Iowa Governor Talks ESOPs

Last week, Iowa Governor, Terry Branstad, gave his annual State of the State speech. We won’t get into the specifics of the speech but if you’re interested, you can read the full speech here. It’s also posted here on the Iowa state website.

What we were surprised and happy to hear was this:

“We must work to keep Iowa companies in Iowa, even when an ownership change takes place.

This is not just a tool for Iowa businesses; it is a tool for Iowa communities–Iowa communities where these companies represent so much more than jobs; where these companies represent our families, friends and way of life.

Many of these companies have operated in Iowa for years, operated by owners committed to the local way of life.  And when these owners wish to retire, they must have options for keeping their company local.

I am proposing legislation that will encourage the formation of Employee Stock Option Plans to encourage the sale of these local businesses to the very employees who have made that company a profitable success.

Our plan will encourage more Iowans to own a stake in their company, to reap a greater share of the fruits of their own labor, and to help protect the quality of life in their local community.

Employee ownership is great for the Iowa communities in which these businesses, jobs, and careers exist.”

Yes, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is encouraging ESOP creation in the state.

Obviously, we here at The ESOP Association are pleased to see a proposal to encourage the creation of new ESOPs in Iowa, and to assist our existing companies, take root in Iowa. With 28 corporate members in the state, one of which we honored last year as the ESOP Company of the Year, Van Meter, Inc., we know what an ESOP brings to a company, to the company’s employees, and to the community where the company is located. We can only surmise that Governor Branstad understands that ESOP companies are more productive, more profitable, and more sustainable, providing locally-controlled jobs.

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