Agency of Commerce & Community Development Landlords and property owners that have vacant, unused rental properties may be eligible to receive up to a $30,000 grant per rental unit to fix up and renovate rental units and get them ready for use again. Grants are available from the Department of Housing and Community Development utilizing CARES Act funding to improve the overall quality, availability, and affordability of rental housing throughout the state.
Leonine Public Affairs The House Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to approve the full FY2021 budget this week. The bill, H.969, passed the House on Friday. The Senate Appropriations Committee spent much of the week reviewing the bill and will officially start work on it next week. Senate policy committees including Health and Welfare and Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs are preparing their recommendations for Senate Appropriations on how to allocate the almost $200 million in remaining Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars.
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Commissioner of Health Mark Levine, MD, issued the following statement about the development and future distribution of a possible COVID-19 vaccine: While we look forward to a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, we hear the fears expressed by many that political pressure is being applied to rush approval of a vaccine before it has been properly tested. Let me be clear. We stand with science.
Vermont Business Magazine The Northeast and the US as a whole are improving as COVID-19 case counts decrease in most areas of the country with the exception of the upper Midwest. Vermont continues to be "the safest place in America" as the state has the fewest total COVID-19 cases, the fewest cases per capita, and the lowest positivity rate. Dr Levine said Friday that as long as existing health precautions are followed, Vermonters can likely still look forward to Halloween. Yes, he said, that means wearing a mask.
by Jack Hoffman, Public Assets Institute Dithering in Washington has left a lot of states scrambling to figure out how to pay for the support and services their citizens desperately need. In Vermont, Washington’s paralysis means the Legislature will have just over a month to determine whether the $7.1 billion budget Governor Phil Scott proposed for the current fiscal year will be adequate to get Vermonters, including individuals and businesses who have seen federal support dry up, through the coronavirus pandemic. In a normal year, House and Senate committees spend four or five months taking testimony, negotiating, and deliberating on appropriations bills.
Vermont Business Magazine Attorney General TJ Donovan has prevailed on a motion-to-dismiss filed by Clearview AI in the lawsuit to stop the facial recognition company from collecting and selling images of Vermonters. The Court’s ruling means the case, which was filed in April, may now move forward. The case is pending in Chittenden Superior Court, Civil Division. In its motion, Clearview failed to persuade the Court that it has a First Amendment right to engage in its facial recognition surveillance practices and “near absolute immunity” from suit under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Clearview also argued that the State’s claims were void for vagueness under the Constitution and that the State lacked standing to bring the suit. The Court rejected all of these arguments.
by Representative Jill Krowinski & Senator Becca Balint This year will surely go down in history. It will be remembered as the year that everything changed. Across the globe, the coronavirus has caused closures, disruptions, and a shocking loss of human life. Even with Vermont’s comparative success limiting the spread of the pandemic, Vermonters remain anxious about what lies ahead.
by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Weekly unemployment claims were slightly down last week and continue to be relatively flat in Vermont. There are about 40,000 Vermonters still receiving either regular or pandemic unemployment benefits. After a spike of claims at the beginning of the pandemic, followed by a steep decline as the economy began to reopen in April, initial unemployment claims fell consistently since the beginning of July before flattening over the last month.
Vermont Business Magazine The Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets is pleased to announce up to $1 million available in funding for the Capital Equipment Assistance Program. Financial assistance is available for new or innovative equipment that will aid in the reduction of surface runoff of agricultural wastes to state waters, improve water quality of state waters, reduce odors from manure application, separate phosphorus from manure, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce costs to farmers when they apply manure or implement a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP). Eligible recipients include farms, custom applicators, non-profit organizations, and other related businesses.
Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today issued the following statement: “Nineteen years ago, this morning, I was at work when a report came over the radio that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers in New York. I stopped what I was doing and turned on the television. I watched as another plane flew into the second tower and it soon became clear that our nation was under attack. I watched as we learned a third plane had hit the Pentagon and then a fourth went down in rural Pennsylvania. And I watched as the towers came down and sat in disbelief seeing the images of smoke rising from New York City. We all watched, in real time, as the world was changed forever."
Vermont Business Magazine Peter Gregory, AICP, Executive Director of Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC) in Woodstock, Vermont, is the recipient of the 2020 Arthur Gibb Award for Individual Leadership. The Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) presents this honor annually to a Vermont resident who has made a lasting contribution to their community, region or state in the ways they integrate smart growth and conservation.
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont House today gave preliminary approval to the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget, H.969 on a vote of 140-4. The bill must go through the Senate and then back to the House for any reconciliation before it lands on Governor Scott's desk. This could take three or four weeks. It appropriates the remaining Coronavirus Relief Funds, providing critical relief across the state. Scattered throughout the budget are targeted 3% General Fund reductions and 5% Internal Service Fund reductions. About $100 million is targeted for economic recovery, $33 million less than the governor proposed.