August 19, 2022

Good Afternoon -

Last week’s primary election turned out the second-highest number of voters in an August primary in Vermont history. The Secretary of State’s Office reported that 130,000 Vermonters cast their ballots, resulting in big upsets in competitive races. Because so many of the general election candidates are running unopposed, many of the House and Senate races have been predetermined by the primary results. In the coming months, the Vermont Chamber will continue to monitor the remaining races to understand how the new landscape in the State House will impact our advocacy next biennium, as well as continue to meet with candidates to increase their awareness of business issues prior to the upcoming legislative session. 

Megan Sullivan, VP of Government Affairs

Political Intrigue in Federal Races Drives High Voter Turnout, Upsets

The repercussions of the retirement of Senator Patrick Leahy, paired with several other statewide officeholders choosing not to seek reelection, has prompted a monumental election cycle in Vermont. Now, all eyes are on the candidates that will be on the ballot in November.

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Surprises and Fresh Faces in Down Ballot Races

With significant change in the legislature anticipated for the upcoming biennium, the Vermont Chamber has been closely following the outcome of Senate and House races. With several races lacking a viable contender in the general election, many candidates have seemingly secured their seat with a primary win.

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Looking Ahead to the General Election

While many races have informally been wrapped up, there are sure to still be a handful of surprises on November 8th. You can check your voter registration, find your polling place, request an absentee ballot, see sample ballots, and more, online. A complete list of general election candidates is available on our website.

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Opportunity to Weigh in on Hospital Budget Increases

The Vermont Chamber has long advocated for sustainable costs in healthcare for small businesses and their employees. After two years of pandemic challenges, our advocacy on this issue is far from over. This year, hospitals are facing many of the same issues other businesses are facing: 9% inflation, wage increases, a severe labor shortage, and continuing supply chain issues. As a result, they are asking for large increases to their budgets, for overall increases of 4%-20%. This comes after large rate increases in health insurance were set to take effect for next year. Many small business owners are weighing in on the impact this will have on their employees, who will see increased out of pocket costs. If you have feedback to share with the Green Mountain Care Board on the hospital budget increases, you may submit a public comment through August 31, 2022, here

Federal Updates

  • CHIPS and Science Act: Signed into law by President Biden on August 9th, the CHIPS and Science Act is a $54.2 billion investment in subsidies to expand domestic semiconductor production. This will power the growth of GlobalFoundries in Vermont and fuel the renaissance in U.S. Chip semiconductor manufacturing, strengthening our manufacturing and supply chains at home to protect our national security in the face of future geopolitical uncertainties. Read more about the CHIPS Act here.

  • Inflation Reduction Act: After over a year of negotiations, Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Manchin came to a compromise on core pieces of the Biden Administration’s legislative priorities. The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by President Biden on August 16th, will include deficit reductions, investments in domestic energy production and manufacturing, and reductions of carbon emissions. It will also allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and extend the Affordable Care Act and associated subsidies through 2025. This will stabilize the Vermont healthcare market and reduce premiums for many across a wide range of income levels through subsidies. Read more about the bill here.

  • Earmarks: In his final year as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Leahy announced the inclusion of $212 million in earmarks for Vermont in the draft appropriations bills. During his time in leadership on the powerful money committee, he brought a disproportionate level of federal funding to our small state, funding that is likely to drop off sharply when he retires in January. Read more about the Vermont projects slated to receive federal funding here.

Program Updates

  • VEDA Forgivable Loan Program: VEDA submitted their program guidelines to the Joint Fiscal Committee at their meeting on July 28th, and the Committee requested some changes to the program design and determination of loan amount. They are nearing agreement on those issues and VEDA expects to be able to open the program to applicants in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned for more details.

  • COVID-19 Paid Leave Grant Program: According to the Department of Financial Regulation, the Program is still in development, and additional details including application procedures should be available soon. Businesses should keep records of COVID-related staff absences, as well as documentation including positive test results, or emails from childcare centers or schools about closing due to COVID. Click here for more details. 
Vermont Chamber News

Healthy Living Market Receives Deane Davis Business of the Year Award

Since its inception in 1986, Healthy Living has embodied the values of the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Business of the Year Award. This honor is presented annually to a Vermont business that has exhibited outstanding accomplishments in sales, community involvement, employee relations, and recognition of its place in our environment. Congratulations, Healthy Living Market and Cafe!

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Registration is Open for the 2022 Manufacturing Summit

The Vermont Chamber has reinvented and reimagined the format of the agenda to offer an engaging, interactive, and content rich virtual edition with a theme of “Rebuilding Supply Chains and Workforce through Content, Collaboration, and Contacts.”

VTIR Information Meeting with DLL

The Chamber and VTIR successfully advocated for pandemic recovery initiatives for bars and restaurants. You are invited to join an informational meeting on Tuesday, August 23, 10-11am, with the Department of Liquor and Lottery, to discuss:

  • On-Premise Sales Program logistics
  • Credit/debit card usage for purchases at 802Spirits stores
  • DLL Licensing Portal details

To RSVP, email Jacqueline Posley.

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