August 2, 2022
Since our last legislative update we’ve been shifting gears to focus on policy areas outside of the Vermont legislature and to build priorities ahead of the next session.
In this update:
- VOTE in Vermont Primary Elections between now and August 9th!
- Forgivable loan for businesses impacted by COVID not across the finish line just yet
- Vermont tax revenues are strong, but will fizzle soon
- CHIPS+ bill to bring funds to Vermont
- Inflation Reduction Act – Massive Federal Spending – Looks Likely to Pass
- Join our conversation around benefits cliffs
- The Laundry List
VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!
You might have seen our recent push to get out and vote in the primary election. That’s because if you don’t vote in the Vermont primary, you might find that most of the decisions have already been made when you step into a voting booth in November (it’s not just us saying this). After this primary election, you can almost count the number of competitive races in the state on two hands.
Some subtleties about voting in Vermont:
- You can select one party’s ballot to vote in the primary election (Democrat, Republican, or Progressive Party), and you do not need to be registered for that party in order to vote with the ballot you choose.
- Be sure to check both sides of the ballot. Some big electoral contests, such as the Chittenden County State’s Attorney race, are on the back.
- You can vote any time between now and August 9th. If you have not sent in your mail-in ballot yet, you may want to drop it off at your town clerk instead of mailing it!
Also, if you use Twitter, you can use this Twitter list to easily follow along the day of with reporters all across the state.
Launch Delayed for Forgivable Loan for Businesses Struggling Due to COVID
As part of the economic package passed this last session, the Vermont Economic Development Authority was to create a forgivable loan for Vermont businesses affected by the pandemic. Statute required that VEDA build the program in communication with the legislative Joint Fiscal Office and that it come before the Joint Fiscal Committee. On Thursday, VEDA presented their current draft of the program and highlighted current issues around coming to a final consensus. The issues should be resolved within the next two weeks.
Vermont Tax Revenues Strong For Now, Fading Next Year
We’ve known that booming state budget growth has been headed for a slowdown; however, we got the first glimpse this past week when the Legislature’s and Governor’s economists delivered their consensus revenue forecast. The state is ahead of revenue forecasts this fiscal year by about $150 million, however, the following year looks to see $40 million more than previously forecasted, then things look as if they will start to fizzle.
Massive Semiconductor Bill Passes – Will Benefit Vermont
The CHIPS+ bill passed last week and will have an impact on Vermont’s largest for-profit employer, GlobalFoundries. This bill might be the biggest industrial policy investment in the last 50-years and aims to take back U.S. market share for the global chips market. The legislation will inject $54.2 billion in subsidies to expand semiconductor production.
Inflation Reduction Act: Massive, Historic, and Likely to Pass?
Most D.C. observers and truly, most members of the Senate, were caught flat-footed by the release of a reconciliation package crafted in negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schummer and Senator Joe Manchin, which would be able to pass the Senate without Republican support. This might have been by design to ensure passage of the CHIPS+ bill with Republican support. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, as it’s called, leans on a few pay-fors including a 15 percent corporate minimum tax, additional funding for IRS tax enforcement, and a tax hike on carried interest.
These investments are huge, however, they probably won’t look that new, given they are a rebranding of the Build Back Better Act. Three the big things we’re watching are; ACA subsidies, money for climate mitigation, the SALT cap discussion.
- We’ve been waiting on D.C. to extend the Affordable Care Act advanced premium tax credits that are set to expire at the end of the year. ARPA allowed Vermont to unmerge our small and big group markets which has allowed our Vermont businesses to pay less to insure their employees.
- The proposed legislation could almost instead be referred to as the “Emissions Reduction Act” as it seeks to put ~$385 million into climate action. With Vermont statutorily obligated to meet strict emissions reduction benchmarks that are looking unattainable, we could use whatever help could come to the state.
- While Senator Manchin sides with much of the Republican party in retaining the Trump era cap on state and local tax deductions (SALT), the lifting of the penalty on blue states has been a continued element of the dialogue to date. If you’re a frequent reader of our updates, you’ll know that LCC has continually advocated for a workaround of this cap at the state level.
Are Benefits Cliffs Holding Back Vermont’s Economy?
The Lake Champlain Chamber has for a long time sought to include benefits cliff consideration in policy discussions, and we hope to build on that work this fall and into the legislative session. LCC’s Advocacy team is hosting an informal meeting with organizations and members who have similar concerns on September 1st at 3:00 p.m. If you would like to be at the table, please email [email protected].
Sponsor An Advocacy Newsletter
These updates keep our members and legislators apprised of the weekly happenings in the Montpelier State House. We’d appreciate your continued support of our update and have some improvements year-over-year:
- We had an impressive 35% open rate!
- 82% of page viewers left the update to go to a link we provided within the update; either a sponsor’s link, a resource, a related document, or another update we linked.
- At least 150 page views on average could not be accounted for by our email outreach, indicating people are actively searching out the content or having it forwarded to them.
If you are interested in sponsoring one of these updates, please email [email protected]
The Laundry List
- Our Advocacy team talked with WCAX’s Calvin Cutler about the need for more housing options to further our region’s economy – WATCH
- LCC submitted a letter last year in support of a grant to connect Burlington and South Burlington via a pedestrian bridge. Public comment is starting soon. Learn more here.
- LCC co-hosted a forum with candidates for State’s Attorney – WATCH
- ALL ABOARD! We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the start of Ethan Allen service to Burlington’s waterfront which launched last Friday. Our team was there for the historic occasion and we are so grateful for everyone who put in decades of work to bring this asset to fruition.
- Speaking of visiting Burlington, our team recently toured the new construction at Burlington International Airport and are so excited for visitors to experience the facility as early as this fall!
- The Vermont Office of the Legislative Counsel has published their 2022 Acts Summary Book.