Public Investment into Smart Growth Strategies

Public Investment into Smart Growth Strategies

Two economic development public investment strategies that are key to our state’s future are the Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) and the Vermont Downtown and Village Center redevelopment incentives.

Vermont Housing and Conservation Board
The House is working to pass a proposed state budget to the Senate. The Governor recommended a creative funding strategy for VHCB totaling $12.6M, which is the investment amount warranted under the property transfer tax statutory formula. The House budget would reduce that level by about 5 percent.

The action on this item now moves to the Senate Appropriations and Senate Institutions Committee.

Downtown and Village Center Incentives
The Vermont Downtown and Village Center redevelopment incentives help property owners improve older buildings in their downtowns and village centers. The Downtown Board is authorized to award $1.7 million worth of credits to property owners next year under an existing state statute. Smart Growth Vermont and the Preservation Trust of Vermont are the program’s main and top boosters. In February, the Commissioner of Economic Development, Housing and Community Affairs proposed the Legislature enact two important reforms to this program. These reforms were included in the House tax bill, which passed the House this week. One change will allow property owners to claim tax incentives for phases of projects, instead of being forced to do all the work in one fell swoop. The other change allows the Downtown Board to redirect tax incentive capacity to a new redevelopment if an awarded project dies with unused tax credit capacity.

The action on this item moves to the Senate Finance Committee.