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How do you make democratic decisions in your group?

A question commonly asked! Post your experience or strategy below. :)

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Should Worker Co-Ops pay taxes?

An important element of any economics discussion, taxes usually get a bad rap. In general terms, a person's stance on whether or not the members of a society should pay more or less taxes will depend on their ideology. One recurring (and important) issue is the amount of taxes paid by enterprises. When this discussion comes up, we usually think of BIG corporations like Apple, who was found to have received illegal tax benefits.

But what about cooperatives? Considering the social benefits that a cooperative form of enterprise provides, should it be held liable to pay taxes? Some experts believe that farmer cooperatives provide a much needed stability to the food market and should in fact be exempt from paying taxes. As another example, in Puerto Rico, cooperatives are exempt from paying any taxes except sales tax.

Currently federal law requires worker cooperatives to pay taxes, although some tax benefits do exist. So what do you think? Should cooperatives pay taxes?

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Interacting with local government economic develpment officials

Schoharie County NY (45 miles West of Albany). I've been meeting with county legislative members, County Administrator, Planning officials, Workforce Development Exec., Community Action Exec., and SUNY Cobleskill staff to introduce Worker Co-ops to them and promote support for co-op development as an economic vitality strategy. Some of these officials have recently participated in development of sophisticated ED planning required by the state and just this month our county Board of Supervisors (legislature) approved a dedicated ED sub-committee and appropriated funding for development of a strategy. It might be the case that my efforts contributed in some way to these decisions. I will certainly continue to engage, meeting with the new sub-committee and communicating with the consulting firm which has been engaged to develop the plan. And, when I recently learned a local hardware store was for sale, I provided co-op resource materials to the staff and encouraged them to look into the possibility of buying the business. It is apparently working since they have been discussing the possibility with the owner. I will suggest they find a firm to help them through.

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