Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott announced Saturday evening that he will allow H315 to become law without his signature. While the bill includes several important measures related to economic recovery from the pandemic, it also includes several points the governor said he cannot support. For instance, both for-profit and nonprofit organizations opposed the last-second inclusion of taxing Paycheck Protection Program grants as taxable income in next year's (2021) tax return.
Leonine Public Affairs The Senate Appropriations committee spent the week working through H.439, the FY2022 state budget bill. At the beginning of the week the committee had a goal of finalizing the budget and sending it to the Senate floor by April 20. By the end of the week the committee’s target for approving H.439 was pushed back to April 23. This is in part because the committee needs to determine how to allocate the $1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and in part because the budget process is more decentralized than previous years.
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Independent Media has announced that its community newspaper, The Commons, won 10 prizes in the New England Newspaper & Press Association’s 2021 Better Newspaper Competition, in divisions for weekly newspapers with circulation greater than 6,000. The Commons is based in Brattleboro.
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Ski + Ride Magazine has won the top award from the New England Newspaper and Press Association, General Excellence, for specialty publications. The awards were announced at the organization’s annual meeting last Friday. It is the second year in a row the publication has won. Vermont Ski + Ride was also named the Best Niche Publication in New England by the group, which represents more than 340 newspapers and media outlets in New England’s six states.
Vermont Business Magazine AO Glass announces its first line of products for the Wedding, Beverage, Real Estate, and Corporate Industries. AO Glass has grown to a team of 20 with greatly increased capacity, anchoring the creative economy in the South End Arts District in Burlington. Building upon the success of our contract lighting business, AO Glass is launching a new line of organizational gifts and products directed to serving other Vermont, and National, entities.
Vermont Business Magazine Kinney Pike Insurance has been named Vermont’s 2020 Diamond Achiever by Patriot Insurance Company. The annual award is presented to the highest performing agency based on set criteria including length of appointment, profitability, growth, and policy retention. Each year, the top Patriot Insurance Company agencies receive the “Diamond Achiever” award in recognition of their outstanding accomplishment.
Public Assets Institute Despite a dramatic drop in unemployment in recent months, the number of Vermont residents who are working has not increased. The number of people officially unemployed—available and looking for work—fell since last April because workers left the labor force, not because they returned to work. In March 2021, 30,000 fewer Vermonters were employed compared with the same month in 2020, before the full COVID shutdown—a 9 percent drop.
Vermont Business Magazine Governor Scott announced today that Vermonters who are age 16, 17 and 18 can now make appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine starting tomorrow (Saturday, April 17) at 10 am. All other 16 and older Vermonters can start signing up as early as 6 am on Monday. Scott does not believe the suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for another week will hold up the state's overall vaccination schedule. But those Vermonters who had made a J&J appointment will have to reschedule. Also, the Vermont Department of Health is reporting 141 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths for a statewide total of 242. And the governor extended the State of Emergency until May 15. This is expected to last until at least the summer, as Scott extends it month-to-month.
Vermont Business Magazine This week, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) Animal Health section was notified that a horse in Alburgh exhibiting neurologic abnormalities tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1), resulting in a case of Equine Herpesvirus Myeloencephalopathy (EHM). The horse in question is currently under quarantine while the Agency monitors and manages the case with the attending veterinarian.
by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Regular weekly unemployment claims continue to grow to their highest levels this year and remain at a very high level, as claimants were required to refile based on their annual eligibility. However, initial claims are more than 7,000 fewer than the same time last year. On April 10, 2020, the Labor Department reported 2,252 new weekly filings, an increase of 491. This week's filings, which are a recent high, are still 7,410 fewer than the same time last year. Nationally, claims unexpectedly fell below 600,000 to their lowest pandemic level. However, these remain historically high numbers.
by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell again and at 2.9 percent in March is back under 3 percent for the first time since just before the pandemic hit in early 2020. The Vermont Department of Labor released the report Friday morning. The rate reflects a decrease of one-tenth of one percentage point from the prior month’s revised estimate of 3.0 percent. It was revised down from 3.1 percent. Vermont now is tied for the lowest rate in the nation with three Western states.
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Democratic Party announced today that Maine-native Claire Cummings has been hired as the Party’s next Executive Director. In this role, Cummings will oversee the Party’s effort to fundraise, recruit and support Democratic candidates, and build a year-round grassroots organizing operation that keeps Vermont blue in 2022 and beyond.