Economic Recovery Package - H.966

On June 26th, the legislature appropriated $96,000,000 to support the economic recovery of Vermont’s business sector through bill H.966

A chart summarizing all of the bills can be found here. The column marked “Senate” represents the final language. Note this chart also includes the proposals from the House and the Governor, which were not enacted into law.

For the purposes of H.966, the economic hardship suffered by a business has been reduced to a threshold of 50%. In that a business must show that they have experienced a 50% or greater loss in a one month period between March 1st, 2020 and August 31st, 2020 to be eligible. If your business files Rooms and Meals or Sales and Use taxes, your grant will be administered by the Department of Tax. If your business does not file Rooms and Meals or Sales and Use, your grant will be administered through the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

The amount of Economic Recovery Grants administered by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Department of Taxes will be derived by the following formula:

  • Indicated/reported gross annual revenue (or annual combined total sales as reported on meals and rooms or sales and use tax returns) multiplied by 10 percent
  • The maximum grant ceiling amount is $50,000

More information can be found at the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) website.

Applications will be available starting on Monday, July 6th, 2020

Here are the following allocations of H.966:

  • $56,000,000 was appropriated to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and $26,000,000 Department of Taxes to further support businesses who have suffered due to COVID-19 as was enacted in Act 115 on July 19th. 
  • $2.5 Million was appropriated to ACCD to administer grants for the Working Lands Enterprise Fund. These businesses are within the agricultural, food and forest, and wood products industries and can be used for economic loss or to assist a business in adapting its products to changes in available markets or supply chains that are caused by the COVID-19, provided that such assistance is clearly necessary to ensure the continued viability of the business due to COVID-19. 
  • $5 Million has been appropriated to ACCD to grant to the Vermont Community Loan Fund, working in collaboration with the Vermont Commission on Women. This program will provide grants to businesses that have from zero to five employees and are at least 51% woman-owned or at least 51% minority-owned. 
  • $1.5 Million was appropriated to the Agency of Natural Resources for grants to outdoor recreation businesses for costs or expenses necessary to comply with or implement COVID-19 public health precautions, including:
    • cleaning, disinfection, and personal protection services and equipment; 
    • symptom monitoring or diagnosis for customers or participants; 
    • signage or informational material concerning public health precautions;
    • temporary staff housing necessary to maintain public health precautions; and 
    • maintenance or repair of trails where damage is caused by increased usage during the declared COVID-19 public health emergency
  • $5 Million has been appropriated to ACCD to grant to the Vermont Arts Council for grants to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. 
  • $2,500,000 to the Department of Tourism and Marketing to create a Restart Vermont marketing program to encourage visitation and consumer spending in Vermont to support businesses that have suffered economic harm due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This program will be tasked with developing the following: 
    • Marketing activities to promote travel to and within Vermont to increase consumer spending at tourism, hospitality, retail, and related businesses
    • A statewide or regional consumer stimulus programs or consumer purchasing incentives that maximize the effect of local consumer spending, including at restaurants, lodging establishments, retail stores, and tourism attractions. 
    • The Department shall investigate the feasibility of establishing a consumer incentive program to provide to front-line workers who receive hazard pay through the Front-Line Employees Hazard Pay Grant Program with meaningful discounts or other incentives by and at participating Vermont restaurants and to promote restaurants participating in the program through distinctive signage and other means
  • $2,500,000.00 to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development to create a Restart Vermont business assistance program, through which the Agency shall make available to businesses, professional and technical assistance through qualified Recovery Navigators, whose services will include: 
    • business operations, financial management, and grant writing; 
    • digital strategies; 
    • architecture and physical space design; 
    • reconfiguring manufacturing equipment and processes and incorporating safety measures; 
    • technology and software consulting; and 
    • legal and other professional services.
  • $5,000,000.00 to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development to grant to Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA)to act as fiscal agent for a statewide program: Restaurants and Farmers Feeding the Hungry. This program is to provide assistance to Vermonters who are food insecure due to the COVID-19 public health emergency by engaging Vermont restaurants that have suffered economic harm due to the COVID-19 public health emergency to prepare meals using foodstuffs purchased from Vermont farms and food producers. 

FYI: It is important to note that there is a prohibition on multiple sources of funding. A business may not receive a grant of Coronavirus Relief Fund monies from more than one source, except that a business in the dairy sector may apply for a grant under the Working Lands Enterprise Fund provided that the award is not for the same purpose covered under other assistance from the Fund. The Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Department of Taxes, and entities that administer funds appropriated will provide businesses with guidance and support to help identify the appropriate programs for which the business may be eligible for a grant and other assistance.

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