April 8, 2022
With expensive proposals such as the Child Tax Credit still unaccounted for in the budget, the Vermont Chamber partnered with the Lake Champlain Chamber, the Vermont Arts Council, the Vermont Creative Network, and the Vermont Association of Wedding Professionals to collectively advocate for the most critical pieces of small business recovery heading into the final weeks of the legislative session. The coalition met with Senate leadership and members of the Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee to urge support for $45 million in funding for the VEDA forgivable loans, relocation incentives and marketing, and creative sector recovery. 
With only a few short weeks before the Legislature’s target adjournment date of May 6, uncertainty reigns for the two largest bills focused on economic and workforce development. The Senate Appropriations Committee has signalled that cuts will be necessary across both bills. The Vermont Chamber will continue to advocate for the relief funding that businesses were promised last year to not be reduced any further.
The Vermont Chamber testified before the Senate Finance Committee on a proposal to remove a tax exemption on software as a service and create a tax on platform and infrastructure as a service. If passed this would levy a new estimated $20 million sales tax burden carried largely by the business community.
The House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs continued work on S.210, a bill containing a number of items aimed at improving rental housing health and safety. A long-time advocate for equity in the lodging landscape, the Vermont Chamber testified in support of a mechanism that would collect basic contact information for short-term rental (STR) operators providing overnight accommodations to the traveling public.
For several months, the Vermont Chamber and Vermont Independent Restaurants (VTIR) have advocated for replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which was depleted before most of the Vermont restaurants that applied could receive the funding they desperately needed. This week, those efforts are paying off, with the announcement of a small business relief package originating in the House. The House passed the bill on Thursday, and there is word of a bipartisan coalition forming in the Senate to support it.
  • H.437 Manufacturing Tax Exemption: The Senate Finance Committee discussed H.437 which contains the Manufacturing Tax Exemption Extension, an important tax modernization proposal for manufacturers. An amendment to the bill was proposed to create a vacant residence property tax surcharge which would charge a 1% surcharge on the portion of the equalized education property value of a vacant residence that exceeds $400,000. The committee will take testimony on this amendment next week.
  • S.226 Omnibus Housing Bill: Both the House Natural Resources, Fish, & Wildlife Committee and the House General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee continued to take testimony on the three bills containing proposals that would create new housing supply opportunities; S.210, S.226, S.234. There is a great deal of work ahead for the committees to untangle the duplicative language between them and determine how best to restructure these three bills to move critical housing priorities forward. 
NECBC U.S.-Canada Financial, Economic, and Investment Executive Forum
Wednesday April 27, 2022, 1 - 5:30 pm
Connect with the vibrant New England and Canada business network: nearly 300 NECBC members from business, academia, and government from throughout North America. Discounted registration for Vermont Chamber of Commerce members.
Promo Code: 22AsscMem25
Register here.
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