Gov. Shumlin, lawmakers and businesses unveil Jobs Bill to get Vermonters back to work
SOUTH BARRE -- Feb. 3, 2011 – Gov. Peter Shumlin and key lawmakers, appearing at Vermont Butter and Cheese Co., today unveiled a comprehensive package of proposals to promote manufacturing, job training, veterans’ employment, value-added agriculture jobs and more to jumpstart Vermont’s economy.
“This is one of the most thorough, broad-reaching proposals to create and support good-paying jobs in Vermont that has been proposed in recent memory,” Gov. Shumlin said. “Any one of these proposals would be a step in the right direction toward getting Vermont’s back to work. Taken as a package, this Jobs Bill will stimulate every sector of Vermont’s economy.”
The Governor said it was vital that the Agency of Commerce and Community Development partner with the Agriculture Agency and the Department of Public Service and other state agencies and partners to promote everything from marketing to new workforce training.
“The Agriculture sector remains important to our state – without a doubt – and efforts such as Buy Local and the localvore movement, growth in our specialty food sectors, as well as diversification of our farming community will require more promotion and collaboration,” Gov. Shumlin said.
The Governor also highlighted efforts focused on creating and protecting good jobs for Vermont’s veterans and the long-term unemployed.
The bill would also stimulate manufacturing jobs, provide extensive job training and internships for young Vermonters, improving access to capital, and support efforts to strengthen healthy downtowns.
Gov. Shumlin thanked ACCD Secretary Lawrence Miller, Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross, Public Service Commissioner Elizabeth Miller and Karen Marshall, Chief of Connect VT, as well as everyone else across state government and elsewhere for their hard work to put together the sweeping package of economic proposals.
“These proposals shows an array of economic and community development activities that will help get our veterans and unemployed back to work, enable creative workforce development activities to fill much needed skills, revitalize our communities including our creative economy and value added agriculture as well as help expand existing business while we seek to attract new jobs to Vermont,” said ACCD Secretary Lawrence Miller. “We believe this array of initiatives shows the Governor’s commitment to vulnerable Vermonters and our important businesses and communities.”
Among the proposals:
• VETERAN AND LONG TERM UNEMPLOYED INCOME TAX CREDIT. An employer may apply for a tax rebate of up to $2,000 when the employer hires a veteran and up to 1,000 when the employer hires and retains into a new, full-time position, a long term unemployed individual.
• RETURN TO WORK TRAINING PROGRAM. A program to enable unemployed to be trained and gain work experience at an employer while collecting unemployment.
• SEASONAL WORKSHARE. This will allow employers interested in partnering to share workforces during their “off” season.
• ESTABLISH A CREATIVE ECONOMY OFFICE. The Film Commission Advisory Board will advise the office to focus on technology and other portions of the expansive creative economy.
• MENTORING ENTREPRENEURS. Comprised of business leaders committed to devoting their time and knowledge to growing the next generation of successful entrepreneurs.
• VALUE ADDED TRANSITION/DIVERSIFICATION PROGRAM. A new $1 million program at VEDA to help farmers seeking to transition and/or diversify out of conventional agriculture into other forms of agricultural production or value added agriculture. The program will offer flexible lending terms and funds will come from VEDA’s current farm lending resources.
• FUNDING FOR GAP (GOOD AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES) CERTIFICATION. Establish a matching fund program to help Vermont-grown producers obtain needed equipment and make building modifications to enable them to reach GAP or other food safety certifications (so they can access larger retail markets).
• “MADE IN VERMONT” Expand Vermont co-branding program to support Vermont’s agricultural sector as well as other Vermont enterprises that are positioned to use and support the Vermont brand.
• ENABLE THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SKILLED MEAT CUTTERS APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM. Expanding opportunities for locally grown foods includes the ability to process locally grown meat products here in Vermont.
• LOCAL FOODS COORDINATOR. State employee to coordinate food buyers, such as schools, state agencies and institutions (colleges and hospitals) with farmers and value added producers in Vermont.
• FARM TO SCHOOL PROGRAMS. Strategically focus funding to continue the competitive grant program for Farm to School to expand opportunities for Vermont producers to serve these markets and Vermont schools seeking to source locally grown products.
• ENABLE MARKETING OF CSA SHARES TO STATE EMPLOYEES. Authorize the marketing of CSA’s in state office buildings so state employees are aware of opportunities to buy locally grown products and support local farmers.
• STATEWIDE INTERNSHIP PROGRAM. Create a statewide internship program that links college and high school student with Vermont employers.
• GOVERNOR’S CAREER READINESS CERTIFICATE. Expanding an existing successful program.
• (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) STEM TAX CREDIT. A Vermont company that hires a qualified recent grad in this area will be able to claim 50 percent of expenditures (up to $5,000 a year, per new hire) that go toward relieving a new hire’s debt load, and credit on their corporate income tax. The new hire will be eligible to receive a $5,000 income tax credit every year for five years.
• LARGE ANIMAL VETERINARIAN LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM. Establish a loan repayment program to target these needed resources in under-served regions.
• ENABLE DEVELOPERS TO APPLY FOR AND RECEIVE DESIGNATION AND INCENTIVES UNDER THE VERMONT NEIGHBORHOOD PROGRAM
• MAXIMIZE PRIVATE INVESTMENT THROUGH THE FEDERAL NEW MARKET TAX CREDIT PROGRAM. Education of RDCs and other development entities in NMTC-eligible areas, particularly in the Northeast Kingdom. With partners, conduct outreach to in and out-of-state developers and investors to invest in or expand facilities in eligible areas.
• REENERGIZE OUR INDUSTRIAL PARKS for this and the next century.
• VERMONT BUSINESS PARTNER INCENTIVES. This would allow a Vermont company to earn a tax credit if they bring a vendor, supplier or customer to Vermont that will create jobs.
• EXPANSION OF EB5 PROGRAM to new sectors and enable program growth.
• THE VEPC INITIATIVE. Reauthorize VT Economic Growth Incentive (VEGI) and expansion of the program.
• VERMONT TRAINING PROGRAM. Add 5% to the health care allowance when considering the wages at the end of training for both new hires and incumbent workers.
• INCREASE SLAUGHTERHOUSE CAPACITY IN VERMONT
• VAAFM TRAVEL FUNDS FOR FEDERAL FARM BILL. Funds will be made available to allow the Vermont Agency of Agriculture to be involved regionally in the formation, interaction and movement toward passage of the Federal Farm Bill.
• MERCHANT BANKING. Improve funding for Vermont-scale businesses.
• LONG-RANGE ECONOMIC PLANNING. After developing a short term strategy, work on a long-term set of goals for the Vermont economy.
• MONITORING THE FARM TO PLATE PLAN.
• VERMONT SUSTAINABLE JOBS FUND. This will enable VSJF to apply Community Development Fund Institution (CDFI) designation and there by receive up to $2million in capitalization for the Flexible Capital Fund – a near equity, patient, mezzanine level financing fund for growth stage businesses in the VSJF’s market sectors.
CONTACT: Susan Allen