- If big banks aren’t going to lend money to invest in new enterprises, despite massive hand-outs at the federal level, we must take it upon ourselves as a Commonwealth to spur the economy with loans. I support forgivable loans to cooperative development agencies who know how to support local businesses and worker-owned cooperatives that often lack start-up resources. We need to support local banks and credit unions that are willing to lend money to local businesses and consumers.
- The Pioneer Valley has a good number of worker and producer cooperatives, and I will work to inspire more in my district. Workers are happier and make more money in cooperatives. Consumers also benefit from better service when the employees have a stake in the business. We all prosper when our destinies are tied together. To quote Suzanne Webber, a member of the Massachusetts Woodlands Cooperative in South Deerfield, “The cooperative business model places the long term welfare of the many over the short term economic gain of the few. Compared to business as usual, this is unique.”
- In addition to supporting traditional small businesses and worker co-ops, I also support democratic employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), which allow employees to buy a business. This is often the case when a business is about to go out of business or go up for sale… provided that the workers demonstrate a reasonable plan for turning a profit or keeping the business stable. Hill-Engineers Architects Planners Inc in Dalton and Marland Mold Inc in Pittsfield, are both Employee Stock Owned; they are among 90 businesses of this type in the state.
- The Mass Office of Employee Involvement and Ownership says that “Research over the last three decades demonstrates that broad based employee-ownership companies tend to outperform their competitors, are more likely to remain anchored in their communities, and create substantial retirement wealth for employees at all levels of the company.” Talk about common wealth! We’ve got a brilliant model for economic development which we should be investing in.
- We need to support local businesses that keep jobs and profits locally and help them to reinvest in their communities. We need to remind large businesses that they became successful through the help of local consumers and government incentives and punish companies who want to take the money and run. Large corporations need to realize that we expect them to invest time and money in their workers and the communities they serve.
- I also agree with Speaker DeLeo’s position to fully fund the state’s workforce training grants, which help displaced workers learn new skills.
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