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Vermont closely monitoring global coronavirus developments

Tue, 01/28/2020 - 9:29am -- tim
Risk here is low, but take everyday steps to prevent exposure and illness

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont health officials are closely monitoring a new coronavirus that was first identified in Wuhan, China, and has resulted in a global outbreak of a sometimes-deadly respiratory illness formally known as 2019-nCoV. Thousands of cases have been identified in China, with more in other countries. Five cases in travelers from Wuhan have been confirmed in four states (AZ, CA, IL, WA) as of January 27, 2020. There are no suspected cases in Vermont.

McClaughry: GWSA, the worst democracy-shredding bill in 50 years

Tue, 01/28/2020 - 3:14am -- tim

by John McClaughry Over the past 50 years I have seen a lot of bills introduced into the Vermont legislature. Of all the bills over all those years, the absolute worst was just introduced in the House, with 87 co-sponsors (all Democratic and Progressive). It’s titled the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA, H688). The Climate Action Coalition believes that the planet faces a “climate emergency” due to human-caused carbon dioxide emissions. Every year for the past five years its dozens of lobbyists have labored to persuade the legislators to take bold and far-reaching steps to drive down those emissions. The centerpiece of those efforts has been a carbon tax. The argument has three components. First, we must drive down the use of carbon-based fuels by Vermonters using heating oil, natural gas, gasoline, diesel and propane.

Electronic health records vendor to pay largest criminal fine in Vermont in opioid case

Mon, 01/27/2020 - 7:47pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Practice Fusion, Inc, a San Francisco-based health information technology developer, will pay $145 million to resolve criminal and civil investigations relating to its electronic health records (EHR) software, the Department of Justice announced today. As part of the criminal resolution, Practice Fusion admits that it solicited and received kickbacks from a major opioid company in exchange for utilizing its EHR software to influence physician prescribing of opioid pain medications. Practice Fusion has executed a deferred prosecution agreement and agreed to pay over $26 million in criminal fines and forfeiture.  

Molly Gray joins race for lieutenant governor

Mon, 01/27/2020 - 3:56pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Assistant Attorney General Molly Gray announced today that she is running for Lieutenant Governor of Vermont. She joins an ever-crowding field that includes Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe (D/P- Burlington); Democrat Brenda Siegel of Newfane; Democratic State Senator Deb Ingram of Williston; and Republican Meg Hansen, of Manchester. The rush to join the race follows incumbent David Zuckerman's decision to challenge Governor Phil Scott.

Mascoma closes $900,000 NMTC to expand local grocery access in Burlington’s Old North End

Mon, 01/27/2020 - 2:51pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Mascoma Community Development (MCD) has announced the closing of $900,000 in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation to support the development of a retail space within Burlington’s Old North End neighborhood. The space will be specifically tailored to accommodate a locally owned grocery store, as well as a bank “micro branch.” Jake’s ONE is located at 242 North Winooski Ave.

Randy George: Why the paid family bill misses the mark

Mon, 01/27/2020 - 2:43pm -- tim

by Randy George, Red Hen Baking Though the 2020 legislative session has only just begun, the legislature is already faced with a defining question: how to create and implement a paid family and medical leave program that protects all working Vermonters. While most people agree that such a program is necessary and in fact will support the health, well-being, and economic security of Vermont’s children, families, and small businesses, the devil remains in the details.

Mascoma closes $2 million New Markets Tax Credits to provide home for arts in Burlington

Mon, 01/27/2020 - 2:06pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Mascoma Community Development (MCD) has announced the successful closing of $2 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation to support the development of a community arts center at 405 Pine Street (Burlington City Arts Foundation/Burlington City Arts) in Burlington. The space will become the permanent home of Burlington City Arts’ (BCA) programs and services. The new center will become a local cornerstone for nurturing creativity and imagination through the arts.

Citizens M&A Outlook: Still a sellers’ market, but urgency recedes

Mon, 01/27/2020 - 12:21pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Business leaders surveyed by Citizens Commercial Banking in Vermont and across the region are feeling less urgency to engage in mergers and acquisitions, but sellers with standout businesses can still expect a relatively strong year. Survey respondents see companies relying more on organic growth, fewer sellers in the queue and continued discipline among buyers in 2020. Expect lower deal volumes, more strategic carve-outs and bolt-ons, and stable-to-higher valuations, according to the survey of nearly 600 executives.

Working families could quality for a tax credit of up to $6,557

Mon, 01/27/2020 - 9:40am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine This year, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can help working families in Vermont make ends meet with a credit up to $6,557. In addition, any family with dependent children who receives the Vermont EITC is automatically income eligible for food benefits through 3SquaresVT – meaning their income and resources don’t count. January 31st is EITC Awareness Day, a time to spread the word to the estimated one in five Vermonters who miss out on thousands of dollars in savings and added benefits because they are unaware of EITC or its link to 3SquaresVT.

Leonine: This minimum might be the max

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 8:13pm -- tim

Leonine Public Affairs The House approved legislation that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $12.55 by 2022. This legislation reflects a compromise between the House and Senate and stands in stark contrast to the original Senate proposal that would have raised the minimum wage to $15 per hour. While eight Democrats opposed the measure and have created uncertainty about the House’s ability to override a veto, there has been recent speculation that the governor will either sign the watered down version of this bill or let the bill become law without his signature.

Leahy: Impeachment, stonewalling Congress, and the Freedom of Information Act

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 6:04am -- tim

by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) Last Tuesday night, just as Senate Republicans voted to blindfold the Senate from key witnesses and evidence during the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Trump, even more damaging bits and pieces of his illegal Ukraine aid freeze spilled into public view thanks to the Freedom of Information Act. These documents – heavily and inappropriately redacted by the Trump administration – shed light on just how much more information remains hidden about the alleged misconduct for which the President has been impeached.

Roper: With TCI imploding, a worse bill is on the horizon

Sun, 01/26/2020 - 3:04am -- tim

by Rob Roper Before the 2020 legislative session kicked off, proponents of the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) were calling the interstate agreement to raise prices of gasoline and diesel by as much as 17¢ a gallon their “banner” legislation for the new year. Now, just half way through January, the scheme is unravelling at a rapid pace. Here in Vermont during his State of the State speech last week Governor Scott said, without naming TCI specifically, that, “I simply cannot support proposals that will make things more expensive for [rural and low income Vermonters].” Scott has been vehemently opposed to any form of carbon tax since his first run for governor in 2016.