Lawmaker looks to help companies transition to employee-owned if they desire

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Many times when a business owner is retiring and doesn't have a buyer, a business can fold and people lose jobs.

A lawmaker is proposing a bill that could provide a possible solution: employee-owned businesses.

The bill, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Nate Libby, D-Lewiston, would give a tax break to businesses for transitioning to employee-owned businesses.

Within these types of businesses, employees are allowed to buy stock in the business with their wages.

Supporters say there are many benefits to employee-owned businesses.

"The folks that I've talked to who are in these arrangements now, employee morale is much higher," said Libby. "Employees have a sense of ownership over the outcomes of decisions that they make. They are building wealth. They are building retirement for themselves. They are taking ownership in a company that they've invested a lot in."

The bill still faces votes in the House and Senate.