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Tax revenues soar with one-time money

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 5:17pm -- tim

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Led by the personal income and corporate taxes, all three revenue funds substantially exceeded their projections for the month of December 2020 and all three are now ahead of their annual targets. Meanwhile, the Emergency Board on Wednesday upgraded its forecast for FY21 and FY22, which had been downgraded last August because of the pandemic-caused economic downturn. The State’s General Fund, Transportation Fund, and Education Fund receipts were a combined $54.33 million, or 30.6% above consensus expectations.

Governor Scott in quarantine, tested for COVID today

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 4:07pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott will be tested for COVID-19 today, and again on Tuesday – day seven of his quarantine – based on guidance from the Vermont Department of Health. The Governor’s Office will release the results of each test. Governor Scott, Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD, and Financial Regulation Commissioner Mike Pieciak, who participated in Tuesday’s press conference, are all quarantining due to their close proximity to the COVID-positive individual. Human Services Secretary Mike Smith and Public Safety Commissioner Mike Schirling are also quarantining due to their proximity to the positive case on Friday, January 15. The press briefing for Friday will go on as scheduled with the governor participating remotely.

Elevated law-enforcement presence remains in place in Montpelier

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 3:35pm -- tim

Vermont State Police Police are continuing high-visibility patrols at the Capitol Complex in Montpelier. State Street remains open. There are no reports of any incidents.

Updates will be provided later this afternoon.

***Update, 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20***

The enhanced presence by law enforcement agencies is ongoing this afternoon at the Capitol Complex in Montpelier. State Street in front of the Vermont Statehouse remains open. No incidents have been reported.

Additional updates will follow this afternoon.

VEDA approved over $20 million in financing last quarter, now accepting PPP applications

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 1:25pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) approved over $20.3 million in new financing for Vermont businesses and farms during the quarter ended December 31, an almost $15 million increase over the previous quarter. VEDA has also been processing applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which reopened on January 11. Created under the CARES Act and implemented by the US Small Business Administration (SBA), PPP provides forgivable loans to businesses impacted by COVID-19, providing much needed liquidity to keep employees on payrolls and help cover overhead costs.

Condos issues directive on allowable 2021 annual meeting election procedures

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 1:11pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Today Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos issued his directive on permitted processes for local elections in 2021, giving municipalities the flexibility and safe voting options they need to hold Annual Meeting and other local elections safely. The Legislature has authorized municipalities to delay Annual Meeting until a time in 2021 when it can be held in a safer manner or environment, the proactive mailing of ballots to all voters on the municipal checklist, and conversion of a floor meeting to use of an Australian ballot. The Legislature has appropriated $2 million to help pay for the costs of conducting annual meetings.

Bray: Three crises, one people, and Vermont grit

Wed, 01/20/2021 - 4:33am -- tim

by Senator Christopher Bray Vermonters face three crises: the first two are clear and present dangers—first, COVID-19, and second, the need to uphold the safe, lawful, just, and stable operation of government in Washington, DC, and across the nation. The third crisis is less obvious, yet more challenging and damaging in the long run—climate change.

Person at Scott's press briefing tests positive for COVID-19

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 6:12pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine This afternoon Governor Phil Scott, Department of Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD and other administration officials were informed that a contractor who provided services at the Governor’s coronavirus briefings on Friday, January 15 and Tuesday, January 19 has tested positive for COVID-19. However, out of an abundance of caution, because they speak at the podium for extended periods of time, Governor Scott, Dr Levine, and other administration officials in attendance will quarantine and be tested based on guidance from the Vermont Department of Health. 

VDH COVID-19 Update: Some optimism as case counts fall in region

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 5:19pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health is reporting today 102 new cases of COVID-19 and again there have been no deaths since last Friday. They are holding at 163. State officials are cautiously optimistic as trends in Vermont, the region and across the nation appear to be showing that COVID cases may have reached their third-wave peak. And despite problems with supply coming from the federal government, beginning next week on January 25, Vermonters who are age 75 and older will be able to make an appointment to be vaccinated.Those eligible for the vaccine will expand by age grouping, and then, after the age groups, by certain high-risk medical conditions.

Commission provides synopsis of misconduct investigations involving Vermont State Police troopers

Tue, 01/19/2021 - 4:30pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Michael Schirling, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, and Nancy Sheahan, chairwoman of the State Police Advisory Commission, issued the following joint statement Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, regarding the work of SPAC and the Internal Affairs Office within the Department of Public Safety during the first half of 2020.

DPS in the past has provided an overview of SPAC’s work, but today’s public release of information represents the first time the department has provided detail about individual cases.