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Governor Scott’s Budget Includes Economic Development Proposals to Support Tech and Other Areas

Friday, January 24, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jeff Couture

Vermont Governor Phil Scott included a number of economic development proposals in his annual budget address to the Legislature last week, including those intended to help tech businesses in the state.  As always, these are proposals and they will reviewed and debated by legislators as they decide which will make it into the final budget.  Here are the highlights:

R&D Grant Program
The Governor proposed an investment of $1 million to help small technology businesses secure federal Small Business Innovation grants for research and development work and to “tap into the research capabilities at our colleges and universities.”  It also would include a state match to the federal grant.

Low Cost Loan/Grant Incentive
Another proposal intended to support technology-based economic development is the creation of a $1 million incentive program through the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) to provide low-cost loans that convert to no-cost grants after meeting expansion and payroll goals. 

Housing
The Governor proposed a $1 million incentive program to rehabilitate older homes into affordable, energy efficient rental properties, as well as reforms to the Renter Rebate Program. 

Business Portal
The budget includes $1 million for a “streamlined, online business portal,” developed in coordination with the Secretary of State, to make it easier to navigate state government. 

Investment Incentive for Large Employers
In recognition of “larger anchor employers—the cornerstones of our regional economies,” the Governor proposed a $3 million Vermont Capital Investment Incentive Program. This program is designed to provide a financial incentive these companies to make new upgrades at Vermont facilities, if they commit to maintain certain payroll levels.

Relocation Assistance
The budget proposed increased funding for the Department of Labor’s Vermont Relocation Assistance Program, which provides those interested in moving to Vermont information about jobs, housing and opportunities available to them across the state. 

Workforce Training and Education
The Governor said he directed the Department of Labor to work with the Vermont State Colleges and tech centers throughout the state to double the number of apprentices by 2023.  He also called for the alignment of adult education and technical education programs with the Community College of Vermont, Vermont Technical College, tech centers and regional stakeholders, to "create a seamless pathway from school to training to work.”

Grid Modernization Incentive
The proposed budged includes a $3.15 million Clean Grid Modernization Package designed to “encourage  the expansion and creation of companies that focus on energy storage, grid modernization and more,” which would make R&D work in these areas eligible for a tax credit, and provide $2 million in capital and technical assistance. In addition, the program would eliminate the corporate income tax for these companies.

The transcript of the Governor’s full address can be found here.