The Vermont House is in the midst of approving a $1 billion investment of Coronavirus Relief Funds to strengthen business, healthcare and human service sectors that support Vermonters struggling during this time of pandemic. In just two weeks time, we worked across committees to design an integrated plan with stakeholder input that leverages current systems to provide support to Vermonters in need. This $1 billion investment is the largest emergency recovery program ever passed by the Vermont legislature. The remaining CARES Act dollars will be deployed in August, when lawmakers reconvene. These resources will be used to stabilize taxes, and prevent actions that would destabilize Vermont’s recovery. HOW THE $1 BILLION HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RELIEF PACKAGE REFLECTS OUR VALUES:
We want a Vermont that works for all of us, not just the select few.
No Vermonter or Vermont community should be left behind because of COVID-19 impacts. Now is the time to come together to invest in our communities and our future. This $1 billion investment will boost our economy and build stronger, healthier communities.
THE WEEDS: COVID-19 disruptions have impacted all aspects of daily life. Our families, small businesses, and critical systems need support as we work through this challenge. The Vermont House of Representatives is rapidly passing bills to target coronavirus relief funds to our communities and the needs of Vermonters. The House’s plan will commit $1 billion in Federal CARES money Passage is expected this week, and we plan to finalize all of the measures before the end of June. The House and Senate are working hard to ensure dollars get to the hands of those who need them most. We’ve already fast-tracked about $265 million to cover emergency relief efforts, including:
Approximately $225 million JFC expedited this spring for frontline healthcare needs, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), respirators, and rental space for hospital overflow, as well as food and meals for vulnerable Vermonters;
$40 million in the FY2020 budget adjustment for investments in our justice system, higher education, emergency ambulance services, and other important areas. The House has been working to invest the remaining funds for other urgent demands. This includes the FY2021 Q1 budget, which proposes to appropriate $47 million for COVID-19 related costs. Additional major investments include:
$302 million to stabilize our health care and human services systems
$160 million for businesses and economic development
$75 million for housing and homelessness
$50 million for PreK-12 education
$43 million for broadband, connectivity, and cybersecurity projects
$30 million for agricultural relief
$11.5 million for higher education
To ensure the dollars get to Vermonters who need them most, all of the $1 billion in federal CARES funding must be spent by the end of the year. Strict guidelines require that these dollars be used to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This cash infusion will provide much-needed stability and stimulus to our local and regional economies.