ESCA again set a record attendance and visited nearly one quarter of the U.S. Congress in a successful, three-day ESCA/Foundation for Private Employee Ownership Federal Policy Conference and Lobby Day held in Washington, DC, July 25-27.
Participants heard from two members of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee: Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA). House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) raced from votes on the House Floor to be our keynote luncheon speaker. Additionally, the lead sponsors of H.R. 1244, Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Ron Kind (D-WI), stopped by to visit with this year’s participants.
Before company representatives headed to Capitol Hill for lobby day meetings on Thursday, Alex Brill of the American Enterprise Institute and former tax advisor to the Simpson-Bowles Commission presented his findings on the benefits S ESOPs provide to the U.S. economy. The Brill study gives us the data to support what we already know anecdotally: S corp ESOPs create and preserve jobs, even during tough economic times, in addition to providing meaningful retirement savings. This was a powerful message to take to Capitol Hill for those who visited the over 125 congressional offices as part of ESCA’s lobby day on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.
On Thursday morning at the conference, ESCA announced that the 100th co-sponsor of ESCA’s legislation (H.R 1244 and S. 1512) – Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI) – had just signed onto the bill. Ensuing visits to the Hill resulted in verbal commitments from a number of Members of Congress in both chambers that they would also support employee-ownership by signing onto the Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act.