The ESOP Association Blog

Covering ESOPs and employee ownership

House Tax Committee Begins Tax Reform Process

Watch the update below for an update on what’s in the works for tax reform.

Filed under: Government Affairs, Member Services, ,

A look ahead this month

It’s hard to believe it is September already. We thought we’d get out the crystal ball and see what the future holds for ESOP Association members this month.

The 2013 Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show app will be released in the coming weeks. Keep an eye on this space for links. Also, speaking of Vegas, the early bird registration ends on September 20th. If you’re joining us, or planning to, here’s where you’ll find information including: online registration (conference and hotel), trade show booth signup form, and a preliminary agenda which includes info on the new educational track for in-house ESOP trustees.

October is Employee Ownership Month! We’ll be starting off the celebration early on the blog with some re-caps of 2012 celebrations. If your company is planning an event this year, let us know and we’ll highlight your event here. Drop us an email at media AT with details. Don’t forget the photos!

The Economic Performance Survey results are being tabulated. We’ll have the results from the 22nd Annual Survey soon and report back on the economic performance of employee owned companies in 2012.

Tax reform — we’re doing our best to keep members up-to-date on a monthly basis. We’ll have another report very soon. Stay tuned. If you’d like to catch-up, our YouTube page has the most recent updates.

Have questions? Something you’re curious about? Let us know.

Filed under: Conference Information, Economic Performance, Employee Ownership Message, Employee Ownership Month (EOM), Government Affairs, TEA Members, , , , ,

August 2013 Round Up of Links

It’s the last day of the month before a holiday which means it’s time for a link up of this month’s stories. See below for your refresher.

Joining us in Vegas? Here’s what you need to know about the Conference.

The 2013 Press & Event Planning Kit for Employee Ownership Month has been released. Download your copy today.

The August 2013 ESOP Report is available on the Association’s website.

The Outside Board Registry is a great resource for members.

We tell you how to keep up with tax reform updates.

Publications highlight: ESOP Fiduciary Handbook.

A new special education track for in-house ESOP trustees will be offered to attendees of the Las Vegas Conference & Trade Show.

Watch the tax reform update for August.

Senators send letter to new DOL Secretary regarding proposed rule on the definition of a fiduciary.

Filed under: Conference Information, DOL Proposed Fiduciary Regulation, Employee Ownership Month (EOM), Government Affairs, Publication, , , , , , , ,

Coalition to Protect Retirement Sends Letter to Senate Regarding Tax Reform; Retirement Savings Network Also Sends Letter

The ESOP Association, as a member of the Coalition to Protect Retirement and the Retirement Savings Network, recently signed onto two respective letters, along with other employer sponsored benefit organizations, that ask members of the Senate to preserve the tax incentives which encourage American workers to save for retirement while considering tax reform. The letters were sent to all members of the U.S. Senate.

“It’s important for the ESOP community to continue to work to maintain positive relationships and cooperate with other trade groups interested in preserving sound and productive retirement savings plans as encouraged by tax law,” said ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling.

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

ESOP Association President to Participate in Senate Small Business Committee Tax Roundtable

JMK Small Business Comm RoundtableToday, ESOP Association President J. Michael Keeling, will participate in the Senate Small Business Committee Tax Roundtable which will review key provisions of current tax law that impact small businesses. In particular, Mr. Keeling will be responding to the Committee’s specific inquiry as to what current tax laws that encourage the creation and operation of employee ownership through the ESOP model should be retained.

Mr. Keeling will emphasize that the modest incentives for ESOP creation and operation have resulted in employee owned companies that, as research has consistently shown, are more productive, more profitable, and provide locally-controlled, sustainable jobs in the United States. In particular, he will bring to the Committee members’ attention the General Social Survey of 2010 which evidenced that employee stock owned companies laid off employees during the Great Recession at a rate of 2.6% whereas conventionally-owned companies laid off employees are a rate of 12.1%. He will note that the evidence shows that encouraging employee ownership is a successful jobs policy, and Congress should enhance these modest policies to boost employee ownership, which can also address the growing income gap between the working men and woman and the super-rich.

He will conclude his formal remarks with the comment that the growing income inequality is creating an us versus them atmosphere in the United States, which is not good for a democratic society with a republican form of government.

To read Mr. Keeling full statement, please visit The ESOP Association’s website. You can also read it here: Statement to Senate Small Business Committee Tax Roundtable.

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

Message to Help Save ESOP Tax Law

The Senate has officially begun a process to identify what to include or eliminate in tax reform. Following is information that can be used as a sample letter, email, and/or the basis for a phone call. If you are sending an email, please be sure that someone in the Senate office is expecting the email.

If you would like additional information about the tax reform process, please visit The ESOP Association’s Blog here.

If you would like to download the following, please use the following link to download the Word file – Save ESOP Tax Law Letter.


Suggested Letter/Email/Phone Message to Help Save ESOP Tax Law

Dear Senator ________:

[Name of Company] is owned (by X%) by its employees through an employee stock ownership plan, or an ESOP.

We have learned that Senators Baucus and Hatch have requested that you communicate to them what special tax law provisions you would include in our nation’s tax laws if you were drafting a new tax code for the Federal government if starting from scratch.

[Name of company] and its x employees have benefited from its ESOPs.  [Here you may wish to set forth brief statement[s] how your ESOP has benefited your company and your employees.].

And we are not alone, as there are pages and pages, charts after charts, that prove ESOP companies are good for the U.S. economy, are fair by making middle class employees capitalists, and provide excellent retirement benefits.  Among these 35 plus years of research and surveys of ESOP companies and their employees, the General Social Survey of 2010 evidenced that during the Great Recession employee stock owned companies laid off employees at a rate of 2.6% whereas conventionally owned companies laid off employees at a rate of 12.1%. In sum, promoting ESOP creation and operation is the best jobs policy in the U.S. as the evidence is that the vast majority of ESOP companies are more productive, more profitable, providing locally controlled jobs that through ownership provide better retirement savings benefits than non-ESOP companies.

We at [name of company] thus respectfully request that you communicate to Senators Baucus and Hatch that you believe our national tax policy should continue to encourage employees stock ownership through ESOPs.

Your consideration is appreciated.

Sign by [Senior Executive], or [Employees]

Email:  Only if you have a contact in your Senator’s office, in other words, someone you have talked to before in a personal visit, or via telephone, or have emailed before and there was a response, the same message can be used in an email to the person with whom you had previous contact.

Telephone call:  There are two kinds of telephone calls, and in each you will be talking to, or leaving a message for a staff person.

Type Call 1:  This call is your initial communication to the Senator’s office.  As the person answering the phone, ask if you may speak to the person who is responsible for issues arising from the Federal income tax laws.

If you speak to that person, repeat the message in the suggested letter.

In all probability, you will be placed in that person’s voice mail.  Leave a message similar to the suggested letter, and your name and request a return phone call.

If after a week or so there is no return call, call again, and politely repeat the message, and politely ask if the Senator has decided what to convey to Senator Baucus and Hatch.

Type Call 2:  This call is made two weeks or so after sending in your letter or email.  In this call, you politely ask, if you have received no response to your letter or Email, if it was received.  If not, ask if you can Email a copy, or Email again, or fax it.  If yes, ask if the Senator has decided to convey any position to Senators Baucus and Hatch with regard to ESOP laws.

[If asked about the research evidence you refer to in your letter, email, or phone call, refer the Senate staff person to]


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

Tax Reform – Senate Opens Process to Decide What Tax Benefits to Keep

Back in May, ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling, provided members with an update on tax reform. A month later and new concerns have emerged. The Senate has officially begun a process to identify what to include or eliminate in tax reform. Below is a second update with details on what members should be doing to protect their ESOP as the tax reform process moves forward. As noted in the commentary, The ESOP Association will be posting information to the website (check here for updates and latest information) and will post links and information on the blog and all our social media as well.

Information on suggested communications to your Senators will be shared with Association members next week.

If you have questions, please send an email to

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

The Association Submits Comments on Tax Reform

On March 21, 2013, The ESOP Association submitted comments to the House Ways and Means Committee on Tax Reform. The comments are available on The ESOP Association’s website.
In summary:

The House Ways and Means Committee has a long history of supporting laws that encourage the creation and operation of ESOPs because in the vast majority of instances, ESOP companies are more productive, more profitable, with sustainable jobs for their employees, that are locally controlled, while providing retirement benefits that are greater than most U.S. conventionally- owned companies.

ESOPs are at the same time, putting an average of $8 in revenues into the Federal Treasury for every $1 that is “foregone” by the Federal government because of the laws promoting employee stock ownership through the ESOP model.

As the process of Tax Reform progresses, the Association will update members on the blog and website. Check this page for the most recent government affairs information.

Filed under: Government Affairs, Retirement Issues, , , ,

Tax Reform Process is Underway

Take notice, the tax reform process is underway! ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling, discusses tax reform in the 113th Congress and what it will mean for ESOP Association members and the ESOP community.

Filed under: Government Affairs, , , ,

Tax Reform and ESOPs

In November 2012, ESOP Association President, J. Michael Keeling, spoke to attendees at the Association’s Las Vegas Conference and Trade Show in Las Vegas, NV about the elections’ impact on ESOPs. As part of the presentation, he also touched on the subject of tax reform.

Today, we’d like to share with you some of his thoughts and several videos of prominent members of Congress talking about ESOPs and the need to enhance employee ownership in America.

Filed under: Conference Information, Economic Performance, Employee Ownership Message, Government Affairs, Member Services, , ,

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