Main Street Alliance of Vermont’s 2021 State and Federal Policy Platform is focused on strategies that target support for small businesses and their employees in acknowledgment of the interdependent relationship between a community’s economic and environmental health and the success of the small businesses that bring our cities, towns, and villages together. We remain committed to working on these issues through the lens of equity, with racial, social and economic justice at the center.
COVID-19 Economic Relief for Businesses: Throughout this pandemic, MSA-VT and our small business members have advocated for equitable access to economic support provided by programs developed by our federal and state governments. We have seen the marked impacts of structural inequities within underserved and underbanked communities, particularly for BIPOC and women-owned businesses. We need comprehensive data collection, inclusive and coordinated outreach and communication, and accessible technical assistance so business owners can navigate the often overwhelming and complicated interplay of programs and safety protocols all while running their businesses. We continue to lift up the voices of business owners who have been left out of critical relief and will work to find solutions that are equitable and accessible.
Family and Medical Leave Insurance: At some point, nearly everyone needs time away from work to recover from a serious illness or care for a sick loved one or new child. Yet only 17 percent of the U.S. workforce have paid family leave through their employers, and less than 40 percent have personal medical leave through an employer-provided temporary disability program. Unequal access to paid leave reflects structural inequality, with lower-paid employees and employees of color less likely to have access. Lack of paid leave forces working people to make the impossible choice between their paychecks and their families. With women still shouldering a larger share of family caregiving responsibilities, the lack of widely available paid leave, exacerbates gender inequalities. Paid family and medical leave is good for small businesses, employees and our communities. MSA-VT will continue to fight for an equitable Family and Medical Leave Insurance program to ensure that Vermonter’s have the financial security to put the health and safety of themselves and their families first.
Child Care: Main Street Alliance of Vermont and our members understand that without a strong, affordable, and high quality child care system, our workforce and our economy cannot thrive. Additionally, without adequate child care, women and people of color leave their jobs at drastically higher rate, only further exacerbating gender and racial inequities in the workforce. MSA-VT will continue to advocate for increased investment for our child care infrastructure to not only support the economic vitality of our state and workforce but to create the foundational stepping stones for our children and next generation.
Democracy: Vermont saw record turnout for our 2020 election and Main Street businesses know that when we have a healthy democracy, we have a healthy economy. When our businesses and the communities that they call home participate in elections and raise up their voices for candidates that share their values, the ability to move forward equitable policy is greater. Main Street Alliance supports increased and equitable access to our elections by improving upon our Automatic Voter Registration and moving towards an Automatic Vote By Mail system.