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Comments about ‘Benefit Corporations: Why aren't Utah businesses living a balanced existence?’

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Published: Sunday, March 9 2014 7:53 p.m. MDT

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Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

This letter is the first that I've heard of "Benefit Corporations". After Googling the term, I found out that a "Benefit Corporation" is not required to make decisions based on maximizing profits. I also learned about a "B Corp", which is different from a "Benefit Corporation". A "B Corp" must work for the greater public good, but a "Benefit Corporation" does not have that responsibility.

If I understand the rules governing corporations, it seems that a regular "S Corporation" must maximize profits (if given a choice between something profitable and something not as profitable), a "Benefit Corporation" can choose, and a "B Corp" must choose whatever is for the greater public good. A "Benefit Corporation" is not required by law to make decisions that are for the greater public good; but, it is allowed to make those decisions.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Sigh.

Aren't we giving enough handouts to corporations already? The gas and mining industry is subsidized and doesn't pay taxes. Malls, don't pay taxes. We gave out handouts a few years ago when delta threatened to leave SL airport. We let refineries pollute our land, air, and water. We refuse to pay for education thus creating a cheap labor force which can be easily exploited. We give $13 million dollar handouts to UDOT. We don't regulate the loan sharks and let them charge 500+ percent interest rates. We let Rocky Mountain power get away with being a monopoly. We give handouts to private and charter schools and choke out public education. Just recently we are debating whether or not to throw $200 million to Lockhart's technology buddies.

We are currently giving away the prison land and building a new one way out west. All at the expense of the taxpayers. There's a hotel being built in downtown slc subsidized by taxpayers.

To be continued...

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Continued:

We have the lowest min wage in the entire nation. We are a right to work state meaning companies can fire you at any time. We don't enforce break time every 4 hrs and allow restaurants to work their employees 12+ hrs without breaks.

I think we give enough benefits to corporations as it is. How about benefits to the people? They're different too. Benefits for big business don't always nor often benefit we the people, contrary to popular thought. In fact, we the people weren't built for businesses to exploit and abuse.

How about we do something that would benefit people? Like expanding Medicaid? We hate federal money for people but love it when it benefits corporations who build roads and jets.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Maverick,

What does anything that you wrote in your two posts have to do with a corporation whose goal is to BENEFIT society? I would think that you would be the first one to congratulate a company for putting people and society's interests above its own financial welfare.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

I'll keep an open mind, but I think a better option would be worker owned enterprise where the goal is to preserve their jobs - a steady state so to speak. This way labor would be compensated for all the value it adds. If enough such cooperatives were established the entire character of capitalism would be improved. Maybe B corporations can accomplish similar goals, but with B labor is still on the bubble.

Globalup
Salt Lake City, UT

The Real Maverick - just to be clear, the Benefit Corporation Legislation doesn't give any "handouts" to corporations. In fact, I think if you re-read the article you'll see that you are actually in favor of the legislation. The purpose is to allow businesses to use their profits to give back to people and planet. There is no tax or financial benefit for the company, the directors are simply legally protected from being sued by shareholders if they choose to use a portion of their profits for social benefit. The belief here is that businesses can/should work together with communities and government to make the world a better place. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

"A Benefit Corporation is a new type of business that allows for-profit entities to pursue social and environmental goals, along with their focus on maximizing profit."

=========

That's why Utah will never be a leader in B-Corps...

Utahans have digressed over the years and now hate anything to do with Social or environmental goals -- it's ALL abut maximizing profits, or cheating your neighbors.

Network Marketing, and Scam Capital of the Nation...

[Mammon, Babylon, Master Mahan...]

David
Centerville, UT

LDS Liberal,

On the contrary, I find Utahns to be among the most giving, most service-oriented. In recent polling Utahan's have supported efforts to encourage cleaner air, so I feel your environmental assessments of Utahans to also be incorrect.

It may be true that Utah is a focal point of network marketing, scams, and Ponzi schemes, but might that be due to the trusting nature of the people of Utah? There are bad people everywhere, but not everyone is involved in these scams and schemes. Utahans, given their trusting nature, are more often the victims, not the perpetrators.

This is a wonderful state, filled with good people who love and serve others, want a clean environment, and would be a perfect place for a focal point of B-corps, as described in the article.

Kings Court
Alpine, UT

"I’m a believer that capitalism will continue to be a solution to the world’s problems in the 21st century, but commerce needs to evolve. As business leaders, we must do more for people and the planet."

Businesses in and of themselves are not "capitalistic." They are "monopolistic" which runs counter to capitalism but is the nature of the beast and are big part of the world's problem in the 21st century. Let us hope their solutions outweigh their problems.

Capitalism is the playing field in which all businesses operate. The rules and regulations to keep the competition level and fair is the role of government. Businesses like to view themselves as the harbingers of capitalism, but in reality they are the result of capitalism. In today's D.C. environment, corporations hire lobbyists in an effort to rig that playing field in their behalf. We've seen this on the state level as well, especially with tax incentives granted to only certain big businesses at the expense of the smaller businesses. I haven't studied B-corporations enough to understand how they fit into the capitalistic structure, but I will keep my eyes open.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Sounds like a reasonable idea.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

It’s interesting to note that historically the goal of most chartered corporations was something like this (i.e., for the benefit of the community). It was only in the late 1800’s that they morphed into the amoral “persons” with one objective only they are today.

This sounds similar to Triple Bottom Line rules started by the EU and as long as additional goals can be measured in meaningful ways, approaches like this are surely needed.

@marxist – “I'll keep an open mind, but I think a better option would be worker owned enterprise…”

Curious… what’s stopping “workers” from starting as many companies as they want and competing in the free market? Could it be there actually is value in what the entrepreneur brings to the equation?

jsf
Centerville, UT

Scenario: B corp pays officers small salaries, pays shareholders dividends after funneling massive amounts to the officers favorite charities and foundations, tax free and penalty free. Then officers of company, also officers of foundation, pay themselves massive salaries from the foundation, out of the corporate shareholder sight. This is like the local dealership saying for every car we sell we will donate $$$. They don't donate, they charged you the extra $$$ on the price of the car. B corps are ripe for fraud.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

I am still trying to figure out why businesses can't be incorporated using existing standards and still do as the letter suggests? The LDS church and its Deseret Management business arm are already doing what this letter wants. It uses corporate profits to fund projects that benefit society.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

@RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT
I am still trying to figure out why businesses can't be incorporated using existing standards and still do as the letter suggests? The LDS church and its Deseret Management business arm are already doing what this letter wants. It uses corporate profits to fund projects that benefit society.

1:51 p.m. March 10, 2014

========

The LDS Church is NOT a Corporation.

Perhaps that's why you can't seem to figure it out.

jsf
Centerville, UT

Deseret Management - Company Type: Corporation - Domestic - Profit

Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Doing Business As
Genealogical Society of Utah
Farm Management Company
Promised Valley Playhouse
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Deseret Pasta


Red Shirt "and its Deseret Management business arm" omm snarkey comment

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "Open Minded Mormon" are you sure you are LDS, and are you sure you actually read my comment?

You see the LDS Church owns the Deseret Management Corporation (DMC). DMC is a for profit business. The profits from business are used to build new businesses AND are given to the church humanitarian efforts.

If the LDS church can get the business it owns to have a "balanced existence" why can't the letter writer do the same here in Utah?

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Can a business do this now? Under certain circumstances, yes. But corporations that are owned by a religious organization, a family, or are otherwise closely held do not necessarily have the same pressures for profit first, last, and foremost. A publicly held company might be able to address some of this in its bylaws but every bit of protection from stockholder riots is a help. If this is what the business is about, then having the option seems reasonable.

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