Congressman Peter Welch Visits AGC/VT
Friday, June 4, 2021
by: Matt Musgrave

Section: Legislative Update

Congressman Peter Welch was our special guest at last weeks Mid Week Meet on Wednesday. There were over 20 contractors on the GoToMeeting stream and a great conversation was had with the Congressman. Welchs opening remarks focused on the crisis of COVID-19 and the efforts put forth to keep people healthy and safe while keeping the pulse of the American economy moving to stay away from a full blown depression. He spoke about how parties united behind almost all of the COVID recovery pieces with very little disagreement. He also added that the government and representatives had learned some powerful lesson on what to do if this ever should happen again.

A few members had questions related to the Paycheck Protection Program which gave forgiveable loans to companies who used the funds to keep employees on the payroll and pay for approved expenses. Most felt that the program worked well but there have been some challenges getting some of the loans, particularly large ones, forgiven that had been issued last year. The Congressman took note and offered to look into the issue further and hopefully find a resolution. Other members were concerned that Vermont state may try to recoup some of the PPP monies as New Hampshire is now. A brief discussion was held related to the state actually moving to tax the PPP grants but AGC/VT, our Congressional Delegation and other business groups successfully convinced the legislature to exempt those funds from taxation.

The most common challenge all on the call were facing is a diminishing workforce and additional staffing shortages due to COVID. The group discussed different barriers to employment, reluctance for people to return to work and possible solutions. Matt Musgrave of AGC/VT discussed a program that they have been promoting which would financially incentivize individuals to try out a new career in construction or other verticle the state deems to be essential to fullfilling their policies such as broadband and weatherization. The Congressman thought it would be a good idea and AGC/VT will continue to work with his office to see if there are opportunities to start the program.