March 11, 2022
The House Commerce and Economic Development Committee marked up the omnibus workforce development bill, and the Committee has included many of the Vermont Chamber’s workforce priorities. Read more.
The Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee continued ironing out details of the omnibus economic development bill, with several Vermont Chamber priorities to grow the workforce, such as relocating employee incentives and targeted marketing aimed at recruitment and relocation, included in the bill. Read more.
After months of negotiations on the Economic Recovery Grants, the compromise forgivable loan program, administered through VEDA, is nearing completion. The Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee added another layer of review by the Joint Fiscal Committee prior to allowing VEDA to start accepting applications. This could further delay recovery funding from reaching small businesses that continue to struggle with the impact of the pandemic. Read more.
The Senate Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee passed S.226, the omnibus housing bill, which aims to address Vermont’s housing crisis through permit reforms, housing supply, and access issues that will benefit working Vermonters. Read more.
The House Committee on General, Housing, and Military Affairs passed a bill out of committee containing a number of provisions aimed at modernizing Vermont’s liquor laws. Of note, both fortified wines and low alcohol spirit-based beverages (also known as ready-to-drink cocktails) would be permitted to be sold via retail outlets and beverage wholesalers. Read more.
Funding for RRF replenishment was not included in the omnibus appropriations bill, which is expected to be signed by President Biden on Friday. Advocacy efforts will shift toward getting replenishment included in later COVID relief or a small business package originating in the House. Read more.
VBSR is urging leaders on the House Transportation Committee to advance an EVSE Charging Grant Program as part of this year's transportation bill. This program would provide Vermont businesses with grants of up to $5,000 per port for level two chargers for between two and 10 ports, with a max grant amount of up to 75% of the total project cost, and a grant amount of up to $40,000 for up to five level three chargers, with a maximum grant amount of up to 50% of the total project cost. Read more.
Following the Vermont Chamber’s testimony, the Senate Finance Committee added the military pension tax exemption back into S.53, excluding the first $10,000 of federally taxable U.S. military retirement pay from taxable income, and subject to adjusted gross income thresholds and phase outs. Read more.
  • H.715 Clean Heat Standard: The House Appropriations Committee agreed to spend $1.2 million designing the Vermont Clean Heat Standard. The bill represents a fee on any business, no matter what the size, that sells heating fuel in Vermont. An amendment adding a “look back" provision, to give the legislature the ability to review the program after it is designed so that the cost impacts can be examined before it is implemented, was rejected and the bill advanced by a vote of 8-4. The House will vote on the CHS next week. Learn more from VFD.
  • H.329 Discrimination: This bill has been further amended after the Vermont Chamber provided the House General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee with comments on unintended consequences. It now awaits a committee vote to proceed.
  • S.269 Energy Savings Account Partnership Pilot Program: This bill extends a pilot program created prior to the COVID-19 pandemic to allow participating companies to invest their electric efficiency charge directly into onsite efficiency projects. Due to the pandemic, the rollout of the program was slowed. Vermont Chamber members testified on the importance of this program before the Senate Finance Committee which voted the measure out favorably.
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce launched a new policy-focused podcast series entitled, “State to Main.” The pilot episode, “Workforce Housing,” features Megan Sullivan, VP of Government Affairs for the Vermont Chamber, and Annemarie Todd, VP of Human Resources for Sugarbush Resort. Learn more and listen.
In Case You Missed It
This Edition Sponsored By:
Want great exposure for your business? Sponsoring the weekly newsletter is an affordable and effective way to reach your target customers. Email Megan Bullard for pricing and more information.
Vermont Chamber of Commerce, 751 Granger Road Barre, VT 05641, 802-223-3443© 22018