Joan Goldstein (Commissioner, Department of Economic Development) joined the Senate Economic Development Committee on Friday, along with Abbie Sherman (Executive Director, Vermont Economic Progress Council).
Goldstein had several funding requests she presented to the Committee:
- $10M requested – House moved to $5M
Requested funding for Regional Development Corporations (RDCs) to buy buildings or refurbish buildings for resale. She would like to have a grant program for the RDCs to help get more real estate ready to receive and grow new businesses.
- $10M requested – House moved to $8M
The funds were requested for the brownfield clean up program. Goldstein didn’t give much detail, but said that there are many still throughout Vermont and each one takes a great deal of money to clean up so the ground is usable again.
- $5M requested
The funding would be for the Vermont Training Program. Under the Federal CHIPS Act, the state has an obligation to assist with the funding of the semi-conductor industry in Vermont. The Commissioner warned that Global Foundries can request up to $250M for renovation and modernization of their facilities. Senator Brock worried that might invest some portion of these funds and then Global Foundries could leave the state. Goldstein pointed out that the funding is for structural improvements. Also, there is another smaller foundry which may also request funding.
- $3M requested – House removed all funding
The funding would go towards the New Workers incentives that have been in place since 2019. There has been 1281 new Vermonters (families, children counted) brought in through the program. Goldstein stated there are two options available when awarding the funding: first, when people move to Vermont and then apply for the incentive and, second, to ask people to apply before moving to Vermont and then receive funding as soon as they have moved.
She also spoke about the Employee Growth Incentive (VEGI) and TIFs, both programs have sunsets that she would like to have removed. The House also wants to do a study of the VEGI program and contemplating appropriating $1M for the Joint Fiscal Office to start the work. A recommendation was made by the House to lower that amount to $500K. Chairwoman Ram-Hinsdale suggested that the Committee members should "establish their own thoughts" on the bill and then discuss with the House. Goldstein said she would forward her proposed language to the Committee as a basis for their work.