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.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

As the Senate Finance committee considers a proposal to include professional services under the sales tax, Gov. Peter Shumlin says he'll strongly oppose the effort.

The lawmakers' plan would also reduce the sales tax rate.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Two Vermont senators are trying to resurrect a plan to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for health care providers. And they’d use tax increases on cigarettes and health insurance claims, as well as heightened penalties on employers that don’t provide health benefits, to pay for the plan.

FairPoint Communications is disputing claims that it may owe thousands of customers credit for repair delays last year because it potentially violated a Public Service Board rule.

The issue of the company’s credit policy came up during the Public Service Board’s investigation into the high number of repair delays experienced by FairPoint customers last year.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Five of New England's governors met in Connecticut on Thursday to talk about energy issues facing the region. At the top of the agenda was the high price of electricity.

NG Advantage / Courtesy Photo

Vermont Gas Systems canceled plans in February to run a pipeline under Lake Champlain to an International Paper mill in Ticonderoga, N.Y., but the company’s product is still going to power the plant when it switches to natural gas next month.

Governor Shumlin recently announced a new plan to end homelessness by 2020. Unfortunately, the plan seems to be getting little traction, perhaps because he introduced a similar, five year plan in 2013, and since then homelessness in Vermont has actually gone up.

Vermont’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell 0.1 percent in March, to 3.8 percent.

Nationally, the March unemployment rate stood at 5.5 percent.

While the number of employed Vermonters increased by 250 from February to March, the state’s civilian labor force declined by 250 during that period - and fell by 700 from March 2014 to March 2015.

According to the Vermont Department of Labor, the jobless rates for the state’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 2.9 in the Burlington area to 7.6 in Derby. The market area rates are not seasonally adjusted.  

Nina Keck / VPR

Phoenix Books will open a 2,400-square-foot store in downtown Rutland by September. City officials say it's the latest step in collaborative efforts to revitalize the city.

Steve Zind / VPR

From a pound of tomatoes to a tank of fuel oil, it’s the job of the Agency of Agriculture’s Weights and Measures Program to assure Vermonters get what they pay for. 

That requires keeping tabs on the thousands of scales, meters and pumps and even the occasional glass of beer.

Cat_Chat / iStock

Although nights may not be as bitter cold, new challenges face Vermont’s homeless population now that spring has sprung.

Elizabeth Ready, director of the John Graham Shelter in Vergennes, sees those challenges every day and is working to help find a safe, permanent home for Vermont’s homeless population.

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