Finance agency bill may create thousands of jobs

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(Host) The Vermont Senate has given its approval to legislation that sponsors hope will help create thousands of new well-paying jobs across the state. The bill increases the lending capacity of the Vermont Economic Development Authority by $105 million, by restructuring the financing of the agency.

Senator Jim Greenwood (R-Essex-Orleans), who leads the Senate’s General Affairs Committee, thinks the proposal will be good for the state economy:

(Greenwood) “I think that the dollars that VEDA is going to now have to loan to many of our smaller businesses and new entrepreneurial type businesses, I think it’s going to really stimulate the economy.”

(Host) The bill also raises the state minimum wage from $6.25 an hour to $6.75 an hour. It also includes a cost of living index for the minimum wage rate. The Senate voted 26-3 to keep the provision in the bill. Senator Greenwood says the cost of living increase will be capped at 5% a year:

(Greenwood) “It will take away the annual debate that we’ve had over the years. It’s got so almost every year we debate whether or not the minimum wage should increase and I think this will put that to rest.”

(Host) The measure now goes to the House for its consideration. Several committees in the House have been working on a similar piece of legislation.

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