Massachusetts House of Representatives Passes Rep. Gentile’s Employee Ownership Legislation

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In full transparency, the following press release was submitted to SOURCE media.

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BOSTON – Representative Carmine L. Gentile (D-Sudbury) joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass House Bill 5007, An Act relating to economic growth and relief for the commonwealth.

This bill will provide much needed economic aid through tax relief and major investments in housing, workforce development, and economic development.

In addition, this legislation includes the language of Representative Gentile’s sponsored bill, H.511, An Act enabling the Massachusetts center for employee ownership.

H.511 empowers workers around the Commonwealth by substantially expanding the Massachusetts Center for Employee Ownership (MassCEO) and establishing an advisory board for the Governor on employee ownership.

“The Commonwealth must do more to encourage employee ownership in the state” said Representative Carmine Gentile, “Employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and workers cooperatives have been shown to improve company performance and create better working environments for employees. I am incredibly grateful to Chair Danielle Gregoire, Chair Aaron Michlewitz, Speaker Mariano, and the other members of the House who helped guide this legislation to the finish line.”

The new board will have seats for 19 stakeholders, including 13 for companies with ESOPs, worker cooperatives, and advocates, in addition to relevant state agencies.

The board will play a key role in advising the Governor and MassCEO’s director on matters related to employee ownership policy.

According to Representative Gentile, from 1997 until the fiscal crisis of 2008, MassCEO provided training, education, and direct assistance to grow and sustain a strong network of employee-owned businesses in the Commonwealth.

The Center was revived in 2019 by a $150,000 appropriation from the Commonwealth. H.511 builds on the 2019 revival of MassCEO by permanently housing the Center within the Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD) and by requiring MOBD to hire a full-time director for the Center.

Ownership Associates, Inc. served as the primary contractor to the Commonwealth administering MassCEO from its inception in 1997. Christopher Mackin, the Founder and President of Ownership Associates said, “Encouraging Massachusetts employers to share the fruits of business success with their employees through shared ownership is good public policy. I commend Representative Carmine Gentile for leading the effort with colleagues in the Massachusetts legislature to embed this idea as part of the economic development vision of the Commonwealth.”

“Employee ownership is increasingly being recognized across the country as a fundamental economic development priority,” said Jack Moriarty, the Founder and Executive Director of Ownership America, a leading advocacy group on the issue. “Representative Gentile has provided invaluable leadership in the effort to formally establish the Massachusetts Center for Employee Ownership (MassCEO) in the executive branch. His efforts in the House have put the Commonwealth in a position to become a national leader in developing a more equitable, dynamic, and resilient economy through employee ownership.”

H.5007 now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

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