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- FLOOD RECOVERY
31 Ways Legislative Action or Inaction Could Impact Businesses After This Session
Record-high spending in recent years has been possible due to the influx of one-time federal funding for pandemic relief. However, legislators seem determined this session to maintain record levels of government spending with new revenue sources, even amid historical economic uncertainty. Despite a session underscored by new and increased taxes on both individuals and businesses, several crucial bills that will address business needs also made their way through the legislative process. A full recap of session highlights is available below.
Total cost increases for Vermonters will amount to $150 million. A far cry from the $1 billion in proposals by legislators at the start of the session, this is still an unsustainable figure with an expected economic downturn approaching.*
Fuel costs could increase by 70 cents a gallon with the creation of the Clean Heat Act, giving the Public Utility Commission two years to create a credit and trade market for renewable fuel sales.
Military retiree pensions will remain largely taxable. The Legislature did not act to leverage a full exemption as a workforce solution.
Broadband buildout received $20 million to boost service with over $100 million in the NTIA Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program to expand access to high-speed internet.*
Homeownership remains elusive for middle-income Vermonters, but $10 million of funding in the BAA for the Missing Middle-Income Homeownership Development Program will help.
Business infrastructure funding was allocated to local development corporations to the tune of $5 million for business relocation and expansion efforts, including the purchase, demolition, and renovation of property for industrial use.*
Rural infrastructure capacity funding of $3 million is slated to help underserved communities access and allocate federal ARPA funding for projects.
A Trump-era tax on business was upheld, with the workaround derailed in the final days of the session. The State and Local Tax (SALT) cap deduction workaround was a fix that was estimated to bring $1.7 million in state revenue annually and would have saved Vermont businesses $20 million in federal taxes.*
Advanced manufacturing businesses will be able to send workers to Vermont State Colleges for a certificate in 3-D technology from a $1.5 million appropriation.*
Young professional recruitment efforts will get a bump with $1.5 million towards loan forgiveness for recent college graduates who commit to working in Vermont for two years following graduation. Each eligible student is set to receive up to $5,000.*
Refugee employment assistance earned $1 million of funds allocated to the State Refugee Office for the Employment Assistance Grant Program.*
Efforts to upskill workers received $1.5 million to educate Vermont residents seeking to transition to a new career or to enhance job skills through the University of Vermont’s Upskill Vermont Scholarship Program.*
Technical assistance funding of $1.25 million was provided to the Regional Development Corporations to provide small and mid-sized businesses with professional and technical assistance. *
Brownfield remediation projects will get another $8 million in funding for the assessment, remediation, and redevelopment of sites.*
Upward pressure on system costs is expected from increases in worker’s compensation and temporary partial disability benefits.
The Treasurer’s Office will create a state-run retirement program by 2025 for employees of Vermont businesses. The program will put 5% of an employee’s earnings into an IRA but includes an opt-out provision.
* Legislation related to these topics remains in play and is pending final action from the Legislature. While the fate of most items can be anticipated, there is a caveat that these issues remain in flux until the veto session.
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