Roundtable Issues Statement in Support for Investments into Ages 0-5 Early Childhood Education [1.28.21]

In 2021 the Vermont Legislature and taxpayers will face a number of important fiscal matters, including the need to deal with a general fund revenue shortfall and increasing demands for public services that result from the COVID-19 economic downturn. In this challenging environment, the following statement of support conveys the urgency with which the Vermont Business Roundtable believes investments in Ages 0-5 should be addressed by stakeholders.

Vermont’s workers are challenged to find affordable high-quality childcare. Today, 3 out of 5 of Vermont’s youngest children do not have access to the daily care they need.[1] The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges, increasing pressure on strained early childhood education programs (ECE) that cannot find and retain qualified educators.[2] As a result, Vermont’s businesses face significant challenges in the recruitment and retention of workers, many of whom leave the workforce due to lack of affordable childcare.[3] Continue reading “Roundtable Issues Statement in Support for Investments into Ages 0-5 Early Childhood Education [1.28.21]”

David Coates Op-Ed: Finally, Positive Action on the State Retirement Systems! [1.25.21]

by David Coates, Managing Partner, KPMG LLP (Retired)

For over ten years, these columns have been critical of the treatment of the state’s retirement systems (state employees and teachers) which now in their present forms, are neither sustainable nor affordable without significant reforms. This has just changed with the State Treasurer’s report to the Legislature.

The Treasurer and I have disagreed over the years on how to solve these problems. However, I must acknowledge and commend her for the recommendations she has made to the General Assembly on how to reduce pension and OPEB (retiree healthcare) liabilities, to ensure the retirement systems are able to continue to pay their participants. Continue reading “David Coates Op-Ed: Finally, Positive Action on the State Retirement Systems! [1.25.21]”

Business Roundtable Elects New Leadership for 2021 [1.15.21]

Judith O’Connell Becomes Second Woman to Chair the Roundtable

At its 34th Annual Membership Meeting held January 14th, the Vermont Business Roundtable elected new officers: Chair Judith O’Connell, Champlain Investment Partners; Vice-Chair Sara Byers, Leonard’s Pizza; Treasurer Scott Giles, Vermont Student Assistance Corporation; Secretary Don George, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont; and, Immediate Past Chair Mark Foley, Foley Services..

Also, at the meeting, members elected new directors to their first three-year term: Kyle Dodson, Greater Burlington YMCA; Claudio Fort, Rutland Regional Medical Center; Suresh Garimella, University of Vermont; Joyce Judy, Community College of Vermont; Sarah Morris, Basin Harbor Resort & Boat Club; John Sayles, Vermont Foodbank; and, Timo Shaw, Vermont Walking & Bicycling Tours.

Elected to their second three-year term were the following directors: Mark Crow, Tenth Crow Creative and Don George, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont.

Continuing members of the Roundtable board are directors include Renee Bourget-Place, KPMG; David Bradbury, Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies; John Brumsted, University of Vermont Health Network; Tom Dunn, VELCO; Jay Fayette, PC Construction; Scott Fewell, Liquid Measurement Systems; Meg Fleming, SymQuest; Dimitri Garder, Global-Z; Tom McHenry, Vermont Law School; and, Larry Williams, Redstone.

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Roundtable Calls for President to Resign or Be Removed [1.7.21]

SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT – Yesterday, incited by the 45th President of the United States, rioters attacked our democracy in the most hallowed of halls. Today the Vermont Business Roundtable stands in solidarity with Governor Scott and our Congressional delegation to unequivocally, and in the strongest terms possible, condemn the domestic terrorist attacks on the U.S. Capitol.

Peaceful protest is protected by the Constitution and is one of our most cherished values. The events of January 6th were neither peaceful, nor protests. They were seditious acts that attempted to overthrow a legal election that has been validated by election officials and courts across the country.

The Roundtable joins with Governor Scott in calling for the 45th President to resign or be removed from office by his Cabinet or by Congress.

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The Vermont Business Roundtable is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of CEOs from Vermont’s top private and nonprofit employers, representing geographic diversity and all major sectors of the Vermont economy. The Roundtable is committed to sustaining a sound economy and preserving Vermont’s unique quality of life by studying and making recommendations on statewide public policy issues.

Vermont Business Roundtable Co-Signs on Letter Appealing for Liability Protection and Local Funding


Multi-State Business Coalitions Pen COVID-19 Recovery Letter to Congressional Leadership 

JUNE 15, 2020 

Today, the nation’s largest private sector business leadership organizations from 14 states released a public letter to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives calling for the COVID-19 fourth federal stimulus package to include substantial aid for state and local governments, as well as liability protection for employers. . Full letter below or download Here. Continue reading “Vermont Business Roundtable Co-Signs on Letter Appealing for Liability Protection and Local Funding”

Roundtable Releases Statement of Support to Address Racism [6.5.20]

Vermonters and Americans enjoy more freedoms, protections, and economic opportunities than almost anyone else in the world, yet these benefits are sadly not equally available to all of us because of pervasive racism in our country. There has never been and never will be any moral justification for racial injustice, yet it exists; a fundamental contradiction to our nation’s foundational value of equality for all.  Continue reading “Roundtable Releases Statement of Support to Address Racism [6.5.20]”

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”