GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT SIGNS S.34 and H.495, SUPPORTING RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, THE FOREST ECONOMY AND FARMS
Albany, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott today signed S.34, an act relating to rural economic development, and H.495, an act relating to miscellaneous agriculture and subjects, highlighting the state’s commitment to our agriculture sector and spurring economic growth for rural communities.
These bills create a new exemption from the Vermont sales and use tax for specific types of machinery and equipment used in timber cutting, timber removal, and the processing of timber or other solid wood forest products intended to be sold at retail.
S.34 reconvenes the Vermont Milk Commission, charging it with putting forward proposals to the Vermont Congressional delegation for inclusion in the 2018 Federal farm bill to stabilize our diary industry, an examination of how to bring down workers’ compensation rates for high risk industries, and the creation of a Rural Economic Development Initiative.
H.495 provides a necessary clarification to existing statute that dyed diesel is not subject to Vermont’s sales and use tax, and creates a Water Quality Assistance program to assist timber harvesters in remaining compliant with water quality requirements.
“Vermont has been the only state in the northeast to charge sales tax on logging and processing equipment and parts – until now,” said Gov. Scott. “By reducing the cost of doing business, this change will give entrepreneurs more flexibility, as they carefully prioritize each precious dollar to keep their business and equipment moving, buildings heated, mills supplied with logs and Vermonters employed.”
Several legislators, loggers, farmers, and industry stakeholders, including the Vermont Forest Products Association and Vermont Traditions Coalition came to show support for the positive impacts these bills will have on the rural economy.
"This is a relatively small, but significant, step in supporting a critically important segment of our economy – a step that will help loggers, foresters and landowners maintain healthy working forests and the many benefits they provide," said Forests, Parks, and Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder. “We appreciate the Governor's leadership and the legislative support for this effort, and hope to build on it as we continue to work toward a sustainable, robust and modern forest economy that works for Vermont."
“We will continue to focus on enhancing the opportunity to operate, grow or invest in forest and farm-based businesses in Vermont,” said Gov. Scott. “I want to thank the Senate and House Agriculture Committees, the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and all legislators who worked on these two bills.”
Click here for more information on the sales and use tax exemption, and visit http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2018/S.34 to view S.34, and http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2018/H.495 to view H.495.