November 2, 2015 – VTDigger.org (Vermont), By Erin Mansfield
Rep. Peter Welch and Gov. Peter Shumlin announced a federal grant Monday morning that the state will use to help defense contractors diversify the markets for their products.
The U.S. Department of Defense will give the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development $386,325 to help defense contractors and subcontractors in Vermont adjust to reductions in military spending.
Rep. Peter Welch, Gov. Peter Shumlin and Gregory Maguire, senior director of legal and government affairs for Revision Military, speak at a news conference Monday. (Erin Mansfield/VTDigger).
The state will have 18 months to spend the Economic Adjustment Assistance for State Governments grant, which comes from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment.
The U.S. Department of Defense budget was $560 billion in fiscal year 2015, according to the Pentagon’s website, down from $691 billion in fiscal year 2010. Pentagon spending has fallen to 3.1 percent of the national economy.
Welch, D-Vt., said the reduction in the Pentagon’s budget over time is a “good thing,” but he said the grant money is needed to give Vermont contractors time to adjust to the cuts.
“It really is a federal-state partnership,” he said. “We’ve got to have more diversification.”
Welch and Shumlin made the grant announcement at the Revision Military Ltd. Plant in Essex Junction, where 120 people are employed making military-grade eyewear. Up to 180 more people make helmets at Revision Ballistics in Newport.
“Companies like Revision create over 5,000 jobs in Vermont,” Shumlin said. He said the state “has never gotten a grant like this.”
Gregory Maguire, the senior director of legal and government affairs for Revision Military, said any grant money the company gets from the state will give the company “the resources to diversify the markets in Vermont.”
Maguire said the company may sell its products to law enforcement agencies or government agencies, and the products could be used for defense from other people, for workplace safety, or to protect from environmental hazards.
The other contractors in Vermont are General Dynamics in Williston and UTC Aerospace Systems, also known as United Technologies, based in Vergennes, according to Shumlin.
The companies often use subcontractors to complete pieces of their work for the U.S. Department of Defense, so the Agency of Commerce and Community Development can use the money to aid those companies as well.
In March, Revision Military Ltd. was approved to receive up to $167,295 in incentives from the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive between 2015 and 2019. The related company, Revision Ballistics Ltd., was approved in May to earn up to $629,007 from 2015 to 2019.
The two companies were previously approved for $552,193 and $734,081 in 2010 and 2013, respectively. The Vermont Employment Growth Incentive money is awarded to companies who say the jobs they create would not exist without help from the state.
The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.