NO. 170. AN ACT RELATING TO EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP OF BUSINESSES.
Sec. 1. FINDINGS
The General Assembly finds:
(1) Employee ownership of businesses promotes job growth, provides job protection, and maintains local ownership of businesses. Employee-owned companies tend to provide superior employee benefits, including health care. As with home ownership, employee ownership provides an effective way for working people to build wealth.
(2) Employee ownership can provide an excellent means for small business owners to transition ownership when they are ready to retire. The continuation of these businesses is in the economic interest of Vermont and assures that employees continue to use their skills productively, and that the state benefits from the continued tax revenues generated from the business and the jobs.
(3) Employee buyouts of plants scheduled for closure will preserve jobs that would otherwise be lost or moved out of state.
(4) Employee ownership coupled with employee participation has proven to be a combination that improves productivity and overall workplace quality, thereby creating companies that are better able to compete in the global economy.
(5) The United States government provides substantial support for employee ownership by offering beneficial tax treatment to Employee Stock Ownership Plans and worker cooperatives. Enhanced state support for employee ownership can bring the benefits of more employee ownership to Vermont and further leverage federal support.
Sec. 2. VERMONT STATE TREASURER; STUDY
The Vermont treasurer shall, in continuation of the study entitled “A Survey of Economically Targeted Investments: Opportunities for Public Pension Funds,” study how the state can responsibly invest a portion of state pension funds in employee ownership.
Sec. 3. 10 V.S.A. § 263(g) is added to read:
(g) The authority shall give preference to projects involving loans to employee-owned businesses, to businesses that are becoming employee-owned through the purchase of stock or business assets, and to start-up businesses that will be owned by substantially all of the employees.
Approved: May 22, 2006
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street