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Congressman Ron Kind

Representing the 3rd District of Wisconsin

Rep. Ron Kind Introduces Bipartisan Legislation Encouraging Creation of Employee-Owned Businesses and Expanding Retirement Savings Options

April 11, 2019
Press Release

Rep. Ron Kind Introduces Bipartisan Legislation Encouraging Creation of Employee-Owned Businesses and Expanding Retirement Savings Options

La Crosse – Today, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind introduced the bipartisan Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act, which will encourage the formation of employee-owned businesses and promote retirement savings through S Corporation Employee Stock Ownership Plans (S-ESOPs). The bill was introduced with Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO).

“I am proud to introduce this bill, which will empower companies to become employee-owned and give our workers more stake in the game. The evidence is clear that S-ESOPs help companies and workers alike grow faster and achieve a more secure financial future,” said Rep. Ron Kind.

Specifically, the bill would incentivize owners of qualifying companies to sell stock of their companies to their employees, creating an S-ESOP. It would also provide additional support resources to companies as they transition to the employee-ownership model.

S-ESOP companies employ over 29,000 Wisconsinites at 122 companies across the state. According to several recent studies, S-ESOPs provide a number of benefits to companies and workers alike, including an outperforming company growth rate, increased retirement security and decreased income inequality within the company.

On Monday, Rep. Kind will be visiting Realityworks, Inc. in Eau Claire, Wisc., an educational curriculum and experiential learning technology company. Realityworks converted to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan S-ESOP in 2012, which has allowed them to attract and retain talent while continuing to grow the company.

“Employees who own the businesses where they work have a share in the wealth they help create, and that connection makes companies stronger, more stable, and more rooted in their communities. The legislation proposed by Rep. Kind will expand ownership opportunities like we have in place at Realityworks to even more of the U.S. workforce,” said Mary Boettcher, CFO – Realityworks and Board Chair for the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO).

“This bill is important legislation to support the creation of more ESOPs. ESOPs create additional retirement security for those working as employee owners at ESOP companies. At Realityworks, being employee-owned means you are engaged in the company success. You benefit from Company growth and value your work at a different level. About 50% of our employee body has been with the company over 5 years, well over the national average. Retention is a key to our success and our ESOP is a big contributor to that,” said Timm Boettcher, President and CEO – Realityworks.

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