ESOP Champion, Senator Mary Landrieu, Makes Senate Floor Statement on Value of ESOPs

On July 31, 2014, Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu (D) took to the Senate floor to make a statement on ESOPs. Below is an excerpt of her statement; you can read the statement in its entirety here.

An excerpt of Senator Landrieu’s statement follows:

“Ms. LANDRIEU. Madam President, I wish to reiterate my longstanding support for employee stock ownership plans or ESOPs. During my time in the Senate, I have been dedicated to building on the lasting contributions of my Louisiana predecessors, including Senator Russell B. Long, who, as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, championed tax provisions to encourage corporations to adopt ESOPs. Senator Long advocated for employee stock ownership as an “issue that cuts across party lines in an attempt to bring out the best in our free enterprise system.’’ He believed that “it is only fair and right that those who work to make this economy succeed should have an opportunity to share in that success . . . [i]t is a matter of simple common sense and basic equity.’’ I couldn’t agree more.

“Last year, as chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, I convened a roundtable to provide small business owners, policy experts and other stakeholders an opportunity to express their views and to solicit their ideas on making tax reform work for small businesses. Participants argued in favor of a Tax Code that rewards employer and employee ownership as a means of providing continuity of business ownership and opportunities for employees of businesses to build wealth. Specifically, participants favored retaining the current Tax Code’s ESOP provisions, noting that during the most recent economic downturn, ESOPs, which are predominately small businesses, were able to retain more employees as they weathered the crisis than conventionally owned companies.

“Earlier this year, the New York Times published an article describing the research of three labor economists who have focused their work on promoting ESOPs as a “new perspective on how to resolve the disparities in wealth and income.’’ I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record the New York Times article, dated February 11, 2014, and titled, “Whatever Happened to ‘Every Man a King’?’’. These experts, Dr. Joseph Blasi and Dr. Richard Kruse of Rutgers University, and Dr. Douglas Freeman of Harvard University, argue in their book, “The Citizen’s Share’’, that policies promoting employee ownership date back to the era of the Founding Fathers and have garnered support from politicians and stakeholders across the political spectrum–from Ronald Reagan to Senator Bernie Sanders.

“Quite simply, policies that promote ESOPs are policies that merit this Chamber’s bipartisan support and I will continue the work of my Louisiana predecessors to ensure retirement security for working Americans.”

The New York Times article by Thomas B. Edsall can be found here.