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LCRCC Presents: Advocacy

The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce works diligently to represent our members because we know how difficult it is to keep up with the action in Montpelier and get involved. We serve as the eyes and ears of our members to keep them informed while also ensuring their views are voiced.

The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce is focused on advocating for a thriving private sector economy. The Government Affairs team is in the State House representing our members by monitoring legislation which affects them, as well as promoting the policies which support our economy and businesses. When the legislature is not in session, the team is busy synthesizing input from our members into policy suggestions. Our work inside and outside of the State House is multiplied by the work and input of our dedicated members.

LCRCC President Tom Torti advocating for member businesses at the Vermont State House.

We believe that “prosperity” is best defined by three principles:

  • An expanding economic tax base;
  • The potential to achieve the standard of living one aspires to, and;
  • Communities that remain defined by traditional Vermont values

Are there any events?

The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce also hosts a variety of advocacy related events. These events include our annual Legislative Reception and our Legislative Breakfast series. Our Legislative Reception is coming up on November 9 (learn more here) and this year’s Legislative Breakfast series featured guests including Governor Scott, Lieutenant Governor Zuckerman, President Pro Tem Ashe, and Speaker Johnson.

Chamber members are able to take full advantage of these great opportunities to engage with elected officials at a discounted rate. Visit LCRCC’s Events Calendar to keep up with updates regarding this year’s advocacy related events.

Chamber members and local legislators gather for food, drink, and conversation at last year’s Legislative Reception. This year’s Reception will be on November 9.

What happened in Montpelier this past year?

The Vermont Legislature adjourned a week later than what was budgeted for, and two weeks after their target date. Governor Scott and legislative leaders were unable to agree on a plan to capture up to 26 million dollars in savings attributable to teacher health care, until after a special veto session. Tied up in the disagreement about teacher health care savings were many of the items we advocated for this year. Some highlights of the session include:

  • The Legislature and Governor Scott’s administration negotiated and approved a proposal that would allow six new Tax Increment Finance districts with certain restrictions. These restrictions include prohibiting approval of more than two TIFs per county and approval of a TIF in a municipality that currently has an active TIF.
  • Legislation passed this year increased the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive (VEGI) for “qualifying labor markets” and “environmental technology business.” Legislation also passed that continues the sales tax exemption on airplane parts in an effort to encourage growth in this industry.
  • Efforts were made to address the State’s housing crisis. An additional $200,000 was appropriated to the downtown tax credit program while the unit cap on priority housing projects in municipalities of 10,000 or more people was removed. Legislation passed authorized the Vermont Housing Finance Agency to issue $35 million in bonds to leverage private dollars in the creation of housing.
  • The House approved a modified version of Paid Family Leave, allowing six weeks of paid leave at 80% compensation for bonding with a new child or taking care of a sick relative.
  • The Legislature established a working group to assess the best way to level the playing field between the lodging and short-term rental industry.

The Chamber’s Government Affairs team spends the entire legislative session at the State House in Montpelier advocating for our members.

How can I get involved?

The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce always accepts feedback/input regarding anything related to advocacy. Please take full advantage of your membership by reaching out to us at [email protected] so that we may represent you.