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December 21, 2009

Firm That Makes Eyewear For Troops Awarded Job Creation Incentives

MONTPELIER, Vt. – An Essex Junction firm that makes protective eyewear for the U.S. military has been authorized to receive nearly $1 million in state incentives to expand and create additional jobs in Vermont.

Revision Eyewear was given initial approval for as much as $933,206 worth of incentives to be paid out over five years by the Vermont Economic Progress Council at its meeting on Thursday.

“Revision Eyewear has been consistently growing and creating jobs since they established their U.S. manufacturing facility in Essex Junction in 2006,” said Karen L. Marshall, Chairwoman of the Vermont Economic Progress Council. “These incentives will assure that their next stage of innovation and job growth happens here in Vermont, while they provide the world’s most protective eyewear to our soldiers, including Vermont National Guard personnel.”

If the company, which currently employs roughly 150 people in Essex Junction, makes the required investments and adds qualifying jobs between 2010 and 2012, they would be eligible to receive the incentives between 2011 and 2016.

“While Revision has always been very pleased with its decision to locate and grow in Vermont, we had choices regarding other locations in which to establish additional facilities to accommodate our projected expansion,” said Jonathan Blanshay, CEO of Revision. “In a very competitive environment, cost and efficiency are important factors to consider.”

“We prefer to develop further in Vermont and much appreciate what Senator Leahy has done to foster our development here,” Blanshay said. “This incentive has greatly assisted us in our decision to concentrate the growth here in Vermont.”

Founded in 2002, Revision has had a close relationship with the Procurement Technical Assistance Center at the Vermont Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development, who helped them connect with the Vermont National Guard and later the National Guard Association to promote their products.

In October 2004 Revision opened its operations in Williston and in 2006 moved its headquarters to its current location, which it recently doubled in size to more than 52,000 square feet.

Under reforms proposed by Governor Jim Douglas in 2006 and passed by the General Assembly, the VEGI economic incentives are authorized based on potential job creation and capital investments that must occur before the company earns the incentives and then the company receives incentive installments over a period of years.

The Council also gave final approval to several other companies, including:

• Terry Precision Bicycles of Burlington, which can receive up to $126,296 after its relocation from New York;

• Northern Power Systems, Inc., of Barre Town, which can receive up to $808,104 for an expansion of its wind turbine factory;

• Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc., of Waterbury, which can earn up to $292,307 for an expansion of its facilities in Chittenden County;

• SB Electronics, Inc., of Barre Town, which was authorized for $3,048,761 for an expansion of its plant to make components for electric cars and hybrids;

• Seldon Technologies, Inc., of Windsor, which can receive up to $478,396 for an expansion of its factory to make high tech filters; and

• Maple Mountain Woodworks, of Richford, which can receive up to $143,436 worth of incentives for its start-up pulpwood processing plant.

The $5.8 million in total incentives are estimated to help retain 932 jobs; create 532 new qualifying jobs as well as 41 that don’t pay enough to qualify for incentives; and 875 indirect jobs.

This is projected to result in an additional $26.5 million in qualifying payroll and $38 million in new capital investments.

Approved companies are eligible to earn the job creation incentives only if they meet and maintain payroll, employment and capital investment targets each year. Revision must also submit a Final Application for consideration by the Council.

The Council approved the applications after reviewing nine program guidelines and applying a rigorous cost-benefit analysis which showed that because of the economic activity that will be generated by these projects, even after payment of the incentives the State will realize a minimum net increase in tax revenues of $3.7 million over five years.

The Council also determined that these projects would not occur or would occur in a significantly different and less desirable manner if not for the incentives being authorized.

The Vermont Economic Progress Council is an independent board consisting of nine Vermont citizens appointed by the governor that considers applications to the state’s economic incentive programs.

The Council is attached to the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, whose mission is to help Vermonters improve their quality of life and build strong communities.

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Source: Agency of Commerce and Community Development
Last Updated at: December 21, 2009 11:35:21