House Appropriations Committee Reviews Grants, Broadband, and Housing

The House Appropriations Committee took testimony from legislators on various aspects of the FY2023 budget and received recommendations from several committees on programs under their jurisdictions. Rep. Matt Birong (D-Vergennes), a restaurant owner, testified in support of the full FY2022 appropriation for the Economic Recovery Grants to be used for the VEDA forgivable loan program. The House Energy and Technology Committee recommended a $95 million appropriation of federal ARPA funds to the VT Community Broadband Board, but was split on a proposal to expand cell coverage around the state. Most Committee members supported some funding, but not the full $51.5 million of ARPA funds proposed by Governor Scott. The House General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee recommended appropriating $50 million of ARPA funds to VHCB for housing programs, and $5 million to DHCD for grants to Vermont municipalities in support of development of rental housing. The House Appropriations Committee will use these recommendations to inform their markup of the bill after the Town Meeting Day recess, and the Vermont Chamber will continue working to ensure that critical workforce, housing, and childcare investments are included.