Sivan Cotel, Co-Founder of Stonecutter Spirits speaks at the event. Courtesy Secretary of State.
Vermont Business Magazine On Tuesday Secretary of State Jim Condos joined Senators Chris Pearson and Michael Sirotkin, Representative Linda Myers, Deputy Secretary of Commerce & Community Development Ted Brady, and local business leaders at Stonecutter Spirits Highball Social in Burlington to discuss ongoing efforts to increase access and ease of use for business owners, entrepreneurs, and citizens who need to interact with Vermont government agencies.
“Our small businesses play a vital role in growing our economy,” said Secretary of State Jim Condos. “My office has worked hard, in partnership with both the Department of Taxes and Department of Labor, to reduce burdens on small business owners when they interact with our agencies. I look forward to building on these successes, so that our small business owners can spend their time focused on running their businesses and growing Vermont’s economy.”
The subject of the event was Act 196 (S.85), passed in the 2018 Legislative session. Act 196 is a tri-partisan effort to enhance the Secretary of State’s one-stop business portal by establishing a steering committee chaired by the Secretary of State and including the Secretaries of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Agency of Digital Services.
“I appreciate Secretary Condos and the Legislature’s efforts as we work together to modernize and simplify systems throughout state government,” Governor Scott added. “A focus on continuous improvement and support for employee-driven reforms that improve customer service, efficiency and productivity are making a real and measurable difference. There is much more work to do to bring state government’s systems into the 21st Century and Act 196 – along with significantly simplifying the process for creating a business in Vermont – is a valuable step forward.”
"It’s great to do business in Vermont, where the Legislature is working hard to support us and help businesses thrive together,” said Sivan Cotel, Co-Founder of Stonecutter Spirits who spoke at the event about his experience founding Stonecutter Spirits and Highball Social. “Starting and growing a business will never be easy, but S.85 looks to reduce the logistical burden so that we can all focus on the bigger picture.”
Act 196 assigns a project manager to assist the Steering Committee in reviewing and considering the necessary steps to enhance the one-stop business portal for businesses, entrepreneurs, and citizens to provide information about starting, maintaining and expanding a business in Vermont, with a focus on small businesses.
Senator Chris Pearson, lead co-sponsor of S.85 spoke at the event saying, “I’m pleased we are making progress that will help small businesses get started and more easily interact with state government. Small businesses are the lifeblood of Vermont’s economy and we owe it to them to make government interface as streamlined as possible. S.85 is an important step in that direction.”
The bill received broad support in the Legislature, and was signed into law by Governor Phil Scott as Act 196.
“In my committee we frequently hear the concerns of business regarding state bureaucracy and paperwork,” said Senator Michael Sirotkin, who is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs. “I am proud of the tri-partisan work that produced S.85, which will no doubt be a huge step forward in helping small business address such concerns in a very concrete and straightforward manner.”
“When S.85 came to the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development we were unanimous in agreeing this was a step forward, especially for small businesses,” said Representative Linda Myers. “For years businesses have faced multiple roadblocks in finding an easy access to the information required to open a business in the state. While S.85 does not eliminate the requirements for opening a business, it sets a clear and logical pathway, at a single site, for business owners to gather all the information needed to open their doors in Vermont.”
Other speakers included Ashley Moore, State Director of the Main Street Alliance and Cathy Davis, the Executive Vice President of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The Steering Committee will provide a design proposal that includes a project scope, timeline, roadmap, and cost projections to the Legislature in December. Small business owners are encouraged to contact the Secretary of State’s office to share their ideas about how to improve the necessary interactions with state government.
Source: Secretary of State 10.9.2018. www.sec.state.vt.us