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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Ambitious employee ownership legislation signed into law in Washington state

On Tuesday, May 9, 2023, Governor Inslee signed into law SB 5096, expanding employee ownership in Washington State. This bipartisan legislation led by State Senator Mike Padden (R-Spokane) and Senate Majority Leader Jamie Pedersen (D-Seattle) is among the most ambitious state employee ownership legislation to date, and it passed both chambers unanimously with no opposition. The USFWC is proud to have supported this effort, driven by partners at Ownership America and including support along the way from the Northwest Cooperative Development Center, Project Equity, and the Employee Ownership Expansion Network. 

The act will create:

  • the Washington Employee Ownership Program with the Washington Department of Commerce;
  • an Employee Ownership Commission with seats appointed by the Governor and legislative leaders;
  • a tax credit for feasibility studies;
  • clarification that State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funding for the State of Washington maybe be used to finance employee ownership use cases;
  • a revolving loan fund to support the financing of conversions without a personal guarantee requirement – a troublesome issue cooperatives face in accessing the Small Business Administration (SBA)’s loan programs.

The Washington Employee Ownership program will convene a network of technical support and service providers, work with state agencies whose regulations and programs affect employee-owned businesses, partner with external service providers and organizations to make Washington State a fertile ground for employee ownership, and curate a service provider referral service. 

Read the rest at USFWC


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