MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin and legislative leaders asked lawmakers Monday to pass two proposals that would be paid for with an anticipated $5 million budget surplus they say will make it easier to attract and retain high tech companies that provide well-paying skilled jobs.

Shumlin and leaders of the House and Senate said at a Monday news conference at the headquarters of the Vermont Economic Development Authority the proposals would make it easier for state officials to respond to situations that need immediate support to create or save jobs.

"While Vermont cannot necessarily match or exceed the high-dollar incentives offered by larger states, we need more tools in the toolbox and the flexibility to respond to demanding situations to continue to grow these industries and expand these jobs," Shumlin said in a statement.

The Vermont Enterprise Incentive Fund would allow the governor to offer additional incentives to businesses of not more than $4.5 million.

The second proposal would add $500,000 to the $1 million in federal funds available to the Vermont Economic Development Authority’s Entrepreneurial Lending Program. It is intended to reduce the risk of lending to start-up tech companies and other firms that promote well-paying jobs.

The funding would come from the first $5 million of any budget surplus in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.


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