Vt. lawmakers to review Scott $50M shop local proposal

Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 6:05 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont Governor Phil Scott is looking to jumpstart local spending by giving Vermonters a $150 voucher for local shopping, but the state is still working on details on how to get the cash into peoples' hands.

Scott says he wants to give Vermont businesses and communities a $50 million infusion by encouraging people to shop locally. The funds would come from the remaining $200 million of Vermont’s CARES Act funds.

Under the proposal, every Vermont household would receive a $150 credit to spend exclusively on local businesses. Federal guidelines prevent states from giving people direct cash payments, so this will be administered through the web or over an app in the form of coupons and gift cards.

Vt. Deputy Commerce Commissioner Ted Brady says the goal is to make sure the money is spent locally and not online. "Peoples' habits are changing during this. We cannot afford for some of these habits to last forever or else our downtowns will be decimated, our hospitality industry will be decimated. While we have this restrictive policy, we need to have Vermonters help Vermonters right now," he said.

The state is still looking for a service to administer the program, but it is launching a $500,000 pilot program with a vendor this week.

The proposal still needs to be reviewed by the Democratically-controlled Legislature, where they could make changes to how much each person gets or how it gets disbursed.

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