What a long and unusual final last week for the Vermont State Legislature. Usually we’re finished up our budget and have adjourned by mid-May, but Covid-19 had other plans and kept us until the final fall of the gavel at 8:43pm on Friday, June 26th. Unfortunately, after all the hard work, many hours and compromise, we still aren’t finished and will be returning on Tuesday, August 25th to work on the next part of the budget.
Over the last four months we have worked hard to pass a challenging budget for quarter one of the FY2021 with many uncertainties regarding our revenue projections. In the wake of Covid-19 we put forth a tri-partisan effort on many bills to get relief to Vermonters who need it.
Over the last few weeks we got to work passing dozens of programs worth hundreds of million dollars to assist the economic recovery of our state. The Federal CARES Act provided the State of Vermont $1.25 billion and on Friday we finished up passing the legislation allocating that money. These bills are very complex and hard to follow so here are some highlights:
- General Business Grants Phase 1 (S.350) = $70 Million
- General Business Grants Phase 2 (H.966) = $93.5 Million
- Agriculture/Food/Working Lands Grants = $39 Million
- Technical and Marketing Assistance = $9 Million
- Local Government Reimbursements = $15 Million
- Housing Assistance = $85 Million
- Connectivity/Utility Assistance = $31 Million
- Health Care = $367 Million
- Food Insecurity = $21.7 Million
- Children/Family/Vulnerable Population Support = $14.7 Million
One of the most important bills we passed was to help our local, small businesses. The Vermont Economic Recovery Grants application process will open on Monday, July 6th. Please refer to the ACCD for eligibility criteria and for links to the applications for General Business Grants, Women and Minority-Owned Business Grants, and Outdoor Recreation Business Grants: https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/economic-recovery-grants. If you are a restaurant, retailer, lodging property, etc., please refer to this Dept. of Taxes site for the eligible criteria and applications: https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/economic-recovery-grants.
The bills passed were pretty complex and hard to explain in this brief legislative update, but you can refer to the House website below to see a spreadsheet of the money: https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/WorkGroups/Senate%20Appropriations/Bills/H.965/H.965~Stephanie%20Barrett~Total%20Economic%20Stabilization%20and%20Recovery%20-%20UPDATED~6-26-2020.pdf
It has been nothing short of a true honor to serve the people of St. Albans these last two years. As most of the work has yet to come, I’m proud to say I’ve served during one of the most unique times in this state's history, and I wouldn’t change it for a second. Thank you for allowing me to represent you in the Legislature and please reach out to me anytime with any questions, comments or concerns going forward at my email: [email protected]. Have a great Fourth of July Weekend!
Rep. Casey J. Toof
Franklin 3-1 St. Albans