The 2009 Legislative Session
The Good, The Bad, and The “To Be Continued”
Lawmakers adjourned on May 9, but the 2009 Legislative Session is not quite over. Legislators are being called back by the Governor for a special session starting on June 2nd because of a dispute over the state budget. With one exception – the level of investment in the Housing and Conservation program – most of Smart Growth Vermont’s state policy agenda is unlikely to be impacted by the special session.
Together with our legislative partner, Preservation Trust of Vermont, Smart Growth Vermont had a very active session advocating for reforms and public investments that have great impact on land use and development patterns. As with any session, there were highs and lows and some issues that will carry over into the 2010 session. Highlights include a $100,000 increase in the downtown and village center tax credits, reforms to the Tax Increment Finance (TIF) program and expanded transportation enhancements. These programs all aid communities in their efforts to support investment in our traditional community centers. In 2010, we will continue to work on clarification to key Act 250 criteria to address strip development as well as improvements to the implementation of the Growth Center Program. Visit our website for a full 2009 wrap up.
On the downside, the future of the Housing and Conservation program is still up in the air. The Legislature’s FY 2010 budget calls for a drastic reduction in funding for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. However, they rejected the Governor’s proposal to the conservation investment program entirely. On June 2nd, Legislators are returning to Montpelier for a special session to resolve the dispute over the state budget. To learn more about how you can help, go to our most recent Legislative Alert.