Legislative Preview Presentations Further Inform Business Priorities

In advance of the 2024 Legislative Session, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce reintroduced its annual Legislative Preview Presentation series to provide guidance on the business priorities for the session and provide information on legislative activities and advocacy opportunities. This series creates opportunities for business leaders to engage with the Vermont Chamber advocacy team to discuss policy concerns around Vermont and inform the business agenda.

Local chambers of commerce and business associations hosted the Vermont Chamber’s advocacy team in Addison, Bennington, Chittenden, Lamoille, and Rutland County. Each event featured a presentation on policy opportunities and pressures expected in the upcoming session and a robust discussion.

“We are grateful for the continued partnerships with local business organizations and opportunities to bring together regional business communities for robust policy discussions,” said Megan Sullivan, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Vermont Chamber. “Following these events, it’s clear that there are common themes that are impacting businesses across Vermont regardless of differences in geography, industry, or size.”

Middle-income housing was at the forefront of each event, specifically, the need to modernize Act 250, reduce cost and time barriers for private developers, invest in local infrastructure, and create incentives for the adaptive reuse of vacant buildings. Workforce recruitment and retention also remained a foundational concern that is intertwined with all other top priorities. Businesses statewide understand that to create a stronger Vermont economy, we must leverage strategies to meet the need to increase Vermont’s population to 802,000 by 2035.

Affordability was an ongoing concern collectively shared by the Vermont business community. Weighing new tax proposals against existing tax and cost burdens would create a Vermont business climate that allows time for the cost burden of recent years to be implemented and absorbed. Simultaneously, the business climate is being impacted by the uptick in public and employee safety concerns and retail theft. The repercussions of the negative press that this generates for Vermont further impact our visitor economy.

The Legislative Preview Presentations facilitated connections with hundreds of business leaders across the state of Vermont throughout November and December 2023. Business leaders in attendance gained in-depth insights into the legislative landscape and strengthened their advocacy skills to effectively influence policies that drive business growth.