I am writing to you today in support of L.D. 1520, “An Act to Create and Sustain Jobs through the Development of Cooperatives and Employee-Owned Businesses.” This bill charges the state with creating a Maine Center for Employee-Ownership, and would establish various tax incentives for owners who sell to create employee-owned companies.

This could be a very huge and positive step for employee ownership and Maine. The creation of a dedicated organization to promote employee ownership would put Maine on the leading edge of states who are organizing such centers and providing such incentives. This growing number of states realizes that ownership among the rank and file benefits everyone, including the states by stimulating employment and their economies as employees are drawn to business where they can contribute to their futures and share in the rewards of success.

Maine Drilling & Blasting began our Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) in 2004. Since then, we have grown a strong ownership culture. Our employees think and work like the owners they truly are, and we have seen the results first-hand. Our company’s value has increased nearly 130% in 14 years.

This past year, our ownership culture truly carried us above every mark of measurement out there. Our performance (a double-digit increase in stock value) handily outpaced the stock market, where all major indices experienced overall declines in 2018. Being a majority employee-owned company is a strong tool as we recruit the best and brightest talent in the industry, often from out-of-state.

Maine, its economy, businesses, and people would definitely benefit from the growth of employee ownership. But growing a culture of ownership takes work and support that a resource center could provide. Please consider the passage of L.D. 1520 as a strong move for Maine.

 

Dan Werner

Gardiner


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