The Senate unanimously passed a capital construction bill, H. 445. The bill is expected to provide jobs to thousands of Vermonters through renovation and construction of state buildings, water infrastructure projects, and improvements in forests and parks.
WPTZ NewsChannel 5 and Seven Days, Vermont s alternative news weekly, have announced a partnership. The two news organizations are involved in a content-sharing agreement servicing residents of Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire. As part of this agreement, Seven Days contributors will appear twice a week during NewsChannel 5 s 11 p.m. newscast.
For the twelfth time since 1991, U.S.News & World Report has ranked Vermont Law School's environmental law program as the best in the nation. The program, run through the school's Environmental Law Center (ELC), offers the largest selection of environmental law courses in the nation. The ELC has also been active in international projects, assisting partner schools in China and Russia in the development of environmental law curricula. The 2010 edition of America's Best Graduate Schools will appear on newsstands on April 28.
As a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), Vermont has been recognized for leadership in reducing emissions responsible for global warming. The EPA recognized the RGGI states for building a cap-and-trade program, which limits emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel-fired power plants.
Vermont State Auditor, Tom Salmon, is attempting to find more ways for Vermont schools to save money on supplies. In a report released on April 20, Salmon said that schools are missing an opportunity to take advantage of the State s competitive bidding, estimating that they spend at least $60 million a year on supplies such as paper and computers. The state has an extensive centralized contracting system covering 400 commodities, but Salmon noted that only 21 percent of the school supervisory unions surveyed were checking state contracts.
Farmers may apply immediately for the new agricultural stimulus financing available through VEDA s farm lending program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC). VACC has up to $6 million in low-interest financing available, made possible by $1 million in federal economic stimulus funds from Vermont s share of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Is it time to look at Vermont s transportation system or the lack of one? That is a question being explored by AARP and a number of other groups around Vermont. An AARP report released today shows that significant groups of Vermonters are unable to get where they need to go particularly older and lower income residents. As a strong consumer advocate, AARP is committed to supporting efforts that foster independence and livable communities or communities that have affordable and accessible housing, community engagement opportunities, and offer a range of mobility options.
The House has passed the Renewable Energy and Green Jobs Bill, H.446, to promote in-state renewable energy development and create well-paying green jobs for Vermonters around the state. The bill will encourage community-scale renewable energy developments and expedite the delivery of $21 million in stimulus funds for green energy projects. It is estimated that 15-20 jobs will be created per megawatt of installation every year. The bill passed third reading by a 2-to-1 margin, 88-44.
A wildly fluid package of tax increases that crossed party allegiances was passed by the Senate Wednesday by a thin 18-12 vote. The slew of tax changes would result in a increase of $26.1 million in new revenues. A $4.55 billion budget then breezed through the Senate on a 27-3 vote. Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin pushed the tax package through the upper house despite objections from deep within his own party.
Week Ending April 18, 2009. There were 1,598 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance last week, an increase of 160 from the week before. Altogether 18,991 new and continuing claims were filed, 499 more than a week ago and 8,233 more than a year earlier. The Department also processed 2,070 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 12 more than a week ago. In addition, there were 1,260 Second Tier claims for benefits processed under the EUC08 program which is an increase of 58 from the week before.
Governor Jim Douglas has welcomed a Quebec-based transformer manufacturer opening a factory in Vermont. The firm estimates it will create 16 jobs this year and up to 43 workers by the end of 2011. In a ceremony at the company s new facility in the St Albans Industrial Park, the governor introduced BEMAG Transformers, Inc and celebrated the company s selection of Vermont for their expansion project. The state used $267,569 in incentives to lure the Canadian firm to Vermont, as well as $106,000 for training, and VEDA financing of $718,000.
March contracts for future construction in Vermont and New Hampshire soared in March 2009 as the federal stimulus package brought hundreds of millions of dollars into the two states for highway and bridge construction, according to the McGraw Hill Construction reports. Vermont March transportation contracts were $275.2 million, with the total for the first quarter of 2009 up 1,311.1 percent to $292.1 million. The transportation total for the first quarter is slightly more than the total for all of 2008 or 2007. New Hampshire's March transportation contracts were $114.5 million.