At the heart of Vermont’s prosperity are thriving local businesses, a vibrant workforce, and smart public investments. A 21st century economic development strategy requires looking beyond traditional economic development investments to tactics that support both our workforce and a strong culture of entrepreneurship and small business growth.
Main Street Alliance of Vermont’s 2018 State Policy Platform focuses on strategies that target support for small businesses and their employees in acknowledgment of the interdependent relationship between a community’s economic and environmental health and the success of the small businesses that bring their cities, towns, and villages together. In addition, many of these strategies are equalizers that will enable smaller “main street” businesses to better compete with larger businesses.
Main Street Alliance of Vermont has identified the following policies as opportunities and priorities for the 2017- 2018 biennium.
State Policy Platform
Family and Medical Leave Insurance: We support statewide efforts to establish a publicly administered, family and medical leave insurance program. A statewide insurance program will level the playing field for small “main street” businesses and make Vermont more affordable for and attractive to young professionals and working families.
Small Business Investment: We support small and local business entrepreneurship and growth and encourage the state to direct a majority of all economic development investments toward promotion of entrepreneurship and support for small and local businesses.
Affordable Child Care: We recognize the important relationship between a stable, supported workforce and accessible, affordable, high quality child care. With more than 70% of children under the age of six living in families that have all adults in the labor force, child care is a cornerstone of ensuring a healthy economy.
Health Care: Currently, the high cost of health care is creating an increased strain on businesses, families, and our state budget. We encourage the state to prioritize strategies that will slow or reduce the cost of health care, improve health outcomes, and de-couple health insurance coverage from employment, with the goal of achieving universal, publicly-financed health care.
Housing: Housing is an integral part of Vermont’s economy and a key workforce retention tool for employers and the state. We support efforts to expand housing options, making it more realistic for Vermonters to stay in or return to Vermont. With smart partnerships, planning, and investments, we can build and retrofit energy-efficient housing that is affordable and close to workplaces, transportation options, and downtowns.
Federal Policy Platform
Federal Tax Reform: We support a federal tax package that ensures adequate funding for vital services, like healthcare and education, which keep our communities healthy and thriving. Smart public investments in education, healthcare, infrastructure, and social programs stabilize our communities, keep families together, and ensure that we have a well-educated workforce with disposable income.