The Vermont Economy

VPR's Steve Zind

VPR senior reporter Steve Zind focuses on the Vermont economy and its impact on our lives. Follow Steve Zind on Twitter, post comments on the stories, and let Steve know what local economy stories you think VPR should cover.

Angela Evancie / VPR file

The Senate on Wednesday is scheduled to take final action on the paid sick leave bill. And, there's a lot of political intrigue surrounding this vote.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

In recent years, Vermont has dramatically increased the number of people receiving Medicaid benefits, and it’s resulted in this state having one of the lowest rates of uninsured residents in the nation. The problem is that it’s costing a lot more than elected officials previously estimated, and the governor’s new plan to cover the deficit isn’t sitting well with independent physicians.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / vpr

A Vernon organic dairy farmer says he's been approached by developers who want to build a natural gas power plant outside the shuttered Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Two political allies are squaring off in a high-profile battle of words over the question of fossil-fuel divestment. And as State Treasurer Beth Pearce stands firm in her opposition to a bill that would scrub the state’s pension fund of coal stocks, Gov. Peter Shumlin is ramping up public criticism of her stance.

Angela Evancie / VPR

A key vote in the Senate Tuesday has Vermont poised to become the fifth state in the country to require employers to provide paid sick leave. The compromise package is the result of years of advocacy by proponents of the measure. But some business groups are still wary of the plan.

Vermont’s economy has always been influenced by larger forces, whether global recession or changes in the nation’s trade policies. But the economic impact of climate change is a newer force.

darrya /

When the Internet-based car service Uber began operating in Burlington in 2014, officials said it had violated the city's vehicle-for-hire ordinance. The service continued to operate under an interim agreement while the City Council promised to revise the ordinance by November of that year.

It's taken a bit longer than planned, but a new ordinance might be headed to the Burlington City Council very soon.

Carrie Healy / NEPR

The global trade of secondhand clothing is valued in the billions. Locally, clothes that don’t sell in thrift shops are often gathered up and offered for sale to consumers around the world. But as that market falls apart, secondhand shops are taking an unexpected financial hit.

The District 3 Environmental Commission says it cannot approve a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between parties involved in a review of a proposed development at the Randolph exit off I-89.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

There are vacant factories and run down houses all over Springfield, and the selectboard has been trying to work with landlords who own the most derelict properties.

Now the town wants to ramp up its response to clean up the dilapidated buildings.

Vermont’s statewide unemployment rate dropped .1 percent from November to December. It now stands at 3.6 percent compared to a national average of 5.0 percent.

Overall, natural gas is by far the most popular source of home heating in the U.S. But in the Northeast, homeowners are much more likely than in other regions to use heating oil.

Many homeowners are smiling this winter, because fuel prices are down 50 percent from two years ago.

But not everyone is happy. Buying heating oil is a little like playing poker: Bet on the wrong price and it'll cost you.

The Vermont Housing Finance Agency says a down-payment assistance program is meeting its goal of helping first-time homebuyers purchase houses, and they’d like the program extended.

Steve Zind

Billions of little plastic K-Cup packs have been produced since Waterbury-based Keurig Green Mountain began producing single serve hot beverage machines.

Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Times Argus

Gov. Peter Shumlin delivered his sixth and final budget proposal to the Legislature Thursday afternoon. The plan calls for a 3 percent increase in spending and raises roughly $30 million in new taxes.

Environmental groups and developer Jesse Sammis have told the District 3 Environmental Commission they intend to use mediation to try to resolve their differences over a large multi-use project proposed for 172 acres at the Randolph exit on I-89.

In November, after several sessions during which the commission heard sometimes contentious testimony, parties asked for time to try negotiate an agreement.

Nina Keck / VPR

Castleton University’s footprint in Rutland has been growing in recent years, with multiple art galleries and a downtown Rutland campus that houses entrepreneurial programs and a polling center.

Steve Zind / VPR

A fund created nearly two years ago amid fears the IBM plant in Essex Junction would be closed or sold has been generating a lot of debate this week.

Nina Keck / VPR

Walmart announced today it will close 269 of its stores, but the company’s Vermont locations in Rutland, Williston, St. Albans, Bennington and Berlin and the 938 employees who work in those stores will not be affected.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Rockingham voters will be able to weigh in on a controversial criminal justice center that Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark wants to build in Bellows Falls.