The Vermont Economy

VPR Steve Zind
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.

Nina Keck / VPR

Marble Valley Regional Transit, the nonprofit that provides public bus service to Rutland may have to make some painful cuts if local residents say no next Tuesday to a $46,000 funding request - the same amount the city narrowly voted down last year.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Gov. Peter Shumlin and legislative leaders say this is the year to take action to clean up Lake Champlain and other polluted waters. The sense of urgency was heightened last week when the legislature held an unusual joint assembly to hear dramatic testimony from business and environmental advocates about Lake Champlain in crisis.

Courtesy Derek Whitney

After four months on strike, some 1,700 union workers at FairPoint Communications will finally return to work on Wednesday. FairPoint workers ratified a new contract over the weekend after long negotiations and sniping between unions and the company.

Steve Zind / VPR

Most of FairPoint Communications' unionized workers return to their jobs today after a strike that lasted more than four months.

Last weekend, they ratified a new contract with the company, but unlike past negotiations with FairPoint and its predecessors, the new pact does not represent an improvement over the expired agreement.

Herb Swanson /

When the weather gets tough, the tough go swimming. Outdoors. In the winter. In bathing suits. And we’re not just talking about a quick penguin plunge. Hugging the shores of Lake Memphremagog, Newport has landed on the global map of places where swimmers race each other in pools carved out of frozen lakes.

Ice swimming has been popular for decades in Europe and Asia but it’s just catching on in America. And Phil White, a former attorney from Newport, wants to be first on the ice block.

The state is charging an exclusive private resort in southern Vermont with a series of permit violations.

The Vermont attorney general’s office says the resort, known as the Hermitage Inn and Club, failed to apply for Act 250 land use and water quality permits before starting construction projects.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

A group of agricultural entrepreneurs say they’ve found a product that could make their small farms profitable. But producers of raw milk say state regulations are hampering their ability to sell it.

Bob Kinzel / VPR

A bi-partisan coalition of House members is hoping to jumpstart the property tax debate at the Statehouse with a proposal that uses both a statewide property tax and a local income tax.

Backers of a new property tax plan that places a greater reliance on the income tax say their proposal creates a clear link between local spending levels and tax rates.

Audio from this story will be posted at approximately 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 23.

Kenn Sassorossi / Housing Vermont

An Upper Valley lawmaker is proposing a way to reduce costly delays in the permitting process for affordable housing.

Woodstock Rep. Alison Clarkson says almost half of all renter households in Vermont pay more than 30 percent of their monthly income for housing. The rental vacancy rate in the state is only about 1 percent. And a Department of Housing study shows that the state needs 29,000 apartments to meet the needs of renters on a tight budget. So Clarkson wants to put affordable housing on a faster track for permitting, under the Act 250 development review law.

Angela Evancie / VPR/File

VPR’s Statehouse Reporter Peter Hirschfeld joined Vermont Edition to talk about some of the ideas and proposals facing the Legislature to help close the $112 million budget gap.