Please Write Your State Senator!

We are pleading with you to encourage our representatives in the legislature to fully fund direct business relief grants currently being discussed. That decision will be made very soon and we need to make all of our voices heard. This effort can work, write to our our Senator today. Please read the further to learn more about how you can get involved. It’s super-easy with talking points and the list of contacts make the process simple.

This committee will decide if the budget includes the House proposed funding of $93 Million in Economic Recovery Grants or the Senate proposed funding of $61.7 Million.  We need the full funding of $93 million which would include $50 million for the hospitality sector and $20 million for those left behind (Sole proprietorships and partnerships without W-2 employees, new businesses and others who were left out).

About the  Legislation
Gov. Scott has proposed an additional $73 million in grants to businesses for Covid-related economic relief funds. The House increased that amount to $93 million. The Senate has reduced business grants to $61.7 million (with an additional $15 million contingent on receipt of other federal funds).

The Senate removed $17 million from the economic recovery package and dedicated those funds for increased unemployment insurance benefits.

A House-Senate conference committee will decide in the next few days whether to accept the House or Senate positions on economic relief funding.

Why additional relief is desperately needed

  • The wedding industry has been among the hardest hit sectors in Vermont. Virtually all large weddings that were scheduled for summer and fall have been cancelled. Many wedding businesses have experienced losses of 90%.
  • Wedding businesses rely on strong summer and fall seasons to carry through the winter and spring. Those revenues will not exist this year.
  • The wedding industry generates more than $400 million per year in Vermont. If these businesses fail, much of that revenue will be lost to neighboring states.
  • The Senate’s decision to divert money from business grants to unemployment benefits should be reversed. Additional federal funds are likely to be available for unemployment benefits in October or November.
  • The wedding industry relies on venues, lodging properties and tent companies for couples to host weddings. Without these businesses there will be no wedding industry in VT. These businesses are facing enormous debt service payments each month that they can no longer meet due to the continued presence of COVID-19 and the government restrictions (gathering limits, quarantine requirements etc)

What to include in your letter:

  • Specific losses your business has suffered and will continue to suffer as the pandemic continues.
    *My business has lost $X an over %XX loss for the year. My business typically employs X number of employees and supports the local economy in x, y & z ways.
  • I did not qualify for the first round of Economic Recovery Grants because I (am a sole proprietor, a new business, only had a 30% loss etc) and desperately need this money so that my business can continue to operate.
  • Talk about how well your business was doing prior to COVID-19, had you seen year over year growth, was 2020 going to be your best season ever?
  • Encourage them to:

Copy and paste these email addresses into the “To” field: , , , , , , ,

Our Local Legislative Delegation is:

  • Anne Cummings –  (802) 223-6043 (Washington County Senator)
  • Maxine Grad – (MRV House Representative)
  • Kari Dolan – (MRV House Representative)

The Budget Conferees for the House are:

  • Kitty Toll, Danville. – (802) 828-2228
  • Mary Hooper, Montpelier. – (802) 793-9512
  • Peter Fagan, Rutland. – (802) 828-2228
  • Jane Kitchel, Caledonia. (802) 684-3482
  • Tim Ashe, Chittenden. (802) 318-0903
  • Rich Westman, Lamoille. (802) 644-2297

What Else Can You Do?

  • You can also share your letter to the editor of your local newspaper addressed to your representative. This is very impactful as well.
  • Please continue to make calls and send letters to your local representatives asking them to: