Increased the Number of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts
- Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a tool designed to stimulate private development, support public infrastructure investments, and benefit taxpayers. The Governor proposed and signed (Act 69 of 2017) legislation creating six new TIF districts throughout the state.
Expanded Downtown and Village Center Tax Credits
- Continuous expansion of the Downtown and Village Center Tax Credit program, including:
- An additional $200,000, resulting in tax incentives for 22 projects in 11 counties across Vermont in FY18,
- Another $200,000 for this important program in FY20 to revitalize our downtowns, bringing the program total to $2.6 million.
Act 250 Reform
- Introduced a series of initiatives to modernize and reform the regulatory process. This effort aimed to streamline the permitting process, reduce duplication and increase predictability, all while preserving important protections for natural resources. Specifically, the Governor’s proposal called for:
- Creating an enhanced designation process that would remove Act 250 jurisdictions for state designated centers that demonstrate robust zoning and protections;
- Strengthening the presumption of other state permits in order to mitigate the overlap between Act 250 and other environmental permitting programs;
- Supporting rural industrial park development by simplifying the process and reducing fees;
- Allowing more flexibility for our forest product businesses;
- Removing on-farm accessory businesses that rely on agritourism and direct-to-consumer business from Act 250 jurisdiction;
- Exempting federal-aid transportation projects (which already receive significant federal oversight) from Act 250 review; and
- Modernizing and improving protections for unique natural resource areas, forest blocks, connecting habitats, flood hazard areas, and river corridors.
Supporting Small Business Development
- Proposed and passed an increase in the number of small business advisors in Vermont, with priority for underserved counties, to provide small businesses greater access to resources and counsel, helping them thrive.
- Proposed and passed the ThinkVermont Innovation initiative, which aims to accelerate small business growth by making funding available, leveraging federal programs, testing cutting edge broadband deployments, and assisting in the development of co-working and other non-traditional work environments.
Leveraging our Outdoor Recreation Assets for Economic Growth
- Through Executive Order, created the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC), a task force to strengthen and expand Vermont's outdoor recreation economy and support overall economic growth. Acting on the Group’s first set of recommendations, the Scott Administration:
- Proposed and passed the “Outdoor Recreation-Friendly Community” pilot program, to grow local outdoor recreation economies. You can view the recipients by clicking here.
- The FY20 budget signed by the Governor expands this important program by an additional $100,000.
- Launched a new camping gear loan program in state parks, giving more Vermonters access to Vermont’s camping facilities to expand interest in outdoor activities.
- VOREC’s recommendations have also led to the creation of a private sector group, the Outdoor Business Alliance.
Expanding Access to Broadband
- The Governor proposed and—with the help of the Legislature—passed, legislation and funding to improve broadband and connectivity across Vermont. This includes:
- Nearly $1 million to fund connectivity-related grants that support broadband buildout;
- Half-a-million-dollars to create a partnership with the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) that invests in broadband development in underserved areas;
- Increased investment in the ThinkVermont Innovation Initiative specifically for technical assistance grants to help Vermont municipalities planning broadband projects; and
- A new Rural Broadband Technical Assistance Specialist to support broadband development in rural areas.
Strengthening Our Rural, Farm and Forestry Economies
- To support lower workers’ compensation rates for employers, the Departments of Financial Regulation and Forest, Parks and Recreation directed the National Council on Compensation Insurance to combine the log hauling employer class with the contract trucking class, resulting in a 24% rate reduction for log haulers. This will result in significant cost savings for employers in this sector.
- Proposed and passed a Sales and Use Tax exemption for logging and processing equipment and parts.
- Proposed and passed clarification to existing law that dyed diesel is not subject to Vermont’s sales and use tax.
- Proposed and passed a change to Act 250 permitting to allow sawmills under 3.5 million board feet to be processed as "minor" applications, making it easer for these businesses to responsibly operate.
- Proposed exempting recreational trails from Act 250 jurisdiction. The Legislature passed a directive to the Commission on Act 250 to evaluate regulation of trails and alternative structures for the planning, review, and construction of future trail networks and the extension of existing trail networks.
- The Agency of Commerce and Community Development is working on recommendations for a program to designate parcels in rural areas as industrial parks for the purposes of providing regulatory and permitting incentives to businesses sited in the industrial park.
- Proposed and passed requirement for the Department of Public Service to report on the effect of electric utility demand charges on the ability of industrial enterprises to locate in rural towns.
- Proposed and passed protections for forest operations from liability as a public or private nuisance.
- Signed into law Act 77 of 2017, supporting an initiative from the Legislature that caps the air contaminant permit fee for emissions from anaerobic digesters at $1,000 and clarifies that phosphorus removal technology is eligible for assistance under Agency of Agriculture.
- The FY20 budget invests $1 million to support working lands—with $500,000 dedicated to the dairy industry—as well as $120,000 to strengthen our forest products economy and support logger safety.
- Boosted funding for farm-to-school by an additional $50,000 in the FY20 budget.
Supporting the Aviation and Aerospace Corridor
- Proposed and passed legislation, Act 69 of 2017, to make permanent the airplane part sales tax exemption, supporting the aviation sector and strengthening the emerging Vermont-Quebec aerospace corridor.
Growing the Financial Services Sector
- Changes in federal law mean many reinsurance businesses – previously ceded to offshore affiliates – will be returning to the U.S. Capitalizing on Vermont’s leadership in the captive insurance industry, the Administration and Legislature acted quickly to update Vermont law so the State could support these businesses, making Vermont a top destination for re-locating businesses in this sector.
Marketing Vermont as a Place to Live, Work and Visit
- Proposed and passed an increased investment in marketing and implementing the Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s marketing plan, which emphasizes pitching Vermont as a place to live, work, and raise a family. This includes the launch of the ThinkVermont brand and website.
Improving Economic Incentives
- Proposed legislation that would modernize the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive (VEGI) by making it easier for small businesses and mission-drive businesses (B-corps, L3Cs, etc.) to utilize the program.