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.

The interior of the VPR talk studio with a microphone, chair and VPR logo on the wall.
Meg Malone / VPR

Republican Gov. Phil Scott and lawmakers in the Vermont House want to pour more than $10 million into Vermont's childcare system, to address issues of affordability and availability. However, leaders in the Senate say they aren’t ready to commit to the funding plan.

An affiliate reinsurance company, or ARC, is an insurance product the Dept. of Financial Regulation thinks could bring new business to Vermont, similar to captive insurance.
erhui1979 / istock

Vermont's Department of Financial Regulation is home to a captive insurance division that stealthily regulates over 600 companies registered in the state and brings in around $25 million a year. Now the division is offering another insurance product it hopes could bring additional business to the state: it's called ARC, short for an affiliate reinsurance company.

An increasing amount of the state's revenue - now roughly 40 percent - goes toward pension obligations. We're talking about Vermont's retirement liabilities and how they affect state spending on other projects.
sorbetto / iStock

Vermont owes $1.5 billion in unfunded teacher pensions. After years of underfunding and low returns, paying for these pensions and other retirement obligations takes up a growing portion of the state budget. We're talking about ways Vermont is addressing these retirement liabilities and how it all affects the state's ability to pay for new projects.

The exterior of the current Albany General Store with a snowpile in front.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The general store is the heart of many small Vermont towns, but the rise of online shopping and big box stores has made it hard for some more traditional stores to stay open.

Some Vermont towns are turning to public-private partnerships to keep their general stores viable. In one Northeast Kingdom town they’re counting on that model to get their store back.

Dr. Bryan Smith, standing, talks with a nurse at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

A recent report found that eight the state's 14 hospitals fell short of revenue forecasts in 2018. Gifford Medical Center officials say a workforce shortage is one of the biggest challenges, and it’s having a serious effect on the bottom line.

A prototype of the SheFly hiking pants shows the zipper that extends nearly to the back of the pants.
SheFly, courtesy

You’re out in the country when nature calls. For some people, dealing with that bodily function can be as simple as unzipping a fly. But for others, it’s a lot more complicated. Enter SheFly Apparel — a new company started by a trio of Middlebury College students that is bringing some much-needed enhancements to women’s hiking attire. 

Jeb Wallace-Brodeur

Dominating the Vermont headlines recently has been our state’s workforce shortage. For the economy to thrive, we need more people, plain and simple. One solution crosses the border into our state 13,000,000 times per year: tourists. If we could convert just one-tenth of one percent of those visitors into residents, we’d have an adequate pool of workers to support healthy, growing businesses.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

A group around the Windham County town of Londonderry is challenging the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation's plans to increase infrastructure at Lowell Lake State Park.

I asked a group of graduating college students their plans recently.

Poulrney Residents stand before large sheets of paper taped to a wall with ideas for repurposing the Green Mountain College campus.
Nina Keck / VPR

There's still no decision on what will happen to the campus of Green Mountain College when it shuts down this summer. On Thursday, 300 people from in and around Poultney met at the high school to talk about what they'd like to see happen next in town — the latest in a series of community meetings with state, college and local officials. 

Troy and Jon Osborne stand before their sugarhouse in Ferdinand. Troy is holding Jon's dog, Bodie.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Some maple sugarmakers say sap runs through their veins. It may be just an expression, but sugaring does seem to be in the blood of the Osborne brothers. They're still working the family's Ferdinand woods that took the lives of two Osborne patriarchs.

Stoner: DIY Fiber

Apr 3, 2019
kynny / iStock

For many years, I’ve been part of a small group of Craftsbury residents that’s been working to build community support for bringing high-speed internet service to our town.

olm26250 / iStock

Without a doubt, times have changed. Time was when access to the internet was considered a luxury - even a novelty – but those days are long gone. Today, fast, reliable and affordable access to the internet is as much a necessity as electricity. And the digital revolution touches all aspects of our lives – from our children needing access to do their homework, to businesses requiring a connection to serve their customers and everybody’s need to stay connected with friends and family.

April 15, tax day in the U.S., is fast approaching. We're talking about what's changed at the federal and state level that will impact how you file.
BackyardProduction / istock

Tax day — Monday, April 15 — is approaching fast. And this year, many people's returns may look significantly different than in years past, due to the law that overhauled the country's tax code starting in 2018. We're taking your questions and talking about what you need to know, including new tax rates and some big changes in standard and itemized deductions.

Vermont Business Magazine

Just last week I was standing in a meeting room at a prominent Burlington-area hotel and I could not get onto the Internet. I went over to a window. Still nothing. I finally had to track down a password to access their WiFi.

As representatives of the region's dairy industry get ready to meet at a summit, "Vermont Edition" assembles a roundtable of dairy farmers to discuss the state of the business.
Ric Cengeri / VPR FILE

There's a lot of talk about the struggles dairy farmers are facing, the continuing loss of Vermont farms and ways to improve or restructure the dairy industry. We're hearing from dairy farmers themselves about the challenges, the future and the changes they'd make to the system. And why they continue to do this difficult work.

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

The town of Springfield has struggled with declining jobs and population loss since long before news broke that one of its largest employers, the local hospital, is losing money. If Springfield Hospital closes, it would be a blow to a community that’s been trying to reinvent itself.

The Beta Technologies prototype Ava XC lands during a test flight at the Plattsburgh International Airport.
Eric Adams / Courtesy Beta Technologies

This special Vermont Edition collects recent interviews that highlight technological innovations being developed in our area. We'll hear about cutting-edge cartography, a tactile sketchpad that helps blind students in subjects that require graphing and an electric air taxi.

A stethoscope on a table with paperwork in the background.
SteveColeImages / iStock

A new report from the Office of Professional Regulation says that Vermont would benefit in a number of ways from joining a multi-state nursing compact, but acknowledges such a change would also have financial impact.

VTel CEO Michel Guite
Steve Zind / VPR File

Tens of millions of taxpayer dollars have gone toward bringing high-speed internet to the small towns and backroads of Vermont. But one project, a wireless system built by Springfield-based Vermont Telephone Company, has not yet delivered what was promised.

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