Remote Worker Incentive Author Defends Program’s Benefits
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Posted by: Jeff Couture
Unfazed by a critical report about the state’s remote worker program, Sen. Michael Sirotkin hopes to increase the incentives for new Vermonters when the Legislature reconvenes next year.
Sirotkin, chair of the Senate Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee, hopes that lawmakers look again at the notion of helping people pay off their student loans as an added incentive to move to Vermont. That idea came up as legislative activity was winding down last spring.
“We’d maybe start first with people who graduated from Vermont schools, or who grew up in Vermont,” said Sirotkin. Sirotkin, D-Chittenden, was one of the creators of the remote worker program in the winter of 2018. “That might be the tipping point for them to come back.”
Vermont’s remote worker program, which reimburses newcomers for up to $10,000 of some expenses if they move to Vermont to work for a job outside the state, generated international interest when it became law in 2018. The state Agency of Commerce and Community Development, which administers the program, has said nearly 300 people have moved to the state — either the remote workers themselves or their friends and relatives -— as a result of the program. State officials said publicity about the program generated 1 billion social media impressions internationally.
State Auditor Doug Hoffer’s Nov. 12 report on the program was critical of its premise — saying there’s no way of knowing if people would have moved to Vermont without the incentive — and of many choices ACCD made in granting the money.
Read the VTDigger article.