HOUSE VOTES OUT COVID RECOVERY BILL
$97.5 million in federal stimulus funds to support businesses, schools, housing, workforce development, broadband and more
Today the House approved an amended version of H.315, a mid-session COVID recovery bill, on a roll-call vote of 141-5. The bill represents a close collaboration between the House and Senate to provide timely economic relief to Vermonters in all 14 counties, relying primarily on federal COVID-19 stimulus funds. Highlights include:
• $15 million to help schools improve indoor air quality; $5.5 million for summer meals for families; $4 million for after-school and summer programs.
• $10.5 million in Economic Recovery Bridge Grants, primarily for businesses impacted by COVID-19 that have not received any prior state or federal COVID-related aid.
• $10 million to support community initiatives to strengthen the outdoor recreation economy, and to improve access to public outdoor recreation areas such as trail heads, boat launches and state parks.
• $10 million to provide safe shelter and housing for low-income and at-risk Vermonters; $5 million to stabilize low- and moderate-income homeowners and prevent foreclosures.
• $8.2 million to the Vermont State Colleges, UVM and VSAC to provide up to two free classes to adult Vermonters looking to boost job skills or change careers, to provide up to two free classes to all 2020 and 2021 high-school grads, and to train more LPNs.
• $4 million to make mental health services more accessible; and $1.3 million to support ReachUp families.
• Plus allocations for working lands, broadband, environmental clean-up, and New Americans and immigrants.
Finally, H.315 also includes some tax language. For the tax year 2020 only, we’re allowing the federal exclusion on the first $10,200 of unemployment insurance income from a taxpayer’s gross income, so long as that taxpayer’s adjusted gross income is less than $150,000.
For businesses, it also carries through the 2020 federal treatment of Payroll Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loans as exempt from taxation. PPP loans converted to grants in 2021 will be treated like any other business income and subject to tax.
The bill returns to the Senate with a proposed amendment; and then heads to the Governor for hopeful signature. Cross your fingers.