Ver­mont will pay re­mote work­ers to move there

Put down roots, and you could get up to $10,000

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - NEWS - April McCul­lum USA TO­DAY NET­WORK

BURLING­TON, Vt. – If you and your lap­top are con­sid­er­ing mov­ing to Ver­mont, the state wants to sweeten the deal. Un­der a bill Gov. Phil Scott signed into law this week, re­mote work­ers who put down roots in Ver­mont will be el­i­gi­ble for up to $10,000 in mov­ing ex­penses and other costs.

Cur­rent res­i­dents aren’t el­i­gi­ble. State of­fi­cials hope Ver­mont’s high qual­ity of life will en­tice out-of-state work­ers to swap their of­fice for a Ver­mont co-work­ing space or home of­fice.

“We think Ver­mont is well-po­si­tioned to cap­i­tal­ize on the in­crease in the avail­abil­ity of re­mote work,” said Michael Schirling, sec­re­tary of the Ver­mont Agency of Com­merce and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment.

Schirling said the in­cen­tive may be par­tic­u­larly help­ful for cou­ples con­sid­er­ing a move to Ver­mont, where one spouse finds a job in Ver­mont but the other spouse would need to work re­motely. The Agency of Com­merce and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment has been tasked with de­sign­ing the pro­gram to be­gin in 2019.

❚ Am I el­i­gi­ble? The law de­fines a qual­i­fy­ing worker as a per­son who works pri­mar­ily from a Ver­mont home of­fice or co-work­ing space and is em­ployed full-time by a com­pany that is based out­side the state.

Only work­ers who be­come full-time Ver­mont res­i­dents af­ter Jan. 1, 2019, will be el­i­gi­ble. (The law­maker who spon­sored the bill, Sen. Ginny Lyons, D-Chit­ten­den, hopes the in­cen­tive will help col­lege stu­dents to re­main in Ver­mont af­ter grad­u­a­tion.) Cur­rent Ver­mon­ters are out of luck. “It’s just for pulling peo­ple in,” Lyons said.

The money will be avail­able on a first-come, first-served ba­sis.

The Agency of Com­merce and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment may fur­ther clar­ify eli­gi­bil­ity for the pro­gram.

❚ Which ex­penses will be cov­ered?

Re­mote work­ers who move to Ver­mont will be able to be re­im­bursed for mov­ing ex­penses, mem­ber­ship fees for a co-work­ing space and the costs of com­puter soft­ware and hard­ware and broad­band ac­cess. Grants will be capped at $5,000 per per­son per year, or $10,000 per per­son to­tal, though the Agency of Com­merce and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment will need to for­mally set the lim­its when de­sign­ing the pro­gram.

❚ How much is Ver­mont go­ing to

spend on this? The re­mote worker in­cen­tive pro­gram will launch with a $500,000 appropriation from the Leg­is­la­ture, and the to­tal pay­outs will be capped each year.

Ver­mont could spend up to $125,000 on the in­cen­tives next year — enough to cover the ex­penses of 25 work­ers who max out their pos­si­ble grants. The pro­gram would peak in 2020, when the state has been au­tho­rized to spend up to $250,000 on the in­cen­tives. Spend­ing may be limited by avail­able fund­ing.

Scott’s ad­min­is­tra­tion is at­tempt­ing var­i­ous strate­gies for at­tract­ing work­ers to the state to bol­ster the econ­omy.

“This is a piece of a much larger puz­zle,” Schirling said. “We want to learn from what the leg­is­la­ture has asked us to do with this par­tic­u­lar pro­gram and then see what les­sons we can learn to ap­ply that to other ef­forts to re­cruit work­force.”


State of­fi­cials hope Ver­mont’s high qual­ity of life will en­tice out-of-state work­ers to swap their of­fice for a co-work­ing space or home of­fice in the state.

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