Economy

Tom Kavet, an economist working for the Vermont Legislature, says there are challenges to forecasting the economic effects of a $15 minimum wage.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR File Photo

As the Vermont Legislature prepares for a debate next year over raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, lawmakers are trying to figure out how the proposal would affect the Vermont economy.

A Hardwick log yard in 2004.
AP Photo/Toby Talbot

We hear a lot about Vermont's agricultural economy, but what about our working forests? Trees  cover more than 75 percent of Vermont. In past years the state's forest products industry has supported loggers, truckers and mills but its in decline and jobs and markets have been disappearing.

A few years ago I sat in the Federal Court House in Burlington and watched the full might of the US Auto Industry on display. Vermont had joined a number of other northeast states and California in requiring higher gas mileage in cars. Auto companies had then chosen to sue three states; California, New York and Vermont. The discovery requests alone had kept several staff in the state’s environmental agency busy for months.

Annie Russell / VPR

A bill likely to become law would allow additional TIF districts in the state of Vermont. TIF stands for "tax increment financing" and proponents point to the districts as a way to revitalize downtowns around the state. Critics say they divert money that would otherwise go to the Education Fund.

Walter Scheidel, a Stanford humanities professor, builds on Joseph Stiglitz's and Thomas Piketty's work on economic inequality with his own book, The Great Leveler, Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-first Century.

Diego Cervo / iStock

In the midst of a national discussion about whether the tech industry is welcoming to women, we're plugging into the local community and asking what's top of mind for women in tech.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

About 800 people braved frigid temperatures Saturday for a chance to walk across the nearly completed I-91 bridge in Brattleboro.

Sam Gale Rosen / VPR

The rise of Airbnb has led to debates over how rented rooms should be taxed and regulated, and raised concerns about maintaining a level playing-field for traditional inns and bed-and-breakfasts. We're talking about the sharing economy's impact on Vermont tourism, and whether it's helping or hurting the hospitality industry as a whole. 

During the first three days of the Korean War, Seoul, South Korea was overrun and devastated. Today it’s a beautiful, thriving city with modern office towers, a world class subway system and a twenty-first century airport. But, just like the United States, South Korea is experiencing the loss of manufacturing jobs – a problem that South Koreans blame on technology and cheap labor from Indonesia.

Susan Chiang / iStock.com

Finding affordable, high quality child care in Vermont is a big challenge – and it can leave Vermont parents feeling like they're out of options. Now, a commission formed to tackle the problem is out with new recommendations.

Baona / iStock

There's a new push to get more Vermonters better educated. The goal is 70 percent of the population with a college or other post-secondary degree by 2025. 

Toby Talbot / AP

The prices that dairy farmers get for milk are down this summer. Economists will tell you it's supply and demand, and there's a lot of milk being produced in the U.S. and around the world. But the picture is complicated for Vermont farms that are trying to respond to the market.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is buying 11 million pounds of surplus cheese in an effort to feed the hungry and bolster milk prices paid to farmers.

Mount Snow

The owner of Mount Snow says its EB-5 foreign investor funded project has been approved. 

The Puerto Rican government recently defaulted on a 400 dollar million debt payment. Another 2 billion dollars default is expected on July 1st if Congress does not take action. In all, Puerto Rico owes its lenders more than 70 billion dollars that it cannot pay.

I wonder why we don’t treat housing vouchers like food stamps. Families who fall on hard times can get food stamps right away. But it can take years and even decades to get a housing voucher.

Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and other famous American women will soon grace our paper currency. And it’s about time!

At a time when we’re increasingly concerned with economic inequality, Vermonters might want to consider the difficulties faced by 51% of our state’s population – women and girls. 

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Plans have recently been presented for large-scale redevelopment of two big malls in Burlington and South Burlington. At the same time, in malls across Vermont, stores are struggling and closing, leaving the malls as shells of their former selves. We're checking in on the retail landscape in the state - both indoor malls and other kinds of shopping centers - what's changing and where it's headed.

One recent, cold winter morning, I was gingerly maneuvering the car out of the driveway when – wham - I backed into and knocked over the too-full recycling container, which I had placed there myself, sending the second half of Christmas all over the street.

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