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Big Week for Pro-ESOP Legislation for Small Businesses

The week of March 12-16 was a very big week for pro-ESOP bipartisan legislation (H.R. 5236) in Washington, D.C. First, Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D-NY) and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) introduced legislation into the House Small Business Committee which would make loans under the Small Business Administration (SBA) more feasible for ESOP transactions. The bill was introduced on March 15th and immediately passed by the Committee, unanimously.

Not to be outdone, the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee approved two bipartisan bills introduced by Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and Senator Jim Risch (R-ID). One of those bills would task the SCORE Association (which is a nonprofit outreach organization supported by the SBA and comprised of volunteer business owners) to lead efforts to provide information and general technical assistance to promote and facilitate ESOPs. Peters said:

“Employee Stock Ownership Plans have a proven track record of helping small businesses grow faster, increase productivity, and retain talented employees. My bipartisan legislation will help more small businesses transition into an employee stock ownership model and ensure loyal, hardworking employees can carry on their company’s legacy.”

Although it will take a lot for either or both of the HR or Senate bills to become laws, it is a great sign for the future of ESOPs that they continue to be supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

About the Authors

Brian Anderson is a Partner practicing out of our Madison office. He is a member of the Business, Employee Benefits, Estate Planning and Probate, and Tax and Tax Advocacy practice groups. Contact Brian by email or by phone at (608) 252-9340.

Timothy Stewart is an attorney practicing out of our Metro Milwaukee office. He is a member of the Employee Benefits, ESOP and Labor & Employment Relations practice groups. Contact Tim by email or by phone at (262) 754-2869.

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DeWitt LLP is one of the ten largest law firms based in Wisconsin, with an additional presence in Minnesota. It has more than 120 attorneys practicing in Madison, Metropolitan Milwaukee and Minneapolis in over 30 legal practice areas, and has the experience to service clients of all scopes and sizes.

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