2023 Legislative Priorities
Workforce Readiness ConcernsContinuing into this legislative session, talent recruitment and retention strategies are a central concern for a critically needed response to Vermont's workforce shortage. Our focus in this session is to create additional incentives for workers through policy shifts to guarantee that workers will not only come to Vermont for work but remain in our welcoming and prosperous state.
Policy concerns include addressing (1) foreign worker sponsorship incentives and removing barriers that could get younger, able workers in the state, (2) enticing workers to join trade training programs, (3) small company group healthcare discounts which allow these companies to be more marketable to prospective employees while remaining cost efficient for employers, (5) stepping away from traditional 10-week start date unemployment requirements and developing options for alternative seasonal/long term unemployment, (6) promoting technical schools to ensure access to younger educated workers out of the gate, and (7) integrating innovative technologies that develop the workforce efficiently and effectively.
Any of these policy considerations could profoundly impact the consistency and longevity of Vermont's workforce.
In this session, the state government will play an integral role in regulating how efficient and effective economic growth is in the future. By advocating for policies that concentrate attention on business competitiveness, small business growth, and employment-generating investments in the private sector, we can achieve a successful and cohesive business climate. Supporting policies that streamline repetitive regulatory hurdles will protect small businesses from the impacts of government action and create efficiency for businesses across the board.
Policy reform concerns include addressing (1) the importance of implementing existing laws consistently, so they bring quality foundational results before creating new laws, (2) the creation of a cohesive system for forms/paperwork to avoid duplicative forms that produce the same effect, (3) the heavy burden of business taxes and fees on employers, and (4) the constant rise of property taxes by developing alternative revenue sources instead of taxing an already taxed system.
One of the many facets affecting workforce readiness in Vermont is the scarcity of affordable and quality childcare. Supporting the creation of a policy that stabilizes the childcare workforce will collectively bring value to our economy by giving options for single parents to enter the workforce and compete in business.
Policy matters include the proposal to fund a childcare system in Vermont. The central elements of this proposal include, (1) understanding where this funding is coming from so it does not unintentionally harm Vermonters, (2) creating eligibility requirements to ensure it goes to those in need, and (3) achieves the goal of creating a higher supply of child care options.
An additional, and significant, facet that affects workforce readiness in Vermont, is the lack of workforce housing. Supporting policies that prioritize and forward the progress of workforce housing construction will help address workforce readiness concerns by making room for workers to move to Vermont.
Policies to address this issue include (1) creating a statewide housing plan that addresses the challenges Act 250 has presented to building more housing, and (2) proposing ideas on a workforce housing tax credit or trust fund.
Transportation and Capital Fund Support
Vermonters, Vermont businesses, and the Vermont economy heavily rely on the surface transportation system to move goods, people, and services throughout the state. Supporting the policies that invest in that infrastructure system’s programs will ensure the continued quality of that resource. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included more than 30 percent increase for formula programs, along with new transportation initiatives. Unfortunately, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act did not address the long-term revenue shortfalls in Vermont's Highway Trust Fund.
Policy concerns include highlighting the importance of funding the state match to take advantage of the state match for Federal transportation funds and the Capital Fund, seeking new funding such as a miles driven tax on electric vehicles and safeguarding those funds for allocation to the surface programs.
Expanding working relationships between AGC-VT Members and State of Vermont officials, like VTrans, Dept. of Labor, Project Permitting, VOSHA, etc, will improve job efficiency by removing social barriers between them. Encouraging our members to participate in stakeholder groups, regular discussions of policies, and desired outcomes, can create a sense of community and unity between the state and the private sector.