ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling, provides a legislative update to members regarding a new pro-ESOP bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, bill number H.R. 4837.
June 9, 2014 • 10:47 am 0
The following article originally ran as the May 2014 President’s Page column in the ESOP Report. The ESOP Report is the newsletter of The ESOP Association. The full issue can be found on the Association’s website under Meet & Learn.
Obviously feeling good is not a bad thing. And with regard to The ESOP Association’s 37th Annual Conference attendees, especially those who visited members of Congress, overall reported “feeling good.” The “feeling good” feeling arises from the fact that the tax reform proposal put forward by the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee Chair, Dave Camp (R-MI), did not denigrate specific ESOP tax benefits designed to encourage the creation and operation of ESOPs. The handouts provided to those traveling to the Hill had a big “we are appreciative” message for members of the House Ways and Means Committee, where tax law originates under the U.S. Constitution.
Probably the most positive report came from a group of attendees from Congressman Richard Neal’s district, the 1st district of Massachusetts. In a brief upbeat meeting, it was reported that Congressman Neal (D-MA) noted that visits from ESOP advocates were always pleasant, and enjoyable, as it was a mix of women and men that represented all pay grades at the companies. My personal comment to add is that while people working in ESOP companies have all the same characteristics of humans, in general, women and men of an ESOP company tend to be enthusiastic, and passionate, about being “owners” of stock of a free enterprise operation — a for-profit, American company. And candidly, nearly all politicians, and members of Congress are successful politicians, whether left or right, have the ability to read the mood of those they visit with. In other words, they can sense negativism, gloom and doom words, body language, and general not so happy feelings, just as they can positive and upbeat attitudes.
(To add a personal, longtime experience, it takes all my fingers and toes, and there are still not enough, to count the number of members of Congress who have said to me, “ESOP companies are special.”)
Can the happy story end here? No, because becoming “fat and happy” is the worst thing that could happen to our ESOP community. Setting aside the fretting, that is real, over the Department of Labor’s tough attitude towards ESOPs, and the fact that the Supreme Court may soon drop a real bomb on ESOPs, the bottom line is, as former Senator John Breaux said once on the Senate floor, “There are no final victories in the legislative process.” For example, backers of the seemingly sacrosanct tax laws permitting a tax deduction for interest on home mortgages, donations to charities and churches, for paying state and local taxes, among other sacred cows in the Federal tax code, were more than shocked to read Chair Camp’s tax reform proposal.
Bottom line, ESOP tax benefits are not carved in stone; they are not sacred. Today’s feeling good can turn out to be the enemy of the work that needs to continue — the exposure of what being employee owners means to the men and women who work in ESOP companies.
As noted in the March ESOP Report President’s Page column, don’t stop now.
June 4, 2014 • 10:02 am 0
On April 2, 2014 Missouri State Representative, Noel Torpey (R), introduced Missouri House Bill No. 2268, which authorizes a tax credit for companies with an ESOP. From the proposed bill: “This bill authorizes employers a tax credit of 10% of the amount contributed to an employee stock ownership program. The credit is not refundable and cannot be sold or transferred. The credit can be carried forward up to three years. The credit is capped at $10 million annually and $500,000 per employer.”
In recent years, a similar bill became law in Iowa and such a bill is pending the New Jersey legislature.
“As I’ve said before, it’s very encouraging to see states considering bills to facilitate ESOP creation,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling. “Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, and now Missouri, are leading the way on the state level and clearly more state officers are seeing the benefits that employee-owned companies bring to the local economy.”
June 2, 2014 • 10:09 am 0
It’s June and that means it’s time for a May link round up.
Moody’s Collision Centers, Inc. hosted an event with Senator Susan Collins in Gorham, ME
We shared a photo of the 2014 Employee Ownership Month Poster Contest Winner
The May 2014 ESOP Report was released
We highlighted the ABCs of ESOPs
The Employee Owner Retreat is open for registration
Big G Express hosted at event with Congresswoman Diane Black in Shelbyville, TN
We shared some photos from the 2014 Annual Conference in Washington, DC
The Leading in an Ownership Setting Program is open for registration
We featured items from the Employee Ownership Foundation Auction that took place at the Annual Conference
We announced the 2014 ESOP Award Winners
We shared video highlights from the Awards Ceremony
We shared a link to the Annual Conference Lobbying Kit
We extended an invitation to Conference attendees to visit the AACE Awards display
The Annual Conference App was announced
May 27, 2014 • 9:55 am 1
The Winner of the 2014 Employee Ownership Month Poster Contest…Entertainment Partners!
Entertainment Partners, located in Burbank, California, has been selected as the 2014 Employee Ownership Month Poster Contest Winner. The winning poster design was unveiled at the Association’s 37th Annual Conference in Washington, DC.
Entertainment Partners’s poster was chosen because of the idea it expressed: We Own Our Future. This is the second time Entertainment Partners has won this award; the first win was in 2010.
Congratulations to the employee owners of Entertainment Partners. More information on Employee Ownership Month.
May 20, 2014 • 3:07 pm 1
The ABCs of ESOPs is available exclusively to members of The ESOP Association as an interactive learning tool for ESOP participants. It includes lessons, quizzes, a glossary of ESOP terms, frequently asked questions, and games.
To access the ABCs of ESOPs, visit the Association’s website and click the Member Sign In button at the top of the page. Once logged in, click Meet & Learn, then Online Learning.
Log in information for members:
Corporate, affiliate, and educational members – enter membership ID, email address, and the password will be your membership ID.
Professional members – enter membership ID, email address and the password is your last name.
If you have questions about the ABCs of ESOPs, please send an email to membership AT esopassociation.org.
May 19, 2014 • 2:11 pm 1
The Employee Owner Retreat is a course in capitalism for average pay employees that enhances each participant’s understanding of, and contribution to, her or his ESOP company.
2014 Employee Owner Retreat
August 14 – 16, 2014
2111 Butterfield Rd
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Questions? Contact: Maya Van Buren 202-293-2971, meetings AT esopassociation.org or Chris Cooper at the Ohio Employee Ownership Center 330-672-0338, ccooper1 AT kent.edu.
More information about the Employee Owner Retreat.