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Tentative budget deal could fail with last minute changes

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 11:56am -- tim

Leonine Public Affairs Late last Friday, the House passed the Senate’s version of H16, but not before amending it at the behest of House Appropriation Chair Kitty Toll, D-Danville. Under Rep. Toll’s amendment the property tax rates established by the Senate for FY2019 are unchanged. However, she proposed language providing that unless the General Assembly acts otherwise, the residential rate will remain the same as in the previous fiscal year. In addition her amendment tinkered with the allocation of some of the one-time monies, but did not apply any more of that money to education property rates in FY2020. House Minority Leader Don Turner vowed a revote on the bill on Monday, an action that would be allowable because he voted in favor of the bill. He said he would call for a revote on the grounds that the changes voted on late Friday night were unclear. This sentiment highlights the frustration House Republicans were feeling after the tentative budget deal fell through. Will there be a revote? Will the Senate accept changes made by the House? Will negotiations continue with the governor? Time is running short to avert a shutdown of state government on July 1. The saga continues into week six.

Landowners are essential partner in Vermont’s forest products economy

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 11:09am -- tim

by Christine McGowan, Forest Program Director, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund Vermont’s forests are one of our greatest natural resources, contributing to the economy through industry and recreation to the tune of $3.4 billion, and supporting countless non-economic benefits such as clean water and wildlife habitat. Unique to Vermont, only 20 percent of our forests are owned by business or government, leaving 80 percent of Vermont’s forested landscape--more than 4.5 million acres-- in the hands of private landowners.

National Life Group Foundation reveals $1.8 million in grants

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 10:52am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The National Life Group Foundation granted a record total of $1.8 million this spring to nearly 200 charitable organizations primarily in Vermont and Texas, where National Life Group’s roughly 1,000 employees work. Some of the money will be spent launching a dedicated focus on tackling childhood hunger in Vermont, an initiative that will continue to be a cause of the Foundation well into the future. Among the larger recipients were the Champlain Housing Trust and the Vermont Foodbank. The vast majority of the funding is centered on central and northern Vermont and the Dallas, Texas, area where most of Vermont Life employees live and work.

Hudson gets 10-year concessions contract at Burlington International Airport

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 10:12am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Hudson Group (NYSE:HUD), a leader in North American travel retail, today announced the City of Burlington, Vermont has approved a 10-year concessions contract extension at Burlington International Airport (BTV). As the incumbent retail concessionaire at BTV since 2003, the joint-venture agreement includes 3,182 square feet of retail space. Retail concepts represented in the extension include three Vermont eccentric travel essentials and convenience stores: Discover Vermont/Hudson, Lake Champlain News, and Mount Mansfield News.

Alchemist, Hill Farmstead earn national recognition

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 9:21am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The American Homebrewers Association (AHA) magazine, Zymurgy, last week released its 16th annual “Best Beers in America.” The trio of lists details the top-ranked beers, breweries and brewery portfolios in the US, according to AHA members and homebrewers. The Alchemist in Stowe and Hill Farmstead in Greensboro were among those honored.

Letter: UVMMC nurses make their case

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 8:03am -- tim

Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals This open letter to the community explains the position of the bargaining committee of the Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, the union elected to represent the 1,800+ nurses working at the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC). Recently, 94% of voting nurses approved a strike, if needed, to secure the contract necessary to provide the quality care the community deserves. We have not called for a strike yet, and we remain committed to working with the management team to find solutions to UVMMC’s safety, staffing, recruitment, and retention issues, but we may be forced to exercise this option as a last resort if the management team continues to ignore the very real concerns and problems we face. 

Roper: $10,000 bribe undercuts Vermont brand

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 8:01am -- tim

by Rob Roper If I held up a cookie and said, I’ll give you five bucks to eat this, what would your initial reaction be? More than likely, either “what’s wrong with it,” or “what’s the catch?” If it were a perfectly good cookie, why would I have to pay you to eat it? If it were really good, you should be eager to pay me. This is a fundamental flaw in the Remote Worker Grant Program that offers to pay people $10,000 to move to Vermont and telecommute to jobs out of state. It actually devalues Vermont’s brand.

Supreme Court says warrant needed on cell geolocation

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 4:29pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The US Supreme Court Friday issued an opinion in Carpenter v. U.S., holding that the Fourth Amendment generally requires the government to obtain a warrant to obtain geolocation information through cell-site location information.  Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a leading member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the lead sponsor of the bipartisan Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) Modernization Act (S.1657), released the following comment:

Summit: Reinvisioning a post-Vermont Yankee economy

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 11:23am -- tim

by Maia Segura Vermont Business Magazine Let’s face it. Most economic development conferences tend to be a bit of a snooze. The same players regurgitate the same content. Everyone goes away a little better networked, but not very inspired. Not so for the 2nd Annual Southern Vermont Economic Development Summit at Mount Snow’s Grand Lodge on May 30, where attendees were surprised by optimism.

VT employers to see continued unemployment insurance tax relief; claimants to see increased maximum weekly benefit amount

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 11:08am -- katie

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Labor announced changes to the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program starting July 1, 2018 that will ultimately reduce the cost of UI taxes for employers for the second year in a row.

Vermont requests Federal Disaster declaration

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 11:05am -- katie

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott has made a formal request for federal disaster funds to assist communities and public utilities in five Vermont counties in paying for repairs to public infrastructure damaged in wind and rainstorms on May 4 and 5. Communities and public utilities in Chittenden, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, and Orleans counties sustained damages that meet or exceed minimum thresholds to be eligible for a Public Assistance disaster declaration. There were additional damages in Franklin County that FEMA is still assessing in order to determine whether that county is eligible.