The AIV Difference: Leadership
Leadership on Issues that Matter
AIV takes the lead on the key issues impacting the state's economy, engaging state leaders, mobilizing business leaders, organizing other associations in coalition efforts, and representing the broader business community on special commissions and committees.
Whether AIV acts alone or leads a coalition, our members know that we will always stand up for their interests.
The following are highlights of some key issues AIV has worked on in the past and continues to work on today. This information is updated periodically. For more recent updates or more information about these and other issues and initiatives, don't hestiate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workforce Training, Education, and Development
Revitalizing interest in manufacturing as a career path and ensuring that Vermont has the infrastructure, resources, and networks to link qualified workers with employers is one of AIV's primary ongoing campaigns.
AIV has worked with national and state partners and stakeholders to promote and inspire the next generation of Vermont's manufacturing workforce, enhance the education and training of our existing workforce, and build the education and training infrasctructure needed to preserve and grow this long standing competitive advantage for Vermont manufacturing. AIV is currently working with stakeholders to connect manufacturers, students, parents, and educators, and we encourage anyone interested in this effort to contact us as above.
AIV is also working with the Manufacturing Institute and state agencies and institutions to promote and develop enhanced workforce training and education programs.
AIV consistently leads the rest of the business community on tax issues, often the only organization engaged and making a difference on specific issues.
AIV is currently actively engaged in efforts to build support for pro-manufacturing tax reform like "single sales factor" income tax reform (which would benefit exporters of goods and services to other states and countries), improving Vermont's sales tax exemption for machinery and equipment, enhancing R&D tax incentives, and more.
We are also working to counter any new potential push this new legislative session to increase taxes on Vermont manufacturers and other businesses connected to multinational operations. AIV already defeated several attempts to pass related legislation in recent years.
Before recent changes to the federal code, AIV also led three successful efforts in recent years to turn back legislation that would have blocked the state pass-through of the federal domestic production deduction, a move that would have increased taxes on manufacturers and other productive businesses.
Several years ago we played a critical role in initially preserving Vermont's capital gains exemption and laying the groundwork for protecting investment in Vermont. Although the exemption was later virtually eliminated in 2009, AIV then helped lead follow-up efforts to restore a significant part of the exemption, and will continue efforts to win full restoration in the future.
Other accomplishments in recent years include single-handedly defeating the passage of restrictions on net operating loss deductions and then leading successful efforts to pass positive NOL reforms the following year.
AIV was the only organization to oppose the adoption of unitary combined reporting, which has made Vermont a more costly location for many multi-state and multi-national corporations. AIV is now leading efforts to develop alternatives to UCR as part of a broader initiative to make the Vermont tax code more supportive of economic development and manufacturing.
Human Resources and Workplace Issues
AIV has long led efforts against unduly restrictive or costly workplace mandates and other unreasonable pressures on labor costs.
Over the past several years, AIV played a central role in successfully pushing back on proposals to mandate specific workplace policies, as well as other proposed legislation to restrict employer flexibility and increased costs. Although a mandatory paid medical leave law was enacted recently, AIV is working to address compliance issues and identify and promote potential legislative changes. After successfully helping to forestall flawed proposals for additional mandatory paid leave and increases in the minimum wage during the last legislative session, we are now working to engage on new proposals on these issues in the new sesssion.
AIV is also working to address growing concerns about drug use and its impact both on Vermonters trying to enter the workforce and on employers seeking to find qualified and reliable new hires and ensure a safe workplace. As marijuana legalization has progressed, AIV has worked to build a foundation of support for drug testing reform that we will be continuing to promote as related legislation might be considered in the new session.
In recent years, AIV coordinated efforts of allied business organizations to overhaul the statutes governing the classification of independent contractors and employees. Legal and regulatory decisions had made it increasingly difficult for Vermont employers to make use of independent contractors. Currently we are working to determine whether recent administrative and legal precedents have made a meaningful difference for employers seeking to utilize independent contractors.
AIV, which developed and promoted voluntary notice standards for Vermont employers facing large scale lay-offs starting in the 1980s, took the lead a few years ago in negotiating with the Department of Labor and legislators to ensure that the new law requiring prior notification to the state of layoffs included reasonable standards and exemptions and avoided exposing employers to unwarranted penalties.
AIV led the efforts of the business community to promote difficult but balanced and necessary UI reforms in 2010, including efforts to keep employer tax increases to the minimum necessary and to help ensure that fair but meaningful reductions in benefit spending were part of the final reform package. In 2013 and 2014, AIV successfully led efforts against proposals to undo these spending restraints. AIV has also repeatedly turned back legislation that would have restricted the ability of employers to qualify for Short Time Compensation plans to support and hold onto workers during hard times.
AIV has long been the leading organization on addressing the cost of workers' compensation. AIV played a central role in the steps toward workers' compensation reform in 2004 and led the renewed coalition effort for reform in following years, setting the agenda for the continued fight for meaningful reform. During this time we have also led several successful efforts against new proposals that would increase the cost of workers' compensation. AIV is currently working on addressing fraud and providing greater financial incentives and rewards for enhanced workplace safety programs.
AIV is the most active and effective business organization in Vermont representing commercial and industrial ratepayers on energy issues before the Legislature and the Public Utility Commission.
In 2014, AIV secured enactment of a new statutory provision to help prioritize the affordability and reliability of electricity for manufacturers and other high value employers when the Commission and the Public Service Department implement energy policies and regulations.
AIV also won the establishment of a study and report process in which AIV is working with the Department of Public Service and Agency of Commerce to examine and develop proposals for new policies to address affordability issues, including examining the potential for special rate designs and a degree of retail choice for manufacturers, as well as alternative financing mechanisms for energy efficiency programs to reduce the financial burden of the current system. Legislation was recently enacted to create a pilot program for greater flexibility for companies retaining their own Energy Efficiency Charge dollars, and we are working to help move forward with further and more substantial changes in rate structure and costs flowing from this ongoing process.
Over the years, AIV has been the only organization consistently and actively involved in efforts to try to ensure that Vermont's energy efficiency programs are as cost effective as possible and to promote alternative funding mechanisms to reduce the burden of the Energy Efficiency Charge. AIV played the leading role in creating the Energy Savings Account option for employers to effectively keep more of their own money for their own projects, and is currently working with the Department of Public Service and Agency of Commerce to make the program more beneficial and easier to use (see the pilot program above).
AIV has consistently led efforts to restrain additional renewable mandates on utilities and ratepayers and to encourage that renewable energy be promoted in Vermont through more cost effective, affordability-focused policies, including intelligent permit reform and tax incentives rather than mandates that distort markets and shift undue costs onto ratepayers. AIV has also supported efforts to encourage the growth of merchant generation.
Currently AIV is actively engaged in a new rulemaking effort before the Pulbic Service Commission to consider revising the subsidies and other elements of Vermont's net metering program to address what has become a very significant and burdensome cost shift onto Vermont ratepayers.
AIV continues to support the long term expansion of Vermont's natural gas infrastructure and the growth of third-party delivery services so that more Vermont manufacturers can access affordable and reliable natural gas to meet heating and processing needs.
Environmental and Product Regulation
AIV plays a key role in regulatory issues impacting production and operations as well as construction and infrastructure critical to manufacturers and others.
AIV continues to lead Vermont's manufacturing community and is partnered closely with national stakeholders in ongoing debates over state regulation of chemicals in products. Legislation was passed this past session to enact new chemical legal liabilities on manufacturers and other companies. AIV is leading efforts to sustain the Governor's veto of this legislation and work to find a compromise solution moving forward. AIV will also be coordinating engagement between manufacturers and the recently created Interagency Committee on Chemical Management to develop more rational and helpful reform of chemical regulations.
In 2014 we successfully held off the more costly and burdensome proposals and helped mitigate the potential compliance problems for Vermont manufacturers in the new law governing products marketed for children. Last session AIV worked to reach comprimises to mitigage proposed changes to the law that would undermine science based standards and credibility. Nevertheless, the law continues to present serious challenges for Vermont manufacturers, so we are continuing efforts to ensure that the law is implemented reasonably and to defend against efforts to expand and tighten restrictions in the new session.
AIV is also leading efforts to turn back proposals to impose mandatory financial and administrative liabilities on manufacturers for recycling and reclaiming their products and packaging. At the same time, AIV has helped support and enact recycling programs that are developed by and supported by the industries involved. We are currently coordinating engagement by Vermont employers and national organizations with ANR and the Legislature as they reviews possible proposals for a wide range of products and materials.
Over recent years, AIV has worked directly on changes to solid waste, air toxics, and groundwater rules, and remains engaged with ANR and the Natural Resources Board on ongoing rulemaking and related developments.
AIV is currently engaged in the long-running process to revise Vermont's stormwater regulations and permitting process.
AIV worked closely in developing and passing Act 250 reform in the early part of the last decade, directly influencing key provisions. We have worked to hold off subsequent changes that would worsen Vermont's permitting environment, and are actively engaged in the debate over new, expansive changes being discussed this session in the Legislature.
Affordable, quality transportation options and infrastructure are fundamental to the movement of goods and supplies, the lifeblood of manufacturing.
We are currently working to coordinate engagement on proposed cap and trade programs and other versions of carbon taxes on fuels manufacturers depend on.
AIV has long led efforts to keep Vermont's weight and length limits on trucking reasonable and competitive with other states, and to oppose unwarranted or discriminatory fuel and vehicle class charges.
AIV also supports maximizing the potential for rail transportation in the state, as well as the value of air services.
With our transportation system caught in a needs and funding crunch, AIV remains vigilant against the return to rampant transfers of transportation funds to unrelated programs and supports a "back to basics" focus on repair and economically necessary construction.