Business Grants Get Thrown a Curveball with New Bill

The Vermont Chamber worked closely with the Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee, ACCD, and VEDA, to come up with a workable solution to the problems in the economic recovery grant program. However, the most recent iteration of language in H.159 is extremely concerning. The program’s original intent was to help small businesses recover from losses they experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The language now seems to change the intent to “support Vermont businesses experiencing continued working capital shortfalls.” With this additional layer of scrutiny, it seems businesses may be required to demonstrate not only past losses, but continued impact, effectively excluding seasonal businesses heading into their busiest time of year. The maximum loan amount has also been lowered to only $150,000, raising concerns of small business closures if operators cannot make up enough of their shortfall to stay in business. The Vermont Chamber worked to have the program criteria be based on operating costs rather than fixed costs and will be bringing these issues before the Committee as they continue to take testimony on this bill next week. To share how this program would impact your business, please contact Amelia Seman.