Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law new legislation that supports startup, expansion and retention of high tech companies in the state.
S.220 adds $500,000 in the state funding to the $1 million in federal funding available to the Vermont Economic Development Authority‚Äôs Entrepreneurial Lending Program.
Gov. Shumlin said that smaller states such as Vermont can‚Äôt go head-to-head with California, New York and other states in offering economic development incentives to build the tech sector.
‚ÄúThe new law provides additional economic tools to give companies the edge they need to start here, grow here and stay here,‚Äù said Gov. Shumlin.
The Vermont Entrepreneurial Lending Program creates a loan loss reserve for reducing the risk of lending to tech startups and other companies in the state that are creating high value jobs.
S.220 also amends the Downtown Tax Credit program to make technology improvement projects in qualified buildings eligible for funding. Downtown tax credits are now available for things such as improvements of data or network wiring, and heating, cooling and other systems reasonably related to data or network installations or improvements.
This economic development legislation builds on another recently signed bill which created the Vermont Enterprise Incentive Fund. The fund can be used by the Governor to offer up to $4.5 million in incentives to businesses under extraordinary circumstances that affect the state‚Äôs ability to attract or retain a project which has a statewide or regional employment impact.
S.220 also gives Vermont another valuable talent retention tool in the form of the Vermont Strong Scholars Program, a postsecondary loan forgiveness program.
Students studying in colleges in Vermont who agree to work in the state after graduation won‚Äôt have to repay the portion of their Vermont Student Assistance Corporation loan which pays for their final year of college.
The aim of the Strong Scholars Program is to encourage Vermonters to select majors that prepare them for jobs which are critical for Vermont‚Äôs economy.
Gov. Shumlin said the tech industry was ideal for these incentives, and noted that Vermont has become a leader in this area.