Transparency Concerns With Corporate Incentives

“Over the last 20 years, the state of Vermont has authorized more than $10 million in payments to Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.”

So starts a new VPR investigative piece looking into how state funds have been allocated to the large company, specifically those given through the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive program (VEGI), and their return on investment.

However, there is no report. No numbers exist to show how much of Vermont tax payer’s money has been given to the coffee giant. No reports have been filed showing how those funds have been used. No data can be shown to prove their efficacy.

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Education Update from VISA

Key bills remain unresolved, and AOE announces new State Director of Special Education.

Thanks to our friends at VISA for this updated information. 

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Vermont is in Trouble

Vermont loves to tout its many media accolades, frequently showing up on top-ten lists praising us for our health, happiness, and sustainability. Pull aside the curtains, however, and anyone who is honest with themselves can only come to one conclusion: Vermont is in trouble.

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How We Got Here - a Timeline of Act 46 and Forced Mergers

The Legislature has been considering how to handle the State Board of Education’s forced merger plan since they convened the second week in November. Many towns feel they were treated unfairly, having submitted alternative governance proposals in line with the Act 46 process. They felt so strongly, in fact, that more than 35 towns have joined multiple lawsuits challenging the law and, perhaps more importantly, the manner in which the State Board of Education has implemented it.

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March 2019 Seasonally Adjusted Vermont Labor Market Statistics

Latest data shows Vermont's unemployment rate has dropped from 2.7% to 2.4% from February 2018 to February 2019. Below is a graphic from the Vermont Department of Labor (DOL) detailing our civilian labor force, as well as a statement from DOL Commissioner Lindsay Kurrle. 

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Early April Paid Family Leave Update

Paid Family Leave update from week of April 2-6

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Early April Education Update

Below are rough notes highlighting what happened in Education last week (April 2-6).

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Commentary: Towns did everything right, but none of that seems to matter

This text comes from a commentary by Heidi Scheuermann, a Republican, representing Stowe in the Vermont House of Representatives. You can read the whole commentary, plus additional thoughts relating to tourism, at this link.

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Three Es Update

Campaign for Vermont's Three E's of Prosperity - education, ethics, and economics - have been getting a lot of attention in the State House this year. Here is a breakdown of what's been happening. 

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Commentary: Vermont Has a Negative Net Worth

Editor’s note: This commentary is by David Coates, a retired managing partner at KPMG — Vermont and a member of the Vermont Business Roundtable. He was a member of the 2010 state Commission on the Design and Funding of Retirement and Retiree Health Benefits Plans for State Employees and Teachers. He lives in Colchester.

Just recently the state’s financial statements were published for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. For perhaps the first time in history, the state’s balance sheet shows a negative net worth of $200 million. In other words, our liabilities exceed our assets. By contrast, the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, showed our net worth was a positive $1.3 billion, so the logical question would be, what happened to give us a variance to the tune of $1.5 billion?

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