New VEGI Bill Considered Following Vermont Chamber Testimony for Balanced Modernization

It became clear this week, to the point of legislators reading from Wikipedia, that consensus could not be reached on a path forward to modernize the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive (VEGI) program. The Vermont Chamber advocated for a program analysis by an established and well-respected third-party. Specifically, one with an understanding of best practices in economic development and without emotional ties to, or against, the program. An updated version of H.10 now has a placeholder for a study contracted by the Joint Fiscal Office or conducted by a legislative panel to look at the structure of the Vermont Economic Progress Council and VEGI. The Vermont Chamber will be advocating for a study modeled on the success of other states like Michigan. 

In stark contrast to those that have evaluated this program in the past, Dr. Ellen Harpel of the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness provided testimony that highlighted how reviews of incentive programs should be approached and the importance of incentive programs, even for small states with small programs. As the bill progresses, the Vermont Chamber will continue to advocate for a modernized version of the program to ensure the only business incentive program in Vermont is not eliminated.