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Contact: Brian Robertson 202.466.4721

 

Bipartisan Legislation Would Help More Working Americans

Save for Retirement through Employee Ownership

Recent Study Confirms Private ESOPs Boost Worker Retirement Security

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 30, 2015) –House Ways and Means Committee members Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Ron Kind (D-WI) introduced legislation yesterday to enable more employees to be owners of private companies and help boost retirement savings for more workers.  The Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act of 2015 (H.R. 2096) eliminates barriers that privately held businesses and their owners currently face in establishing a new ESOP or expanding the employee-ownership stake in an existing S corporation. Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) of the Senate Finance Committee are expected to introduce similar legislation in the coming weeks.

“Today, when many hard-working Americans are worried about their retirement savings, there is a pressing need to expand access to the S ESOP structure that lets employees share in the capital as owners of their companies and provides workers meaningful retirement savings.” said Rep. Reichert, who chairs the Ways and Means tax subcommittee. “That’s exactly what our bill does.”

“By making it easier for companies to become employee-owned, this legislation will not only grow the number of employee-owned businesses, it will provide retirement security to more Americans,” said Rep. Kind.  “Employee-owned companies perform better—not just for themselves but for every one of their employees as well. I look forward to working with my colleagues to move this bill forward and strengthen opportunities for employee-ownership, enabling more Americans to save smarter for retirement.”

The introduction of the bill comes on the heels of a study showing just how well S corporation ESOPs have performed for their employee-owners. New data compiled by EY’s Quantitative Economics and Statistics (QUEST) practice shows that S corporation ESOPs outperformed the S&P 500 Total Returns Index by an impressively large margin (62%), net assets increased over 300%, and distributions to participants totaled nearly $30 billion from 2002 to 2012. “S corporation ESOPs are providing an increasingly important role in supporting the retirement security of their participants,” said Robert Carroll, National Director of QUEST and one of the study’s authors. Carroll discussed the findings of the EY study today at a policy roundtable held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, entitled “Growing the Middle Class: Employee Ownership, Retirement Security, and S ESOPs.”

“The time is ripe for making it easier for privately held businesses and their employees to more effectively save for retirement while providing those employees with greater opportunity to own a ‘piece of the rock’” said Steve Smith, Chair of ESCA.  “Making employee ownership plans more accessible would help promote a brand of capitalism that works for all, providing a boost to middle class workers well beyond the prospects of virtually any other policy opportunity before Congress today.”

Congress created the S corporation ESOP structure to encourage and expand retirement savings, giving more workers in private companies the chance to own their companies through an ESOP qualified retirement savings program.

Among the provisions in The Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act are measures that will:

  • Enable owners of S corporations to sell their stock to an ESOP;
  • Encourage the flow of bank capital to ESOP-owned S corporations;
  • Provide needed technical assistance for companies that may be interested in forming an S ESOP;
  • Ensure small businesses that become ESOPs retain their SBA certification; and
  • Affirm the importance of preserving the S ESOP structure in the Internal Revenue Code.

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The Employee-Owned S Corporations of America (“ESCA”) is the Washington, DC voice for employee-owned S corporations.  ESCA’s exclusive mission is to preserve and protect S corporation ESOPs and the benefits they provide to the employees who own them.  These companies have an important story to tell policymakers about the tremendous success of the S ESOP structure in generating long-term retirement savings for working Americans and their families.  ESCA provides the vehicle and the voice for these efforts.  ESCA represents employee-owners in every state in the nation.  More at esca.us