Tim McQuiston


Tim McQuiston is editor of Vermont Business Magazine.

In a conference room at the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation last October, a grim-faced group of Vermont’s political and business leaders were trying to put the best possible spin on the sale of IBM’s semiconductor division.

Recently, Bill Stenger and his development group broke ground for AnC Bio Vermont. The Newport plant, set to open in the fall of 2016, will introduce something different to Vermont’s economic landscape: Industrial health care.

Because of our geography, modest level of public transportation and our independent nature, Vermonters love to drive – need to drive.

IBM has been one of the most important companies to ever establish an operation in Vermont. And barring regulatory problems, it will leave Vermont by the middle of next year.

Is this the worst-case scenario, the best-case scenario, or something else? The recent acquisition by GlobalFoundries of IBM’s semiconductor business, including the Essex Junction chip plant, begs this question.

If Governor Shumlin has his way, on January 1, 2017, Vermont will become the first state in the nation to have universal health coverage. But that’s not what he really wants.

Vermont doesn’t have to wait until 2017 to get universal health care; we already have it.

Governor Shumlin has abandoned, usually, the term single-payer, not because there’s some sort of stigma in his mind, but for practical reasons. There will be multiple payers no matter how the system is ultimately set up.

McQuiston: IBM in VT

Mar 14, 2014

The other day, I was talking with a recently retired engineer from IBM. He had worked at the Essex Junction plant for the better part of his career and was happy he didn’t have to worry about the seemingly constant chatter about the future of the Vermont plant and, indeed, the future of IBM itself. In contrast to current IBM employees, he didn’t seem very concerned. Granted he’s retired, but still…

Last week, the Air Force announced that Burlington would be the host Air National Guard base for the controversial F-35 jet aircraft .What struck me was the pep rally atmosphere and the overwhelming support of Vermont’s top elected officials.

The economic benefits of getting the F-35s are pretty clear. Basing the new jets here essentially ensures 1,100 Air Guard jobs for another 50 years. There is also the ancillary support for Burlington International Airport. And the military presence helps keep Vermont's economy diversified, which is its ace in the hole.

Anyone doing a victory lap over the decision by Entergy to close Vermont Yankee by the end of 2014, might want to bring an extra water bottle and slow down to a jog because the actual dismantling of the plant might be another 60 years, or more, away - because the fight between Entergy and the state of Vermont is not even close to over.

McQuiston: Localvolts

Jul 11, 2013

There’s a joke about how plug-in electric cars aren’t powered by electricity, they’re powered by coal. And in many parts of the country, that’s exactly true.

Visualize it: a coal powered car with thick smoke billowing out of a rusty chimney off the back. In some places you could call them “burning-used-tires” powered cars or even “nuclear powered cars.”

Of course, in some places they’re wind or solar or hydro powered cars. Because in most places, including here, there’s a mix of energy sources.

The annual “Rich States, Poor States” report is authored by Reagan-era, supply-side economist Dr Arthur Laffer.  Based on a state’s level of taxation, regulation and indebtedness, mostly, states are then ranked on which are best for business.