The Vermont Economy

The home for VPR's coverage of economic issues affecting the state of Vermont as well as business and industry developments across the region.

VPR reporter Bob Kinzel covers economic issues from the Statehouse Bureau in Montpelier. In addition, All Things Considered Host/Reporter Henry Epp covers business from Colchester.

Follow Bob Kinzel and Henry Epp on Twitter for the latest Vermont Economy news. 

Explore our coverage by topic or chronologically by scrolling through the list below

Aging Well | Homelessness & Housing | Dairy Industry | EB-5

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Have an economy-related news tip that requires investigation?

Reach out to VPR's Investigations Desk.

A chalet in Stowe Vermont in a snowy scene that is an Airbnb property.
Airbnb

The Scott administration wants to do a study of the state’s short-term rental properties to see if changes need to be made in how companies like Airbnb operate in Vermont.

Stafford: Time To Tap

Feb 11, 2019
Luke Q. Stafford

Supporting your local economy; it’s a virtue many Vermonters seem to hold dear. So here’s a seasonally-appropriate tip for improving an economy so local, it’s literally in many backyards. 

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Vermont’s clean water infrastructure. The state has a lot of old pipes buried under the ground, and experts say that without a massive investment we’re bound to see more property loss and flooding.

The site of the Burlington mall in Nov. 2018. Brookfield Asset Management, a partner in the project, is taking over daily operations.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

Burlington’s downtown mall redevelopment is months behind schedule and city officials’ patience is running thin. Recently, Brookfield Asset Management — a previously silent partner in the project — took control, a move that has left officials optimistic the project could get on track.

Timothy McQuiston

The first place my wife and I had was a great apartment with an eat-in kitchen, two full baths, washer-dryer, porches, wood stove and even a jetted tub. We were lucky to get it. The place was just sitting empty and no one knew it, including the landlord.

Ethan Foleu, president of the UVM Student Government Association.
Ethan Foley, Courtesy

Students at the University of Vermont want to create an on-campus food pantry. The request follows a recent UVM survey showing that one in five undergraduate students at the university are not getting an adequate level of nutrition.

A piggy bank straddling the line of two different color backgrounds.
HighLaZ / iStock

Key lawmakers are questioning Gov. Phil Scott's plan to finance a $7-million increase in child care funds, saying the proposal is akin to "raiding" the state's education fund.

Riad Hamade (left) and Alwayne Lawrence (right) ride a crowded Stowe Mountain Road Shuttle. Hamade is in town for a ski vacation and Lawrence works at the resort.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Green Mountain Transit recently said it may cut routes and raise fares to stay afloat. The announcement surprised both riders and representatives from the state and towns that subsidize the bus service.

Keck

Rumors had been flying for months, but now it’s official. Green Mountain College is closing its doors at the end of this semester.

Volunteers help block, split and stack firewood as part of the wood bank firewood program at the United Way of Lamoille County.
United Way of Lamoille County, courtesy

January's Brave Little State looks at the pros and cons of heating with wood. About 38 percent of Vermont homes burn wood for some kind of heat. Almost a fifth of all households rely on wood as their primary way of staying warm.

But when Vermonters who heat with wood face the choice of heating their home or putting food on the table, it often falls to donation-based and volunteer-staffed wood banks to offer enough wood to help out.

A building on the Green Mountain College campus
Nina Keck / VPR

Green Mountain College is closing at the end of the spring semester. 

The Poultney school, which has struggled with declining enrollment and higher costs for years, informed students of the decision Wednesday.

Two people on mountain bikes riding on a path in a grassy field. There are mountains in the background.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR FILE

The state wants to grow Vermont’s outdoor recreation economy, and if the recent interest in a new grant program is any indication, municipalities across Vermont are ready to get on board.

Much has been written about what Vermont’s small rural towns need if they hope to survive.

Officials talk about bringing in broadband internet and encouraging young families to move in.

But as they try to avoid population decline and other problems, some towns have decided to invest in what they already have.

Across Vermont, communities have recently invested in historic, centrally located buildings that would otherwise sit vacant. The restored buildings, supporters say, can become places where people come together and maintain a sense of community.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

What makes a community sustainable? High school students in Morrisville are trying to answer that question, through interviews and art that explore the stories of local residents.

courtesy of Stowe Farmers Market

A few years ago the book: Hardwick the Town Food Saved brought national attention to the small Northeast Kingdom Vermont town. The book profiled four entrepreneurs with a shared vision and a commitment to a locally focused ag and food economy.

Vogel: Commuter Rail

Jan 15, 2019
AllEarth Renewables

Amazon didn’t choose the cities that offered the biggest economic incentives for its much anticipated second headquarters. It chose places that it hopes will help it attract and retain highly skilled workers.

The partial federal government shutdown is slowing business projects in Vermont.

Your car's "check engine" light can mean anything from mechanical issues to emissions concerns. We're looking at the end of the state's "conditional pass" and what it means for car inspections going forward.
baloon111 / iStock

This month the Vermont DMV sent out a postcard alerting motorists to the end of "conditional passes" for cars failing emissions tests during inspection, along with a list of ways to get a vehicle "ready" for inspection.

For many, the postcard led to confusion rather than clarity. We're looking at what's changed for Vermont's vehicle inspections and what you need to know about getting your car ready for inspection.

Good News Garage reports that vehicle donations are down markedly from the previous year.
Artem Marchenko / Flickr

Without a statewide mass transit system, the need for an automobile is more acute in Vermont than in many other areas of the country. Especially in our most rural towns. And for many people, affording a reliable vehicle can be out of reach. Good News Garage, a nonprofit that refurbishes donated vehicles and gives them to Vermonters in need, is reporting lower vehicle donations this winter. But not a lower need for cars.

Author and cheesemaker David Asher teaches a continuing education course on natural cheesemaking at Sterling College.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Small colleges in Vermont and around the country are struggling to fill classrooms and remain viable. Meanwhile, Sterling College is attracting students from across the country and around the globe to its Northeast Kingdom campus to take classes offered by its School of the New American Farmstead.

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