Tim McQuiston

Commentator

Tim McQuiston is editor of Vermont Business Magazine.

McQuiston: Carbon Tax

Sep 18, 2018

Vermont’s goals of reducing carbon emissions by 25 percent from the 1990 benchmark by 2012 and by 50 percent by 2028 weren’t haphazard.

Close your eyes and imagine Vermont. Now consider this vision the Vermont Brand.

There’s hardly an industry in Vermont that doesn’t need more and better trained workers. Even Farm to Table, an organization that supports locally grown food, is promoting more agricultural workforce development.

Many years ago I worked with someone who went to Attica - yes, that Attica - for possessing a small amount of pot, and it probably didn’t help that he was also Native American. The prison experience nearly wrecked him as a human being.

The state of Vermont has been deeply embarrassed by the fraud allegations up at Jay Peak. It also wants to make the best of the hundreds of millions of dollars invested in projects there and at unrelated projects across the state. Scandal, yes, but it’s also created thousands of jobs in the critical hospitality industry, which was the intent of the EB-5 program in the first place.

Last week, Hydro Quebec bid on the state of Massachusetts' proposal to increase its renewable energy portfolio.

Relatively late in the legislative game, Governor Phil Scott suggested that property taxpayers could save twenty-six million dollars a year if all teacher health insurance plans were rolled into one state contract.

The EB-5 fraud case that was exposed a year ago was a suitable capper to one of the worst ski seasons in memory. A million skier days had been lost in a single winter, as the short, warm season ended with scandal.

McQuiston: Sales Tax

Mar 20, 2017

The Sears catalogue, back in the day, was the size of the New York City phone book. When there was a New York City phone book. It had everything from clothing to sporting goods to farm implements. It was awesome. As recently as the 1970s Sears was still so colossal that it was able to build America’s tallest building in Chicago. Now, the company no longer has the catalogue or the skyscraper.

The general reaction to Treasurer Beth Pearce’s suggestion that the state cover about a quarter of the massive costs of cleaning up Vermont’s waterways with a de facto increase in the property tax was a collective WHAT???

If you live in Vermont, it might feel like New Hampshire senatorial candidates Kelly Ayotte and Maggie Hassan have spent more time in your family room lately than your own family, given the relentless TV ads they’ve run. More than $30 million will have been spent to employ one, single person.

In a deli at the top of Church Street in Burlington there’s a vintage photo from the post-Civil War era of the street itself - still just a dirt road lined with modest buildings that look like bungalow-style homes.

The American Promise isn’t dead. But it’s not what it used to be.

It's hard to know where to begin talking about the collapse of the EB five program in the Northeast Kingdom. We’re not at the beginning and we’re certainly not near the end. And just as certainly, all is not lost from an economic development point of view.

In looking for a used car recently, I test drove a ’98 Mercedes that had two very anachronistic features.

McQuiston: College

Jan 29, 2016

When your college kid’s on break, occupying your sofa, your TV, your car and your fridge, you might be ready to pay any price to send him back to school.

Or maybe not.

Yes. I had a ticket to the Trump event at the Flynn. I wanted a close look at the candidate who’s led the Republican presidential hopefuls in polling pretty much since he entered the race.

Apparently the Mythbuster boys are putting away their cheese cannon for good. That’s the cable TV show that debunks urban legends and other rumors that maybe we hoped were true. So in the spirit of solidarity, let me de-bunk a couple of local myths regarding electricity.

GlobalFoundries has invested $55 million into its Essex Junction plant to make another 5 million chips a day. Those semiconductors mostly will go into cell phones and tablets used worldwide. In fact, they'll be put into nearly every smart phone. Depending on the make and model, 5-12 Vermont chips are used in every device.

With the investment in hardware, the Vermont fab will increase total output by 15 percent to 10 billion chips a year. Yes, that's billion with a B.

Secretary of State Jim Condos and others are right to call for transparency and open government. But they’re wrong about calling for an Ethics Commission.

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