Early Win Possible on Business Recovery Grants

The Scott Administration initially proposed to redeploy the remaining $26 million of business grants to other worthy projects while creating a new loan program for struggling businesses. While it’s less than 10% of the $350 million in State business grant relief that has been allocated during the pandemic, it would provide meaningful relief to the small business in the lodging, restaurant, and wedding industries. The Vermont Chamber cried foul and worked to prove that the formula and process were flawed. After much lobbying, including emails from members to legislators, the Senate Economic Development Committee is set to make changes so that small businesses can access these funds quickly.

The proposal moves the money to the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) for loans that could be converted to grants, like the PPP loans. However, applicants will have the opportunity to apply for forgiveness at the same time as applying for the loan so it would take minimal time for the loan being converted to the grant. Many details need to be worked out, but there is consensus building around this direction. This is just the first step in a long process to ensure this $26 million is granted to businesses as promised last year.