Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Gov. Peter Shumlin wants the Legislature to approve a $90 million payroll tax on Vermont businesses. But lawmakers are reluctant, to say the least. And the governor’s proposal rests largely in the hands of an unconventional bureaucrat who will have to convince legislators that the money will be put to good use.

Al Gobeille is the chairman of the Green Mountain Care Board, and his five-person panel already has wide-ranging authority over the state’s health care system. But Peter Shumlin now wants to endow the group with even broader policy powers.

Here’s something new: For the first time rumors of big layoffs at IBM are not a big worry for state officials and business and community leaders in Vermont.

For years rumors have often preceded layoffs at IBM and the company’s Essex facility has seen its share of job cuts.  

Now new reports may signal another round of IBM layoffs, but there’s none of the usual local anxiety.

Toby Talbot / AP/file

Large scale wind projects are the most cost-effective way for utilities to meet proposed new renewable energy requirements now being considered by the Legislature, according to Statehouse testimony.

Lawmakers are looking to revamp the state law that promotes the development of renewable energy. A bill backed by the Shumlin Administration would establish what’s called a renewable portfolio standard  – a legal requirement that 55 percent of a utility’s power mix come from renewable sources by 2017.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR/file

On Thursday, Vermont’s nearly 120,000 Catholics will have a new leader in the state. Bishop Christopher Coyne will be installed as the Tenth Bishop of Burlington at a ceremony in the Queen City.

Carolyn Box / AP

The Vermont House passed a bill Tuesday to ban microbeads in beauty products that have been found to cause harm to fish and other wildlife.

The House gave preliminary approval to H.4 with a unanimous voice vote. It was passed unanimously by the House Fish and Wildlife Committee on Friday.

The legislation, first brought to the attention of the House Fish and Wildlife Committee by Rep. Patti Komline, R-Dorset, has broad support across the political spectrum.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Vermonters do a pretty good job of filling their local food shelves with Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas cranberry sauce. But donations can take a sharp drop with the start of the New Year. The Lamoille Neighborhood Food Project aims to address such dips by making donating food as easy as putting an extra can in your cart.

Angela Evancie / VPR

The deteriorating water quality in Lake Champlain has been a topic of ecological concern, litigation and spending in the last two decades. Much of the problem comes from phosphorous washing into the lake from its massive watershed and setting off blooms of toxic, filthy blue-green algae.

In a few years all Vermonters will be required to keep food waste out of landfills, but for some institutions that create a lot of food scraps, those requirements kick in a lot sooner. While some of that food waste will be composted, under a new pilot project some of it will be headed to anaerobic digesters that create energy, including the one at Vermont Technical College in Randolph.

TH3DSTO / iStock

Germany may have a woman chancellor, but more than two-thirds of German businesses have no women in a senior role. It’s not much better in the United States. According to a study by the Grant Thornton International Business Report, of 45 countries, the U.S. ranked ninth from last when it came to women in top managerial positions – well behind Russia, Indonesia, Latvia and Peru.

You might think things are better in Vermont. But of the 99 largest employers in the state, just 15 percent are headed by women. 

Alexa Luthor

Higher Ground, a music venue in South Burlington, sold out a string of shows this past weekend. But it wasn't a band that folks were lining up to see.

The performance space hosted a popular festival celebrating the art of burlesque.

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