Vermont Chamber Investment in Advocacy Pays off for Businesses

The 2022 legislative session occurred amidst the stark reality that Vermont has 26,000 job openings and an unemployment rate of 2.7%. Even if every one of those nearly 9,000 Vermonters were hired today, we would still have just over 17,000 open jobs. Compounded by the fact that 25,500 less people are participating in the workforce than pre-pandemic, it was clear that the foundation for the Vermont Chamber’s advocacy this legislative session had to be addressing our workforce shortage and ensuring businesses weren’t burdened with new laws that would constrain their ability to emerge from the pandemic. The Vermont Chamber succeeded on most of our initial agenda items, including: 

  • Retaining Vermont workers with investments in training for workers in the trades, nursing, and mental health fields
  • Helping businesses emerge from the pandemic by providing forgivable loans, capital investments, and support for community revitalization and arts organizations
  • Increasing workforce housing supply through the Vermont Rental Housing Investment Program and the Missing Middle Homeownership Development Program
  • Providing increased tourism marketing to support the hospitality industry
  • Expanding the exemption of manufacturing inputs from sales and use tax
  • Providing continued savings on health care premiums for small business
  • Recruiting new workers to Vermont with a continuation of relocation incentives and exempting military pensions to attract retirees re-entering the workforce
  • Avoiding new costs like mandated wages, additional unemployment insurance burdens, and technology taxes

While Vermont businesses will continue to battle the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, including a constrained labor force, higher wages, reduced hours, 8.3% inflation, and endless supply chain problems, progress was made on many fronts due to the increased support of our members and our dedicated five-person Vermont Chamber advocacy team. House and Senate leaders on these issues will head into the campaign season with a strong record of supporting the Vermont Chamber agenda, and the Vermont business community. From our annual Vermont Economic Conference, to our State to Main policy podcast series, to supporting the Vermont Declaration of Inclusion initiative, the Vermont Chamber once again set the tone for making Vermont a better, more vibrant place to live, work, and play.