we thought we would share the Washington Report column from the May 2015 ESOP Report, the newsletter of The ESOP Association, that provides additional information. More information about the ESOP Report is here.

As in past Congresses since 1990, key ESOP champions have introduced bills that would encourage the creation and operation of private company ESOPs.

First, on April 29, 2015, Congressman David Reichert (R-WA, 8th District), introduced H.R. 2096, Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act of 2015, joined by seven other members of the House tax committee, so that the eight original sponsor and co-sponsors were four Republicans and four Democrats — a sign of the continued bi-partisan support for employee stock ownership through the ESOP model. His three Republican colleagues were Representatives Charles Boustany (R-LA, 3rd District), Erik Paulsen (R-MN, 3rd District), and Pat Tiberi (R-OH, 12th District). The four Democrats joining their tax committee colleagues were Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR, 3rd District), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ, 9th District), Ron Kind (D-WI, 3rd District), and Richard Neal (D-MA, 1st District). (When the Democrats were the majority in the House, Representative Kind was the so-called “lead” sponsor.)

Similar legislation was introduced eight years ago.

It has four provisions: 1. To permit sellers of S stock to an ESOP to utilize Internal Revenue Code Section 1042, as sellers of C stock to an ESOP can do, if the stock is not publicly traded; 2. Provide that a lender to an ESOP may exclude 50% of its interest income from the loan if the loan is to an S corporation, and the ESOP holds 50% or more of the shares at the close of the transaction; 3. Establishes an office in the Department of Treasury to assist S corporations establish and maintain its ESOP in accordance with the sometimes difficult laws governing allocations of ESOP stock in an S corporation; and 4. Ensure that a small business that qualifies for a Small Business Administration preference — so-called 8A preference does not lose that preference if it becomes 50% or more owned by an ESOP.

Since introduction on April 29th, the following members of Congress have joined these eight: Representatives Brad Ashford (D-NE, 2nd District), Robert Dold (R-IL, 10th District), and Gwen Moore (D-WI, 4th District).

The Senate legislation was introduced on May 6th, S. 1212, and the primary sponsor, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), was joined on May 6 by 12 other Senate colleagues: Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mike Crapo (R-ID), John Thune (R-SD), Al Franken (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Roy Blunt (R-MO), James Risch (R-ID), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). On May 11th, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined the group of bi-partisan Senators. On May 14th, Bernie Sanders (I-VT) joined as a co-sponsor. On May 18th, Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Angus King, Jr. (I-ME) joined as co-sponsors.

Senator Cardin has led the introduction of this pro-ESOP bill for the past eight years.

WHY CARE?: Some ESOP advocate may wonder why they should care, as it seems one, the Congress is doing nothing, and two, these pro-ESOP provisions have never been given a hearing or serious consideration in any prior tax bill in the past eight years.

Two big reasons: Congress will sooner or later, maybe this year, maybe three to four years from now, send a massive tax reform bill to the President, whoever he or she may be. To protect ESOPs, to win in the tax reform effort, the best defense is a good offense. Having these men and women sponsor a pro-ESOP position, many on the tax committees that will write a tax bill repealing or reducing many special tax rules, stand up for ESOPs, and for having more ESOPs, means that they are much more likely to be “for” good ESOP laws when they are challenged in the tax reform review.

Secondly, the major pro-ESOP provision adopted in the last 20 years was first introduced in a bill like H.R. 2096 and S. 1212 eight years before Congress adopted legislation permitting S corporations to have an ESOP. In other words, it took over eight years for the 1990 S ESOP proposal to finally be adopted by the Congress and sent to the President. It is not farfetched as more and more women and men in Congress endorse something like having S corporations eligible for 1042 treatment to make its way into a big tax bill as the support grows.

To Do List: Consider contacting your Senators and Representatives if they are not listed above, and respectfully ask that they get on the bandwagon for ESOPs.

Filed under: Government Affairs, , ,

Legislative Update: H.R. 2096 & S. 1212

ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling, provides a legislative update to members regarding new pro-ESOP bills introduced in the  House of Representatives and the Senate, H.R. 2096 and S. 1212.

More information can be found in the ESOP Bulletin.


Filed under: Employee Ownership Message, Government Affairs, , ,

ESOP Company News Edition

The following news from ESOP Association members ran in the April 2015 ESOP Report and we wanted to share with readers here. If you have ESOP company news to share, please send an email to media AT

Gibson Named Best Places to Work in Indiana for Third Consecutive Year

Gibson-Insurance-Logo-300x116Gibson, an ESOP Association member, was recently named as one of the 2015 Best Places to Work in Indiana.  The statewide survey and awards program is designed to identify, recognize, and honor the best places of employment in Indiana, benefiting the state’s economy, its workforce, and businesses.  The 2015 Best Places to Work in Indiana list of 100 companies is made up of four different size categories.

Companies from across the state entered the two-part process first by evaluating each company’s workplace policies, practices, and demographics.  This part of the process was 25% of the total evaluation.  The other 75% consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience.  The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking.  An independent firm, Best Companies Group, managed the process, analyzed the data, and used their expertise to determine the final rankings.

Gibson will be recognized at the Best Places to Work Awards Dinner in May. Gibson is a 100% employee-owned (38% ESOP), regional insurance broker and risk management services firm with offices in South Bend, Plymouth, Indianapolis, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.


Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and National Association of Manufacturers Honor Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers

On March 10, 2015 the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) awarded Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) the NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence at an event hosted by NAM member Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman, Washington.

“American manufacturing is critical to the strength of our nation’s economy,” said Edmund O. Schweitzer, III, president of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. “We applaud Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers’ efforts in support of a free, flat, and fair environment that enables manufacturers to grow, create jobs, and keep ahead of global competition.”

“Contributing almost 290,000 jobs to Washington state, manufacturers help grow our local economy from the bottom up,” said Congresswoman McMorris Rogers. “As a representative of the most trade-dependent state in the nation, I am proud to support this innovative, expanding industry that strengthens our opportunity economy. Our exports are critical to men and women across the state, and manufacturers understand that better than anyone.”

You can see more on the company’s Facebook page.

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Filed under: Government Affairs, Member Services, TEA Members, ,

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