A Letter to Vermonters in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak [3.23.20]

Dear Vermonters,

As members of the Vermont Business Roundtable, we recognize the opportunity and obligation we have, to do our share to alleviate the severity of disruption to our economic and social fabric.

 We believe that limiting the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis is the most important step we should take at this time. Continue reading “A Letter to Vermonters in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak [3.23.20]”

David Coates Op-Ed: State Retirement Plans Need a Robust Stress Test……Now! [3.10.20]

by David Coates, Managing Parter, KPMG (Retired)

Vermont’s $4.6 billion liability for the state workers and teachers pensions and retiree health care benefits (OPEB) increased by $171 million for this past year ended June 30, 2019, and over 110 percent since 2008. This increase was despite continued assurances by policymakers that they had a plan to pay off these obligations over the next 20 years.

Certainly, there is no evidence to date to corroborate the state’s claim, without some combination of increasing taxes, reducing benefits or cutting existing programs, which the state has been reluctant to do. At this point in time, policymakers need an independent analysis of these benefit plans. Continue reading “David Coates Op-Ed: State Retirement Plans Need a Robust Stress Test……Now! [3.10.20]”

Mark Crow Op-Ed: A Major Issue is Lurking

By Mark Crow, President at Tenth Crow Creative and

Chair, Pension and Health Benefits Reform Task Force, Vermont Business Roundtable

 

While Town Meeting Day has evolved over time, its purpose of giving community members a chance to be heard about the issues affecting their lives has not changed. Of course, in order for community members to express their views, they must be aware of the issues impacting them. Unfortunately, there is a major issue lurking that impacts all Vermonters, yet is not well known or understood, not only by Vermont taxpayers, but also by some of our legislative representatives.

I’m referring to the continually increasing taxpayer liability for the State workers’ and teachers’ pension and retiree healthcare plans. This Town Meeting Day, I urge you to ask your state legislators what they are doing to address Vermont’s third largest debt (only behind Medicare and non-Medicare social services), and if they know that: Continue reading “Mark Crow Op-Ed: A Major Issue is Lurking”

New Leadership Elected for 2020 [1.17.20]

At its 33rd Annual Membership Meeting held January 9th at Delta Hotels Marriott, the Vermont Business Roundtable elected new directors to their first three-year term: Renee Bourget Place, KPMG; Jay Fayette, PC Construction; Scott Fewell, Liquid Measurement Systems; and, Tom McHenry, Vermont Law School. Elected to his second three-year term was Tom Dunn, VELCO. Continue reading “New Leadership Elected for 2020 [1.17.20]”

Vermont Business Roundtable Releases New Policy Paper [1.15.20]

Policy Options for Vermont Pension and Health Care Retirement Systems

(South Burlington, Vt.)  Today, Lisa Ventriss, President of Vermont Business Roundtable (Roundtable) and Mark Crow, President of Tenth Crow Creative and Chair of the Pension Reform and Health Benefits Task Force, announced the release of its latest policy paper entitled, “Policy Options for Vermont State Employee and Teacher Pension and Health Care Retirement Systems.” Click here for report. Continue reading “Vermont Business Roundtable Releases New Policy Paper [1.15.20]”

VBR & EPR Release Qtr 3 2019 Business Conditions Survey [9.9.19]

(South Burlington, Vt.)  Today, Lisa Ventriss, President of Vermont Business Roundtable (VBR) and Jeffrey Carr, President, Economic & Policy Resources (EPR), announced the Q3 of 2019 outlook results of their joint initiative, the VBR/EPR Business Conditions Survey and Index.

Overall Findings

The latest survey, which was conducted during July of 2019, achieved a response rate of 63 percent overall.  Survey results show that: Continue reading “VBR & EPR Release Qtr 3 2019 Business Conditions Survey [9.9.19]”

Ventriss Op-Ed: Leading with Courage to Change

by Lisa Ventriss, President

Early in my time at the Vermont Business Roundtable (Roundtable) we authored a report titled Having the Courage to Change; it targeted our state’s looming workforce crisis. That was 2006. Children who were entering kindergarten that year are now graduating from high-school and the workforce crisis is no longer looming. As every employer knows, it’s here. And last week, a second major credit rating agency downgraded Vermont’s bond rating, citing the state’s aging population and shrinking workforce.

The Roundtable has been sounding the alarm for years about the workforce crisis and, frankly, we’ve moved from crisis mode into action. Though the workforce crisis surrounds us, the opportunity to invest in solutions is also within reach. And one of those solutions is high-quality child care. Continue reading “Ventriss Op-Ed: Leading with Courage to Change”

Ventriss VPR Commentary on College The Honest Way [3.25.19]

by Lisa Ventriss, President

This winter, college-bound students applied for scholarships administered by Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, including the Nordic Educational Scholarship of the Vermont Business Roundtable. This year, one hundred and thirty nine applications were received with forty five finalists making it to our selection committee. These scholarships support students seeking a certificate or two-year technical degree. Continue reading “Ventriss VPR Commentary on College The Honest Way [3.25.19]”