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.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

A crowd of more than 30 people gathered at the town hall in Cabot this week to discuss the way Cabot Creamery gets rid of wastewater leftover from cleaning its plant. The cheese maker is asking the state to renew its permit to spray the liquid on land. The crowd was there for a hearing called by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources to take public comment on a draft permit issued in June.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Even as state and federal officials direct new money and staffing to water quality efforts across the state, the networks of pipes that bring water to and from Vermont homes and businesses are crumbling beneath their feet.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Hiring an employee is an expensive proposition. Workers' compensation, social security and other expenses can run thousands of dollars a year, so it's no surprise that companies often try to reduce expenses keeping workers off the payroll, calling them independent contractors instead.

But sometimes they do so in violation of state law. And in a new report, State Auditor Doug Hoffer says the state isn't doing enough to stop a practice known as "misclassification."

Ken Teegardin / SeniorLiving.com

How do you think Vermont's economy is doing?

Different economic indicators can tell different stories: from unemployment, to wages, to inequality, to the Main Street in your city or town. What are your the indicators you see that make a difference in your own economic life? What do you think of the state's economic outlook in the short and long terms?

Richard Drew / AP

In the past two days the stock market has rebounded from its dramatic decline earlier in the week, but the roller coaster ride may not be over.

The ups and downs have many people looking anxiously at their retirement accounts, and the state is also watching market’s machinations. Vermont has $3.9 billion invested in the pension funds for teachers, state workers and municipal employees.

iStock

The ink on this year’s state budget is barely dry. But the Shumlin administration is already putting together next year’s spending plan, and agency heads have been instructed to develop zero-growth budgets.

“Caution” and “restraint" are the two words Administration Secretary Justin Johnson is using to characterize the state’s approach to building next year’s budget. And caution and restraint, at this point at least, mean a level-funded spending plan for next year.

“People wouldn’t be in such a hurry to get off the grid,” observed my elderly neighbor, “if they knew how long it took to get on it.”

A statewide series of meetings that began this week is designed to rally members of the faith community to the cause of economic equality.

Vermont Council on Rural Development

The public is invited to a panel discussion on Wednesday evening at Rutland’s Paramount Theatre to brainstorm ways to turn the challenges of climate change into economic opportunities.

JJRD / iStock.com

A group of Vermont business leaders called the Vermont Cannabis Collaborative has been inviting public comment on the best way to create a safe, sustainable marijuana industry. Medical marijuana is already being legally distributed, but using it recreationally is still against state law.

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