American Voters Express Bipartisan Support for Employee Ownership

Thoughtware Article Published: Oct 25, 2016
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Employee-Owned S Corporations of America recently released poll results showing bipartisan voter support for employee ownership. Public Policy Polling surveyed 853 registered voters from June 27 to 28, 2016. 68 percent of those surveyed responded they “support the concept of companies being owned by their employees so that all workers share in their success.” The poll demonstrated bipartisan support, with 79 percent of democrats and 58 percent of republicans in agreement.

Other key findings from the poll included:

  • 70 percent of Americans consider employee ownership to be “all-American,” like baseball, hot dogs and apple pie
  • 58 percent of Americans would support legislation making it easier for employees to own part of the business where they work
  • 50 percent of Americans think the government should do more to encourage the growth of employee-owned companies

The Republican Party platform officially endorses employee ownership. It states, “Republicans believe that the employer-employee relationship of the future will be built upon employee empowerment and workplace flexibility. We therefore endorse employee stock ownership plans that enable workers to become capitalists, expand the realm of private property, and energize a free enterprise economy.” Although the Democratic Party platform doesn’t specifically mention employee ownership, it includes a section entitled “Helping More Workers Share in Near-Record Corporate Profits” that states, “Working with business, labor, and other stakeholders, we will incentivize companies to share profits with their employees on top of wages and pay increases, while targeting the workers and businesses that need profit-sharing the most.”

Congress is considering legislation that would expand S corporation Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP). The legislation would incentivize business owners to sell their companies to an ESOP. Although not likely to pass in the current term, the legislation has bipartisan support.

To learn more about issues affecting S corp ESOPs, contact your BKD advisor.

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