Business & Economy

VTDigger publishes Vermont business and economic news. We also specialize in coverage of state finances and the impact of tax and budget policy on Vermonters. Anne Galloway is the primary reporter on the business and economy beat. She can be reached at [email protected]

Senate Finance holds hearings today and Tuesday on sales, income tax changes

-+*The Senate Finance Committee will take testimony on a draft revenue bill, H.489, which makes changes to the state income and sales taxes. The hearings will be held 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. today and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday. Senate Finance is considering changes to the income tax in fiscal year 2016 that […]

State unemployment rate dips in March

-+*The state unemployment rate dropped by one-tenth of a percentage point in March, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the Vermont Department of Labor. The revised jobless rate for March was 3.8 percent, compared to 3.9 percent in February. The national average for March was 5.5. percent. “Vermont’s economy was bolstered by a successful 2014-2015 […]

Businesses say an ‘enhanced’ VEGI program would tip the scales

GW Plastics

-+*GW Plastics is considering an expansion in Vermont, Texas or Arizona. A company representative says changes to the VEGI program would provide a meaningful incentive to build a new facility in Vermont.

Late start to maple season means a little less syrup this year

Rebecca Boucher carries syrup from the sap boiler to the filtering station at Nebraska Knoll Sugar Farm in Stowe earlier this month. Photo by Glenn Callahan/Stowe Reporter

-+*Even though production ran lower than a year ago, there will still be plenty of Vermont-made maple syrup on store shelves, and the quality of this year’s sap has been particularly good.

Senate approves transportation bill

-+*In a roll call vote Friday, the Senate unanimously approved the transportation bill on third reading. The Agency of Transportation’s total budget for fiscal year 2016 is $630 million, which amounts to a $50 million decrease from 2015. The transportation funding package includes a new measure that establishes a floor on the 2 percent assessment […]

Senate Appropriations on track to pass budget next week

Jane Kitchel

-+*Senate Appropriations aims to pass the budget bill out on Monday, and plans to get the bill through the Senate by the end of next week. Sen. Jane Kitchel said the fate of H.490 depends on what the Senate Finance Committee does with the revenue package.

Paid sick leave passes House by nine votes

-+*he Vermont House of Representatives passed a bill that would mandate that employers provide at least three days of paid time off by 2016. Lawmakers gave H.187 final approval in a 72-63 roll call vote Thursday night. The bill will go to the Senate Committee on Rules, die and be resurrected in the Senate next […]

Senate Finance considers extension of sales tax to services and candy, soda, bottled water

Tim Ashe

-+*The sales tax for all goods and services would be lowered from 6 percent to 4.75 percent when the consumer services sales tax is implemented on July 1, 2016, Ashe said.

House panel passes sales tax on soda, candy to buy down property tax rate

Adam Greshin

-+*Until now soda and candy have both been exempt from the state’s 6 percent sales tax, but both the House and the Senate are proposing an expansion of the tax.

Secretary of Administration: Fewer than 50 RIFs of state workers likely

Justin Johnson

-+*In total, Johnson expects that 300 positions will be eliminated across the state — although he noted that many of those positions will likely be vacant posts.

Burlington Electric shuts down online payment system

-+*Burlington Electric Department shut down its online payment system last week. A Reddit user discovered that utility customers’ passwords were stored on an internal database that was not adequately protected with encryption. Click2Gov, which is the online interface that allows customers to pay their bills online, had stored customers’ passwords in plain text. This was […]

House to hold public hearing tonight on VEGI changes

-+*he House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development will hold a public hearing on the Shumlin administration’s economic development proposals. The committee will take testimony from the public on Thursday, April 23 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. regarding proposed changes to the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive, or VEGI. House Commerce Chair Rep. Bill Botzow, […]

House narrowly OKs paid sick leave bill after three-hour debate

Helen Head

-+*The bill passed out of the House Committee on General, Housing, and Military Affairs in a 5-3 party line vote April 17. The issue generated three hours of floor debate on Thursday between lawmakers who called H.187 a mandate on business and legislators who believe the new mandate will improve workers’ quality of life.

Senate scraps plan to shutter Windsor Prison

Dick Sears

-+*The Senate Appropriations Committee kept language in the budget from the House that reduces out-of-state bed program by a total of $15.3 million.

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