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 2019- 2020 biennium.
State Policy Platform
Family & Medical Leave Insurance: We support the creation of a statewide family and medical leave insurance program that will level the playing field for small businesses and ensure working Vermonters and families can thrive.
Small Business Investment: We encourage the state to target business investments to support Vermont entrepreneurs and small and locally-owned independent businesses. With nearly 99 percent of Vermont businesses employing fewer than 100 people, employing 62 percent of Vermont’s workers, and paying 60 percent of all wages, small businesses are an integral part of the Vermont economy.
Child Care: We support increased public investments in high-quality, affordable child care. More than 70% of Vermont children under age six have all of their parents in the labor force, and half of those infants and toddlers don’t have access to any regulated care. Access to high-quality, affordable child care is key to ensuring a stable workforce, healthy economy and thriving small business sector.
Health Care Reform: We believe the current health care system is creating a strain on businesses, families, and the state budget. We encourage the prioritization of strategies that will slow or reduce the costs of health care, improve health outcomes, and de-couple health insurance coverage from employment.
Broadband: We believe the availability of reliable internet connection is critical to the success of entrepreneurs and small businesses and we support efforts to expand access, with a particular focus on underserved rural communities.
Housing: We believe housing is an integral part of Vermont’s economy and a key workforce retention tool for employers and the state and 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.