Smart Growth Vermont's 2008 Legislative Agenda
While the legislative session does not begin until January, work has already begun on many issues in which Smart Growth Vermont is actively involved. We urge you to get involved in these important issues:
Increasing the Downtown Tax Credits: Working closely with our legislative partner, Preservation Trust of Vermont, we will continue advocating for an increase in the amount of tax credits available to owners of buildings in designated downtowns and village centers. These tax credits are a key tool for redeveloping and upgrading building facades and making code improvements in historic community centers. For the last two years, the demand for tax credits far exceeded the available funds. We need your help. Please sign on to our letter in support of an increase in the tax credits to indicate the strong public support for this cost-effective program that provides many benefits for Vermont’s downtowns.
- Evaluating the Use Value Appraisal Program: This important program, commonly called the “Current Use” program, is being reviewed by a legislative task force charged with evaluating program effectiveness, considering modifications and making recommendations to the Legislature in January. The purpose of Current Use is to “…encourage and assist the maintenance of Vermont’s productive agricultural and forest land;. … and to encourage and assist in the preservation and enhancement of Vermont’s scenic natural resources…” Farm and forest lands enrolled in the program are taxed at their use value, not their development value, which helps landowners to continue managing their land for productive purposes. To read the report and provide comments, visit the Task Force at http://www.leg.state.vt.us/WorkGroups/UseValue/
- Addressing the Affordable Housing Shortage: Everyone agrees that there is a need for housing that working class Vermonter’s can afford. Smart Growth Vermont is part of a diverse group of housing, conservation, environmental and planning advocates who have met since the Legislature rejected the “New Neighborhoods” proposal last Spring. Smart Growth Vermont and members of the Vermont Smart Growth Collaborative believe that we can develop a program that provides incentives for the construction of new housing that serves the needs of low and moderate income Vermonters; fosters smart growth development that reinforces Vermont’s historic settlement pattern; and discourages scattered development and fragmentation of farms and forest lands. We have been working over the summer and fall to seek solutions, and participated in a legislative hearing in October to provide guidance on these issues. We will continue to work on this critical issue in the coming months.
During the session we provide regular legislative updates. If you would like to receive these e-updates, please contact Serena Parnau at (802) 864-6310.