What do chiropractors, bankers, doctors, and entrepreneurs all have in common? They come from diverse professions and educational backgrounds, but on the evening of June 13, they all gathered at UVM’s Waterman Hall to celebrate a common milestone. For the second year since its inception, graduates of UVM’s Vermont Business Center Leadership and Management Professional Certificate Program celebrated completion of the yearlong program.Program director Daniel Van Der Vliet launched the program in 2004 and 9 students completed it this year. Designed to provide an MBA “toolkit”, the program provides topical highlights from the University of Vermont’s MBA curriculum. Students choose seminars from 4 core areas: leadership, strategy implementation, sales and marketing, and finance.Bryan Mailman of New Breed Marketing is a member of the 2007 graduating class. Says Mailman, “Bringing a group of professionals together, and stripping all the titles and previous education away, so that everyone in the group is learning at the same level is very powerful. Not only did we all get to share the common threads of our business experiences, but the program also expanded our networking circles. For me, this program was energizing and got me thinking about taking my business education a little further.”This year’s graduates are:* Jonathan Billings, Northwestern Medical Center, St. Albans* Christopher Byrne, The Tuckerman Group, Chelsea* Dan Eastman, Wildlife Habitat Consultants, East Hardwick* Jill Larson, Discover Wellness and Chiropractic Center, Burlington* Bryan Mailman, New Breed Marketing, Winooksi* Laurence McCahill, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington* Catherine Krupp, University of Vermont Continuing Education Department, Burlington* Penny Peachey-Kountz, IBM, Essex Junction* Stephen Page, Northfield Savings Bank, NorthfieldAbout the Leadership and Management Professional Certificate Program:A joint venture between the University of Vermont School of Business Administration and Department of Continuing Education, The Leadership and Management Professional Certificate provides students with business management tools including the key concepts, vocabulary and analytical tools essential for effective management and strategic decision making. The certificate consists of a total of 67.5 hours of course work. Most students complete the 8 workshops required for graduation in a year. For more information, visit the Vermont Business Center’s web site at www.uvm.edu/vbc(link is external) or call Sharon Radtke, Administrative Coordinator, at (802) 656-4681.
Governor Douglas to announce $1.6 million in Grant AwardsFive Communities to Receive Funds for Housing, Economic Development ProjectsWHO: Governor Jim DouglasWHAT: Press ConferenceWHY: To announce $1.6 million in community development grants to 5 municipalitiesWHERE: 85 Kate Street, off Lily Pond Road within Maple Ridge Mobile Home Park, LyndonvilleWHEN: Tuesday, December 16th 12:30 p.m.LYNDONVILLE, Vt. – Helping Vermonters in affordable housing in Vermont stay in their homes and make them more energy efficient will be the goal as Governor Jim Douglas on Tuesday will announce the award of $1.6 million in community development grants to five communities.The following communities will be receiving grants:Town of LyndonTown of West RutlandCity of RutlandTown of KillingtonTown of BenningtonA brief reception with light refreshments will follow at Gilman Housing Trust offices at 48 Elm Street in Lyndonville.NOTE: If weather is considerably inclement a decision will be made before 8:30 a.m. to relocate the full ceremony to Gilman Housing Trust offices.For further information on the event please contact Josh Hanford, VCDP Director at (802) 828-5201.Directions:Ceremony Location – Customer site – 85 Kate Street – Lyndonville· Exit 23 off of I-91; Follow Route 5 into downtown Lyndonville (approximately 1.3 miles);· At the intersection of Route 5/Broad Street ( just past the Depot Coffee Shop) turn right onto Depot Street;· Shortly after, turn left onto High Street; and follow High Street staying to the right (approximately half a mile)· High Street merges onto Hill Street, follow Hill Street until the intersection of Lily Pond Road (approximately 1 mile);· Turn right onto Lily Pond Road and follow for approximately 9/10th a mile;· Turn left onto Kate Street, #85 will be on the left.Reception/ Inclement Location – Gilman Housing Trust, 48 Elm Street, Lyndonville· Follow directions backwards towards the town of Lyndonville· Follow Hill Street directly down to Route 5/Broad Street (approximately 1 mile);· Turn right onto Route 5/Broad Street;· Turn left onto Central Street;· Turn right onto Elm Street;· Parking will be on the street.
by Anne Galloway www.vtdigger.org(link is external)What does $190 million in tax breaks for Vermont’s wealthiest residents have to do with the state’s yawning budget deficit of $176 million? Not much at the moment, but if two Progressives in the Legislature have their way, income-earners who are in the top tax brackets will have an opportunity make a personal contribution to the budget-gap reduction effort.CORRECTION: The top income-earners in Vermont will save $190 million in 2011 alone, not over a two-year period as previously reported.In January, the Public Assets Institute issued a report showing that 5 percent of Vermonters ‘ those who earn more than $200,000 a year ‘ stand to save $190 million under the extension of President George W. Bush’s tax cuts. The top 1 percent of Vermont income-earners will see a $100 million reduction in their taxes in 2011, according to the Montpelier-based Institute.The giveaway to the nation’s wealthiest residents was slated to sunset last year. President Barack Obama and the Congress carried forward the tax breaks through 2013.Rep. Chris Pearson, P-Burlington, and Sen. Anthony Pollina, D/P-Washington, plan to introduce a bill at a press conference (Thursday) (1:30 p.m. in the Cedar Creek Room) that would raise about $17 million through a small tax increase on the wealthiest 5 percent of Vermonters.The money, Pollina said, could go toward programs for elderly, disabled and mentally ill Vermonters that are currently under Gov. Peter Shumlin’s budget knife.By day’s end on Wednesday, 10 House members had signed onto Pearson’s bill. ‘There is an understanding that most Vermonters don’t support the Bush tax cuts, and we’re in tough budget times,’ Pearson said.The average personal income of those in the top 1 percent tax bracket is about $940,000, according to PAI. Vermonters in the top 5 percent group will see a reduction in federal taxes over the in 2011 of $150,000 on average as matters stand now.Under the Pearson-Pollina plan, however, wealthy taxpayers would contribute an additional $10,000 a year on average for income of more than $373,650 a year and an additional $500 a year for Vermonters who earn between $171,850 and $373,650, according to Pollina. The effective rate, Pollina said, would increase 0.8 percent for Vermonters in the highest bracket, and 0.2 percent for those who fall in the 0.2 percent tier.‘People have received significant tax cuts on the federal level,’ Pollina said. ‘We’re not increasing taxes. We’re asking the wealthy to take slightly less of the Bush tax cuts.’The bill will be introduced just one day before the final cutoff for new legislation.Pollina described the increase as ‘slight.’ Wealthy Vermonters will still be able to buy yachts, he said. ‘It’s not a broad-based tax,’ Pollina said.Whether the bill will be politically viable is an open question. At a Senate caucus on Tuesday night, Pollina said ‘the majority of Democrats supported it in their hearts.’Pollina said the majority of Democrats backed the congressional delegation’s opposition to the Bush tax cut extension when it was first debated. ‘Anyone who supported Leahy, Sanders and Welch should support this,’ the newly elected senator said.Don’t count on the Democratic leadership, however, to be among them ‘ at least for the time being. Gov. Peter Shumlin, House Speaker Shap Smith and Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell continue to beat the budget-cut drum and oppose broad-based tax increases ‘ despite the ‘rumblings’ in the Legislature about new tax revenues, as Shumlin put it. This rank-and-file discomfort with the budget was to be expected, according to the governor and the legislative leaders. The governor then went on to defend his own cuts to programs and reiterated that he would not raise taxes to pay for services for the elderly, the disabled and mentally ill.In his weekly press conference, the governor chastised Congress for cuts to funding for the low-income heating assistance program, Head Start, community action councils and Planned Parenthood. ‘We spend more on bombs than we do on hungry children,’ Shumlin said.Shumlin said the federal government can raise income taxes on the wealthy without fear that they’ll leave the country. On the other hand, he said, states like Vermont are vulnerable to out-migration. (The Vermont Blue Ribbon Tax Structure Commission recently debunked the anecdotal stories about the out-migration notion as ‘myth’ in its January report.)‘We all know Vermont is not an island,’ Shumlin said. ‘We all know people will pay a certain amount of tax on the state level, and when those taxes are disproportionate to those in neighboring states, they migrate.’Shumlin said wealthy Vermonters already pay higher marginal tax rates (8.95 percent) than their neighbors in other New England states. The federal government should be raising taxes, he said, on the wealthiest Americans ‘who are paying the lowest taxes in anytime in American history.’ The state, however, ‘doesn’t have the flexibility to do that,’ he said, ‘because we all know New Hampshire is to our East and Florida isn’t far away.‘We all know we have a very progressive income tax in Vermont, and I’m proud of that,’ Shumlin said. ‘I helped write the tax code that keeps it progressive. The wealthiest should pay the most. But when you get up around 9 percent, frankly you start to lose more than you’re making.’Vermont’s tax rates are tiered. The 8.95 percent rate is applied only to income above $373,500 ‘ taxpayers pay much lower rates on income below that level. The top marginal rate does not include itemized deductions. The average effective rate, or the amount actually paid by Vermonters after deductions, is about 3 percent.When it was pointed out that the effective income tax rate for wealthy Vermonters is 5.8 percent on average ‘ once deductions such as second homes have been included in the equation ‘ Shumlin asked where the reporter got her numbers and remarked that they couldn’t be right. (The information came from the Tax Department and was promulgated in the Vermont Blue Ribbon Tax Structure report.)‘I don’t buy the argument that they’re paying 5 percent,’ Shumlin said. ‘I happen to have been one of those taxpayers, and I can tell you I don’t know how they pay 5 percent.‘All I can tell you is, New Hampshire has a rate of zero, Florida has a rate of zero; that’s who we compete with,’ Shumlin said. ‘I can take you to any county in Vermont and introduce you to Vermonters who are no longer Vermonters, and we need to find the balance between how we can keep them here and pay our bills. Anyone who tells me we are not close to the precipice in terms of what we can ask Vermonters to pay in income taxes I just think isn’t really looking at the facts.’Republican Gov. James Douglas made similar arguments over the course of his eight-year tenure in office.‘My predecessor was right about some things,’ Shumlin said.‘We’re in a situation where we have the federal government abandoning the state when it comes to social services,’ Campbell said. ‘Are we going to let people freeze in the winter and take away care for women?’Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell said the Legislature doesn’t have enough information to determine whether it should raise taxes or not. The recently announced federal budget cuts, which, if passed, could go into effect in the last quarter of this fiscal year, would have an impact on how the state moves forward with its own budget. In the context of those reductions in state spending, the senator said, he would consider a tax increase on the wealthy.As far as the governor’s budget is concerned, Campbell remains committed to putting ‘everything on the chopping block.’House Speaker Shap Smith said he isn’t surprised that Pearson has proposed a bill to increase income taxes for wealthy Vermonters. Smith said he isn’t unwilling to consider a tax increase (he supported estate and capital gains tax increases in 2009) but at this point, lawmakers need more time to determine whether that’s necessary this session. ‘We have been working hard to scrub the budget and find out where the holes are,’ Smith said. www.vtdigger.com(link is external) February 24, 2011
The e-Vermont Community Broadband Project, led by VCRD, is now active in 24 Vermont rural communities. The towns are tapping into the expertise and resources of e-Vermont’s statewide partners as the local groups develop ways to take full advantage of the Internet for creating jobs and innovative schools, providing social services, and increasing community connection. These towns, selected from a larger pool of applicants, are among the first to explore how the Internet can be harnessed as a tool for addressing local challenges. ‘We’re working with rural communities to support the best use of high speed Internet tools in business, government, and education, and help eliminate the digital divide,’ says Project Director Helen Labun Jordan, ‘Rural regions can’t be left behind in digital skills. We may be receiving high speed Internet later than more urban areas, but e-Vermont is helping our towns make up for lost time.’e-Vermont is one of only twelve projects nationwide to have received first round funding from the federal Sustainable Broadband Adoption grants program and one of only two that takes a community-based approach. This program focuses on use of broadband after infrastructure has been developed, as both a complement to infrastructure funding and a way to build a better business case for broadband in previously underserved areas.The 2010 towns (see map) are already seeing great benefits, including:Sunderland – Arlington – Sandgate are adding technology to the celebration of their 250th Town Charter Anniversaries in 2011. High school community service students will create a website based on the historical holdings of Martha Canfield Library’s Russell Vermontiana Collection. Learn more.Gallup Brook Fencing, a small business in Cambridge, has the honor of being the first of many web sites to come that were launched with the help of e-Vermont and its partner the Vermont Small Business Development Corporation. Owners Troy and Jessica Steel worked with SBDC coordinator Pat Ripley on the design and content. To see the result, click here or read an online interview with the Troys.Five towns (Bristol, Ludlow, Poultney, Newport and West Rutland) are exploring the feasibility of creating public access Wi-Fi zones in their town centers in order to promote their communities and provide visitors with information about local events, services, entertainment and hospitality. These towns were originally inspired by Wireless Woodstock, a community-managed Wi-Fi zone that went live over the summer.