Message from the vtTA

   
This year's Legislative session has come to a close. A proposal was introduced late in the session to apply the sales tax to "prewritten software accessed remotely," often referred to as the "cloud tax," to pay for water quality improvements outlined in Bill S.96 - An act relating to the provision of water quality services .
 
We were pleased that through the outreach efforts of the Vermont Technology Alliance and individual members, this tax did not pass this session. However, it could be revisited next year.
 
We continue to believe that taxing software as a service (SaaS) is not good public policy for Vermont. The Vermont Technology Alliance shared its concerns
about the potential negative impact of this tax on Vermont's tech and other businesses, and the perception the tax could create of Vermont as not welcoming to or supportive of tech-focused and tech-enabled businesses. 
 
The issue is less about taxing a downloaded copy of TurboTax than it is on taxing the growing number of Vermont businesses that sell or use software as a service, where multiple software applications may be deployed, and where the service offered and the software used is interwoven. Although some states have a form of this tax, the rates are often lower; they have a larger, more established tech sector; and there are other advantages in terms of capital, labor pool and broadband access.
 
Vermont tech businesses bring hundreds of millions of dollars a year into our state, and provide some of the state's highest paying jobs, generating over
$5 billion in payroll annually. Vermont should create policies that boost, not hinder the success and growth of this sector. A favorable tax environment is one way to make Vermont more competitive.  
 
Other legislative results:  
 
S.18 - an act relating to consumer justice enforcement , a bill regulating standard contracts and defining "unconscionable" terms, passed this session. The vtTA joined others in raising concerns about some of the details of the originally proposed legislation, and the bill that passed is a somewhat modified and improved version.
 
includes funding for a New Worker Relocation Incentive Program to attract individuals to move to Vermont, and should be helpful to tech businesses recruiting employees. Funding of up to $5,000, with an enhanced grant of up to $7,500 for designated areas of the state, is provided to help pay for moving expenses, payment of student loan debt, down payment assistance, and initial rental deposits.  
   
S.162 - An act relating to promoting economic development , includes continued funding for the Remote Worker grant program which provides grants of up to $5,000 per year, not to exceed a total of $10,000 per person, to pay for relocation and computer hardware and software expenses for individuals working from a home office or co-working space.  
 
Bill H.513 - An act relating to broadband deployment throughout Vermont , supports broadband expansion by increasing the retail telecommunications service charge by four-tenths of one percent to help fund the build-out of broadband infrastructure. The bill also offers broadband development grants and loans, and calls for a study of the feasibility of using the electric utility infrastructure for Internet distribution.     
 
H.327 - An act relating to automatic renewal contract provisions , passed the house, but stalled in the Senate. It would have amended a law passed last year to remove requirements for requiring a "double opt-in" option on annual contracts that contain automatic renewal provisions, which will impact some Vermont and other tech businesses that use and depend on automatic contracts.   
 
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If you value the Vermont Technology Alliance's public policy outreach on behalf of Vermont's tech sector, then please support our efforts by signing up to become a vtTA member .
   
 
 
Jeff Couture
Executive Director, Vermont Technology Alliance
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Upcoming Events
 
LaunchVT Demo Night  
(May 31, 2019 - Main Street Landing, Burlington)
 
LaunchVT hosts a pitch competition for its 2019 cohorts who will compete for $135,000 in cash and services.
 
Read more here. 
 
 
Vermont Employee Ownership Conference  
(June 12, 2019 - UVM Davis Center)
 
The Annual Employee Ownership Conference is the largest annual gathering of Vermont's employee-ownership community, featuring 19 in-depth workshops.
 
Read more here .
 
 
Vermont Technology Alliance's Annual Sunset Dinner Cruise  
(August 21, 2019 - Spirit of Ethan Allen)
 
Save the date and plan to set sail with the Vermont Technology Alliance and friends aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen for our annual sunset cruise.
 
Read more here .
 

Vermont Technology in the News
 
VCET Announces Partnerships with Vermont Innovation Hubs 
(May 23, 2019 - Press Release)
 
The Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) announced new partnerships with five innovation hubs to boost startups, innovation and localized economic development throughout Vermont. The #ScaleHere platform accelerates business growth throughout the state by sharing the business resources aggregated at VCET to companies at other non-profit innovation centers outside of the greater Burlington area.  
 
Read more here .
 
Lawmakers Approve New Move-to-Vermont Incentive Program  
(May 27, 2019 - VTDigger)
 
The House and Senate approved a workforce development bill that includes nearly $2 million for various new attraction or training initiatives. On Jan. 1, the state started reimbursing people up to $10,000 if they move to Vermont to take remote jobs. New next year is a program that will reimburse workers up to $5,000 in some areas of the state and $7,500 in places where workers are needed most. Acknowledging that employers cite the worker shortage as one of their greatest hurdles to growth, the new program is for people who take jobs within Vermont.
 
Read more here.

Clean Water Funding Plan Without Cloud Tax Heads to Scott's Desk
(May 23, 2019 - Seven Days)
 
The Vermont House of Representatives agreed to support a Senate proposal to fund clean water projects without raising new taxes, a feat made possible by unexpectedly robust state revenue collections. The bill now heads to Gov. Phil Scott for his likely signature.

The plan would take 6 percent of existing room and meals tax revenue that is normally committed to the general fund and divert it to the state clean water fund. The move would raise $8 million during nine months of next year and $12 million for water projects each full year thereafter. Lawmakers argued that the state can afford the additional spending because revenues are tracking $50 million higher than expected this year, with projections of at least $15 million of that increase to recur in future years. Before the new financial projections, the House had proposed a "cloud tax" on software purchased over the internet to replenish rooms and meals revenues taken from the education fund.  
 
Read more here .
 
 
GW Plastics to Invest $10M, add 30 Jobs in Vermont  
(May 24, 2019 - Plastics News )
 
GW Plastics Inc. broke ground on a $10 million, 30,000-square-foot expansion of its Royalton, Vt., manufacturing and technology center to accommodate growth of its thermoplastic injection molding and medical device contract assembly business. The expansion is expected to create 30 jobs. The company is adding a 13,000-square-foot Class 8 clean room capable of housing 30 injection molding machines and 17,000 square feet of warehousing space.

Read more
here .

Software Firm Serving Vermont Towns Penalized for Security Problems 
(May 23, 2019 - Seven Days)
 
A firm whose software is used by all Vermont cities and towns will pay the state $30,000 to settle allegations that it failed to safeguard sensitive data. Software from the New England Municipal Resource Center, based in Fairfax, had left taxpayers' bank information and municipal employees' Social Security numbers exposed and vulnerable to theft for years, a Vermont technology consultant told Seven Days in February. 

Read more
here .

Vermont accelerator Accel-VT announces Energy 2019 Cohort 
(May 23, 2019 - Vermont Business Magazine/Press Release)
 
Accel-VT has selected seven early-stage energy companies from across the US and Canada to participate in its Energy 2019 cohort. The Vermont business accelerator will kick off the first of three one-week sprints in Burlington next week with 15 entrepreneurs from the eight companies. In August, the cohort will decide through a peer-ranking system which company will receive a $25,000 prize.
 
Read more here .
 
 
Vergennes Tech Company on the Hunt for Workers  
(May 13, 2019 - WCAX-TV)
 
The challenges faced by employers when it comes to Vermont's aging and often unskilled workforce are well documented. Now a Vergennes company is trying to buck that trend. UTC Collins Aerospace has between 75 and 80 job openings right now, but it was double that just a couple months ago. The global technology company wants Vermonters to know it's here and it's hiring.
 
Read more here .
 

Vermont Precision Tools Partners with Vermont HITEC for Train-to-Hire Program
(May 14, 2019 - Vermont Business Magazine/Press Release)
 
Vermont Precision Tools, the Swanton manufacturer of high quality precision tools used in the automotive, medical and aeronautic industries, and Vermont HITEC, Inc, a non-profit organization dedicated to high-quality workforce development, are accepting applications for the latest advanced manufacturing program that will lead to guaranteed full time jobs with Vermont Precision Tools upon successful completion. Up to 12 selected participants will attend a 4-week program starting July 29, with employment beginning August 26th.
 
Read more here.    
 

Featured Member - Green River      
 
 
 
Green River, located in Brattleboro Vermont, builds sustainability analytics software to manage critical business and social processes. Green River sees sustainability intelligence - using data to make and justify good decisions - as the means for organizational transformation.
 
Green River is committed to the environment and social justice, and views their clients as genuine collaborative partners in making the world a better place. Green River focuses its work on environmental protection, school improvement, public health for those in need, and building social services centered on the individual.  
 
They help their clients by measuring complex data; extracting insight and meaning from data; programming, testing and delivering top-shelf software; and getting brilliant ideas off the ground. Green River uses a powerful methodology that emphasizes collaboration, open communication, and flexibility throughout a project's lifecycle.
 
Green Rivers has created successful projects for clients that include Starbucks, The City of Boston, NBC Universal and Scholastic Corporation.
 
Find more at www.greenriver.com. 
  
  
Vermont Technology Alliance Membership Update
 
The Vermont Technology Alliance works on behalf of its members and
is able to carry out its mission through the support of its membership.  
 
We're pleased to welcome new business members Faraday and OpenTempo , and individual member Sara Munro.
 

Join the Vermont Technology Alliance
 
Join the Vermont Technology Alliance and be part of our growing tech community. The Vermont Technology Alliance welcomes all businesses, organizations and individuals who make up and support Vermont's diverse, tech-based economy to join our non-profit business association. Members benefit from vtTA's advocacy, programs, events, communications, networking and business opportunities, and services - including job postings in our Career Center. 
   
You can find more information here , or sign up today to be a new member here . Or contact us at info@vtta.org.

Useful Information & Links

vtTA Career Center
 
Vermont Technology Alliance member companies are hiring, and when you visit the Career Center on the Vermont Technology Alliance website you can browse and search for these job openings . The Career Center regularly  lists between 100 - 200 tech and non-tech jobs. Jobs available from vtTA members are listed at no charge in the Career Center as a member benefit.
 
For more, click see the vtTA Career Center . 
 
The vtTA Thanks Its Member/Sponsors

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