MONTPELIER Governor Jim Douglas and Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) CEO Jo Bradley today announced the July 1 launch of a new economic growth program offering low interest capital for Vermont businesses with rates as low as three percentage points below Wall Street Prime. The Economic Recovery and Opportunity Program will utilize $1.25 million in funds approved by the Legislature as part of Governor Douglas 15-point Economic Growth Initiative. This component of my Economic Growth Initiative will enable Vermonts employers to access very affordable financing, contribute to our states economic growth and create jobs for Vermonters, said Governor Douglas. The funding will allow VEDA to make up to $18 million in program loans over two years. Program funds may be used to purchase land and buildings, finance construction or renovation, or purchase and install machinery, equipment, furniture and fixtures. The $18 million in funds available under the program will be loaned on a first-come-first-served basis, and the program will sunset on June 30, 2010. These loan rates are unprecedented in recent memory, Bradley said. Based on todays Wall Street Prime of 5.0%, an initial borrower rate could be as low as 2.0%. Rates will be adjustable quarterly. The eligibility, terms and limitations of the program will match those of VEDAs Direct Loan Program. VEDA may either make its own direct loan to an eligible and qualified borrower, or purchase a portion of a bank loan. The maximum loan available to any borrower is $1.3 million. ABOUT VEDA VEDAs mission is to promote economic prosperity in Vermont by providing financial assistance to eligible businesses, including manufacturing, agricultural, and travel and tourism enterprises. Since its inception in 1974, VEDA has made financing commitments totaling over $1.3 billion. For more information about VEDA, visit www.veda.org or call 802-828-5627. ABOUT THE GOVERNORS ECONOMIC GROWTH INITIATIVE On April 19, Governor Jim Douglas presented a 15-point economic package to encourage growth, create jobs and help Vermont emerge from the current national economic challenge with a stronger and more resilient economy. After steady insistence from the Governor, legislative leaders warmed to Douglas plan and passed, with a few modifications, a significant majority of his proposals. Among other items, the Governors Economic Growth Initiative includes homeownership and mortgage assistance programs, investments in transportation jobs, job creation tax credits, very low interest capital for small businesses and startups, investments in downtown development and the Governors New Neighborhoods affordable home construction initiative. In total, the Governors package has the potential to generate more than $200 million in direct economic activity and millions of dollars more in indirect economic multipliers.