Governor Phil Scott announced his proposal for an additional $133 million in economic relief and recovery initiatives, using funds from the $1.25 billion the state received from the Federal CARES Act. As with previous proposals the Governor and his administration will work with the legislature to bring further relief to Vermonters and Vermont businesses.
This latest proposal focuses on four key areas of continued investment in economic development and business support to help Vermonters experiencing loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting mitigation measures:
Business Support ($23M)
Through the administration of the current Emergency Economic Recovery Grant Program passed by the legislature, ACCD and the Department of Taxes identified several “gaps” in access to recovery and relief funding for certain businesses. This proposed money is intended to close those gaps for the following business types:
- Revenue Loss Changes: Pursuant to Act 115 and 137, a business has to prove revenue loss of 50% or more in any given month in 2020 as compared to 2019. The Agency and Department would like to extend financial relief to businesses who have suffered between 30%-50% loss over a sustained period of time (3 months). Many businesses who applied, and denied, were just under the 50% threshold.
- Relief for Sole Proprietors: The current grant program only offers financial relief for sole proprietor businesses that are woman-owned. They’d like to open that up to every sole proprietor.
- Non-Profit Relief: A lot of non-profits in communities were deemed ineligible because they have unique revenue situations – ACCD has heard from several, small non-profits on the brink of closing because of a technicality in the legislation.
- Financial Relief for “Even Newer” Businesses: New businesses that formed after March 1, 2019 were ineligible for grants. Pursuant to Act 115 and Act 137, businesses have to show previous year’s revenue losses. Many new businesses have suffered and continue to suffer.
Targeted Tourism and Hospitality Grants ($50M)
The tourism and hospitality industry has seen incredible loss and decline as travel and capacity restrictions continue to impact this sector. These grants are intended as direct payments to businesses in these sectors to bring economic relief and fund recovery solutions to help them survive in the current climate as fall and winter approach.
Buy Local Initiative ($50M)
Every Vermont household will receive $150 dollars as part of a buy local campaign to spur economic activity that supports Vermont businesses.
- Due to rules around the usage of CRF funds, these cannot be direct cash payments to Vermonters.
- Instead each Vermonter will get the equivalent of a discount card to use at participating local businesses allowing them to purchase Vermont products, with CRF money going directly to the business.
Economic Development and Tourism Marketing ($10M)
Economic Development and Tourism Marketing funds to, within the context of COVID-19, leverage social, earned, and owned media to bring more revenue to Vermont. Strategies include targeted marketing to visitors from safe regions for foliage and winter seasons, increase sales of local products to support Vermont businesses, and encourage people to consider relocating to Vermont, the safest and healthiest place in the U.S. to live, work and play.