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ARPA Proposal Includes Minimal Business Relief
The Scott Administration’s $1 billion proposal for Vermont’s use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds includes a broad spending plan to make investments in economic development and address some of the state’s most pressing infrastructure challenges. The Administration’s plan offers $143 million for economic development, $200 million for climate change, $170 million for water and sewer infrastructure, $249 million for housing, and $250.5 million for broadband connectivity. Included in the economic development pool is a proposal for $50 million in economic recovery grants for businesses impacted by the pandemic-caused economic downturn. This proposed grant funding would satisfy only 10 percent of the $500 million in known unmet need calculated at the end of 2020.
Businesses severely impacted by COVID-19 have largely anticipated an additional grant relief program comparable to the $330 million package advanced in 2020. In particular, the restaurant and lodging sectors continue to suffer from operating restrictions while they grapple with the unprecedented revenue declines that characterized 2020 and early 2021. The Vermont Chamber and others in the business community have met with legislative leaders to request a substantial increase to the Administration’s grant proposal. We will continue to advocate for grant funding that adequately addresses the ongoing financial hardship facing businesses around the state. If you have question or concerns, please contact Vermont Chamber Government Affairs Director Charles Martin.