State revenue sources struggle(December 12, 2008) Secretary of Administration Neale F. Lunderville today released General Fund revenue results for the month of November, the fifth month of Fiscal Year 2009. General Fund revenues were essentially on target for the month as compared to the recently revised consensus revenue target. The General Fund revenues of $70.59 million for the month of November 2008 were +$0.25 million or +0.35% above the $70.34 million consensus revenue forecast for the month. Cumulatively, General Fund revenues year-to-date were $455.85 million or +0.25 million (+0.05%) above the consensus revenue forecast for Fiscal Year 2009.The monthly targets reflect the most recent Fiscal Year 2009 consensus revenue forecast, which was agreed to by the Emergency Board on November 18, 2008. The state’s consensus revenue forecast is normally updated two times per year in January and July. However, with the downturn in the national and regional economy, the Emergency Board scheduled an interim review of the consensus revenue forecast for November.Each of the four major components of General Fund Revenue underperformed against the newly revised forecast. Personal Income Tax receipts are the largest single state revenue source, and are reported Net of Personal Income Tax refunds. Personal Income Tax receipts for November were $32.17 million, -$0.04 million or -0.13% below the monthly target. Cumulatively, the Personal Income Tax receipts of $234.38 were essentially on target against the $234.42 year-to-date estimate. Corporate Tax receipts are also reported net of refunds; Novembers monthly target was projected to be negative (i.e., more refunds than receipts). Corporate Income Tax revenue results for November were a negative ($1.95) million net of refunds against the expected monthly net negative target of ($1.10) million. Cumulatively, Corporate Income Tax receipts of $13.26 million were slightly below the revised target of $14.10 million. We believe that the downward trend, particularly in Corporate Income Tax receipts, will continue in the coming months. Sales & Use Tax receipts of $15.35 million were below target for the month by -$0.79 million or -4.89%. Cumulatively, Sales & Use Tax fell -0.79% below the year-to-date target of $90.55 million. Rooms & Meals Tax receipts also fell short of the revised target for the month by -$0.62 million or -5.94%. At $53.92 million, cumulative Rooms & Meals Tax results were -1.15% below the cumulative November target.The non-major components of the General Fund Revenue combined to offset the under-target performance of the four major components. Insurance, Real Property Transfer and ‘Other’ were all slightly above target, while Inheritance/Estate Tax was slightly below. The non-major tax component results for the month were: Insurance Premium, $6.95 million (+9.10%); Inheritance/Estate Tax, $0.80 million (-39.86%); Real Property Transfer Tax $0.79 million (+28.15%); and Other, $6.58 million (+71.91%). Year-to-date results for these components were: Insurance Premium, +3.89%; Inheritance/Estate Tax, -12.92%; Real Property Transfer Tax, +3.87%; and Other, +6.05%.Transportation FundSecretary Lunderville also reported on the results for the non-dedicated Transportation Fund revenue. The Transportation Fund revenues were $13.68 million, which was -$1.12 million or -7.55% below the monthly target for November. The two-day Thanksgiving holiday, coupled with the month ending that weekend, resulted in an elongated processing turn around for Transportation Fund receipts versus the normal monthly processing delay; the additional delay accounts for a good portion of the -$1.12 million monthly shortfall. Cumulatively, the Transportation Fund revenues of $84.40 million were -1.31% below the consensus revenue year-to-date forecast of $85.52 million.The Transportation Fund revenue components were all below target for the month with the exception of Gas Tax receipts, which were slightly above target for the month. Gas Tax receipts have benefited from the recent reductions in gasoline prices. The remaining components still suffer from the continuing sales decline in the automobile market. The components of the Transportation Fund revenue for the month were: Gasoline Tax, $4.95 million (+2.06%); Diesel Tax, $0.77 million (-33.11%); Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $2.73 million (-15.30%); Motor Vehicle Fees, $4.15 million (-0.50%); and Other, $1.08 million (-22.94%). Cumulatively, the Transportation Fund revenue components for November were: Gasoline Tax, $26.36 million (+0.38%); Diesel Tax, $5.87 million (-6.12%); Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $19.18 million (-2.50%); Motor Vehicle Fees, $25.75 million (-0.08%); and Other, $7.24 million (-4.25%).Education FundThe revenue results for the the non-Property Tax Education Fund revenues (which constitute approximately 12% of the total Education Fund receipts) released by Secretary Lunderville totaled $10.55 million for the month of November, or -$0.69 million (-6.14%) below the $11.24 million consensus revenue target for the month. Cumulatively, non-Property Tax Education Fund revenues year-to-date were $61.85 million or -$0.69 million (-1.10%) below the year-to-date consensus revenue forecast.All the components of the non-Property Tax Education revenue, except Investment Income, were below the November monthly targets: Sales & Use Tax, $7.68 million (-4.90%); Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use, $1.36 million (-15.28%); Lottery Transfer, $1.51million (-25.56%); and Investment Income $0.0006 million (+99.87%). Cumulative results were: Sales and Use Tax, $44.88 million (-0.87%); Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use, $9.59 million (-2.50%); Lottery Transfer, $7.22 million (-6.70%); and Education Fund Investment Income, $0.16 million (-155.47%).ConclusionSecretary Lunderville said that, “Vermont is certainly feeling the effects of the national economic downturn and we continue to monitor the changing economic environment very closely. At this point, our economists warn that all of our risk is on the downside – meaning that conditions will probably get worse before they get better. As we face some very difficult budget decisions in preparation for worsening fiscal conditions, it is important that we move thoughtfully and quickly. The longer we hold off on making tough decisions, the more difficult those decisions become.”Attachments: Detailed schedules of revenue results comparing the current fiscal year-to-date period with the same period from the last fiscal year follow.
GlobalFoundries,While the exact number of lay offs at IBM s Essex plant was not known at press time, the total number was expected to be under 500. If it were more than 499, IBM would have been required by federal law to notify state officials before the action, which it did not. According to Vermont Department of Labor Commissioner Pat Moulton Powden, she was not informed ahead of time of the layoffs. She confirmed that IBM had laid off less then 500 of its roughly 5,200 employees Tuesday, January 27.The layoffs had been anticipated for a few weeks, with worldwide cuts rumored to be about 16,000, though IBM has neither cut that many nor indicated if or when it would make further job force reductions. The Systems & Technology Group, which the Essex Plant is a part, was the only division to see a drop in revenue last year. Overall, IBM’s sales rose 4.9 percent in 2008 to $103.6 billion, and net income rose by 18.4 percent to $12.3 billion. The per share profit was $8.93, which in part was due to the company’s aggressive stock buy back plan.The spokesperson said that this was a nationwide lay off and not specific to the Essex Junction plant. Severance packages were offered but no details concerning them were released, she said. Powden said several laid off employees will stay on the payroll for several weeks. Labor groups have said that IBM laid off about 2,800 workers in other facilities last week.Commissioner Powden indicated that the Department of Labor s Rapid Response Team was ready to help out and was waiting for word from IBM when they should come to the plant. Powden indicated that she thought the Labor Department would be up at IBM the 2nd or 3rd week in February with their team. IBM will be in charge of contacting the laid off employees once the team is in place. The Vermont Department of Labor will work with the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation and the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce in putting on entrepreneurial workshops for the laid off employees.IBM is Vermont s second largest private employer behind only Fletcher Allen Health Care. The State of Vermont, by comparison, is larger than both with more than 8,000 employees. Governor Douglas has proposed in January that 660 state jobs be eliminated in order to help balance the state s books.More information will be available on the Labor Department Web site, http://labor.vermont.gov(link is external).Commissioner Powden said that an IBM spokesperson told her that the lay offs were less than 10 percent of the total workforce. Other media reported that the percent was in the 5 to 7 percent range. IBM declined to tell her exactly how many.
Rep. Peter Welch announced $100,000 in federal funding for the St. Albans Police Department at a press conference Tuesday morning in Houghton Park.The Welch-secured Community Oriented Police (COPS) grant will be used to fight increased drug activity in the region. The funds will help the St. Albans Police Department upgrade and improve communications equipment and make use of Mobile Data Computer Terminals.Welch was joined at the announcement by Police Chief Gary Taylor and several other members of the Police Department, along with Mayor Marty Manahan and Chad Spooner, who leads a neighborhood watch program in the Houghton Park area.Welch said, Though we are fortunate to live in a comparatively safe state, the recent rise in drug-related crime in some Vermont communities is troubling and further demonstrates the need to fully equip our law enforcement professionals. These funds will bolster the St. Albans Police Department s ability to keep this community safe and address the scourge of drug-related crime.Chief Taylor, These funds secured by Congressman Welch allow the St. Albans Police Department to make critical upgrades to our communications infrastructure. These new tools are effective and necessary as our as our department continues to make progress in reducing drug-related crimes here in St. Albans. Source: Welch’s office. July 7, 2009
The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation has announced that 19 trail projects across the state will be receiving $531,119 from Vermont’s Recreation Trails Program (RTP).Vermont’s RTP is a matching grant program of the Federal Highway Administration for the acquisition, development, rehabilitation and maintenance of trails, trailhead facilities, trailside amenities, and trail-related educational projects for non-motorized, motorized, and multiple compatible recreational use.“RTP funds provide enjoyable opportunities with trails close to home, close to schools, in our parks, in our forests, and on our mountains,” says Sherry Winnie, Vermont’s RTP Administrator, “Vermont’s trails and trail systems connect people to places, promote healthy active living, and conserve the natural landscape of Vermont we love.”RTP funds have been authorized through the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy of Users (SAFETEA-LU), and are appropriated to States through the state transportation departments and natural resource agencies in cooperation with citizen advisory committees and a network of organizations and communities.The 19 communities and non-profit organizations being funded for project work include:Project Sponsor / Trail Work RTP AwardVermont Association of Snow Travelers $291,932Winter trail maintenance/winter grooming;Vermont ATV Sportsmens Association $5,570 ATV educational safety courses;Cross Vermont Trail Association $19,672Wells River Cross Vermont trail bridge;Town of Stowe $20,000Adams Camp trail construction accommodating mountain bikingKingdom Trails Association $10,000Nordic ski system rehabilitation accommodating nordic, cross-country classic, & skate skiingMoosalamoo Association $17,292Trail reconstruction on Horseshoe trail, Sucker Brook trail, Moosalamoo ski trail, & connector trail from Voter Brook Overlook to Moosalamoo Campground.Local Motion $19,599Expansion of Trail Finder in Franklin & Lamoille CountiesCity of Rutland $7,755Pine Hill Trail maintenance/upgrades & trail toolsNorthwoods Stewardship Center $7885Echo Lake shore trail construction, trailhead parking area & connector trail.Cross Vermont Trail Association $20,0001/mile section of new non-motorized multi-use universally accessbile trail along Winooski RiverNorthern Forest Canoe Trail $13,388Richford comprehensive river access trail, kiosk & trailside amenities for water-based trail usersNature Conservancy $20,000Black Mountain Trail restorationTown of Williston $19,725Hill Trail ConstructionTown of Sharon $17,000Improve trail access with new 1-mile trail section for the Sharon-Royalton Community Trail.Mad River Path Association $18,671Clay Brook FootbridgeVermont Trails & Greenways Council $5,000Development of trail-related educational materials for trail users, trail groups & the public.Catamount Trail Association $3,570Development & installation of trailhead signs for 20 of 31 sections of the Catamount Trail.Vermont River Conservancy $5,000Upgrades to Guidhall portage & access trail with signage at parking lot.Millstone Trails Association $9,060Construction & installation of interpretive signageSource: VT FPR. 6.3.2010-30-
Vermont’s tax revenues exceeded targets for the General Fund and Transportation Fund, but the Education Fund fell below its target for the month as revenues, in general, continue to show a slow recovery from the severe, three-year-old economic downturn.General FundSecretary of Administration Neale F. Lunderville released the August 2010 General Fund Revenues today. August is the second month of fiscal year (FY) 2011. General Fund revenues totaled $81.70 million for August 2010, and were +$7.30 million or +9.81% above the $74.41 million consensus revenue forecast for the month. Year-to-date General Fund performance of $163.92 million was +$3.69 million, or +2.30% ahead of year to date target of $160.24 million.“We are pleased to have exceeded the August monthly and year-to-date General Fund targets,” said Secretary Lunderville. “However, it is worth noting that without unexpected Bank Franchise tax settlement activity in August, we would still be behind target on a year-to-date basis by approximately $1.25 million. The Bank Franchise tax revenues for August were $5.0 million, or $4.9 million above the monthly target.”The monthly targets reflect the revised Fiscal Year 2011 Consensus Revenue Forecast approved by the Emergency Board at their July 14, 2010 meeting. Statutorily, the State is required to revise the Consensus Revenue Forecast two times per year, in January and July; the Emergency Board may schedule interim revisions if deemed necessary. The next Emergency Board meeting will be scheduled for January 2011.Personal Income Tax (PI) receipts are the largest single state revenue source, and are reported Net-of-Personal Income Tax refunds. Personal Income Tax receipts for August were recorded at $34.64 million, or +$2.24 million or +6.93% above the monthly target of $32.39 million.Corporate Income Taxes for August, which are also reported net-of refunds, were recorded at $1.56 million against a target of $.81 million, or +$0.75 million (+92.72%) above target.The consumption taxes struggled slightly for the month slipping below target for August; Sales & Use Tax receipts of $16.16 million were below target by -$0.28 million (-1.69%), while Rooms & Meals Tax receipts of $11.42 million fell slightly below target by -$0.01 million (-0.12%).The year to date results for the four major General Fund categories are as follows: Personal Income Tax, $77.91 million (+0.33%); Sales & Use Tax, $36.04 million (-0.25%); Corporate, $0.75 million (-69.05%); and Meals & Rooms Tax, $21.49 million (+0.43%).The remaining tax components include Insurance, Inheritance & Estate Tax, Real Property Transfer Tax, and “Other” (which includes: Bank Franchise Tax, Telephone Tax, Liquor Tax, Beverage Tax, Fees, and Other Taxes). The results for the month of August were as follows: Insurance Tax, $7.51 million (14.38%); Estate Tax, $1.22 million (10.99%); Property Transfer Tax, $0.62 million (-17.47%); and “Other”, $8.58 million (+74.46%). The majority of the favorable results in the “Other” category were due to extraordinary settlement activity for the month in Bank Franchise Taxes. Year to date results for these categories were: Insurance Tax, $7.79 million (12.75%); Estate Tax, $2.12 million (-13.31%); Property Transfer Tax, $1.37 million (-14.12%); and “Other”, $16.45 million (+40.88%).Transportation FundSecretary Lunderville also reported on the results for the non-dedicated Transportation Fund Revenue for August. Total non-dedicated Transportation Fund receipts of $19.61 million for the month exceeded target by +$0.16 million (+0.85%), against the monthly target of $19.44 million. The year to date non-dedicated Transportation revenue was $35.18 million versus the target of $35.14 million (+$0.04 million, +0.11%).Individual Transportation Fund revenue receipts components for August were: Gasoline Tax, $5.71 million or +1.01% above target; Diesel Tax, $1.44 million or +10.87% above target; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $4.19 million or -11.75% short of target; Motor Vehicle Fees, $6.53 million or +5.37% above target; and Other Fees, $1.75 million or +12.33% ahead of the monthly target. The August year to date Transportation Fund revenue results were: Gasoline Tax, $10.85 million or -0.01% short of target, Diesel Tax, $2.14 million or +2.66% ahead of target; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $7.40 million or -8.23% below target; Motor Vehicle Fees, $12.04 million or +6.85% above target; and Other Fees, $2.75 million or -4.32% short of target.Secretary Lunderville also reported on the results for the Transportation Infrastructure Bond Fund (“TIB”). TIB Fund Gas receipts for August were $1.46 million or -0.06% short of target; year to date receipts of $2.79 million were -4.31% below target. TIB Fund Diesel receipts were $0.24 million or +53.39% above target for the month; year to date TIB Diesel receipts were $0.33 million or +29.14% ahead of target. TIB Fund receipts are noted below the following table:Education FundThe preliminary “non-Property Tax” Education Fund revenues (which constitute approximately 11.9% of the total Education Fund sources) were released today by Secretary Lunderville. The non-Property Tax Education Fund receipts for August totaled $11.80 million, or -$0.41 million (-3.33%) below the $12.20 million target for the month. The less that favorable results in General Fund Sales & Use Tax receipts and Transportation Fund Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use were mirrored in the Education Fund receipts for those components. Year to date Education Fund revenues were $24.34 million or -1.48% behind the year to date target of $24.71 million.The preliminary individual Education Fund revenue component results for August were: Sales & Use Tax, $8.08 million, or -0.14% below target; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $2.10 million or -11.75%; Lottery Transfer, $1.61 million or +0.23%; and Education Fund Interest, essentially $0.00 million against a target of less than $0.01 million. Year-to-date results were: Sales & Use Tax, $18.02 or -0.26%; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $3.70 million or -8.23%; Lottery Transfer, $2.61 million or +0.14%; and Education Fund Interest, $0.01 million (percent not meaningful).Conclusion“The momentum of the economic recovery has slowed. The labor and housing markets continue to be weak; consumer confidence, while constrained, has improved slightly. Compared to prior fiscal years, August year to date results for fiscal year 2011 have exceeded fiscal year 2010, but remain 1.6% below fiscal year 2009 and 4.7% below fiscal year 2008 for the same two-month period. The current forecast does not project a return to fiscal year 2008 revenue levels until fiscal year 2013.”Source: Lunderville. 9.17.2010
Weekly unemployment claims increased last week for the third consecutive week and for the fifth time in the last six weeks. For the week of November 6, 2010, there were 1,377 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance, an increase of 296 from the week before. Altogether 8,495 new and continuing claims were filed, an increase of 437 from a week ago and 1,739 fewer than a year earlier. The Department also processed 2,261 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 44 more than a week ago. In addition, there were 761 Second Tier claims for benefits processed under the EUC08 program, which is a decrease of 68 from the week before. The Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/(link is external). Previously released Unemployment Weekly Reports and other UI reports can be found at:http://www.vtlmi.info/lmipub.htm#uc(link is external)
by Anne Galloway vtdigger.org April 11, 2011 A director of health care reform would orchestrate the state’s fledgling effort to adopt a single-payer system, if a draft proposal from the Senate Health and Welfare Committee is adopted. Read the 80-page draft legislation.The director would answer to the secretary of the Agency of Administration and would be responsible for development of a financing plan as part of the coordination of the governor’s signature health care reform initiative. In addition, a deputy commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access would be hired to provide support for the Green Mountain Care board.Sen. Anthony Pollina, D-Washington, who supports the addition of full-time personnel to the effort, says lawmakers will also consider whether to isolate the board from the development of the proposals for benefit packages, ground rules for hospital reimbursement rates, a financing system and cost containment strategies. Pollina would like to see a separation of powers, in which the board plays a quasi-judicial role and does not, as proposed in the House bill, get involved in developing the proposals for benefits, reimbursements and financing. The board, instead, would have the authority to rule on those issues. He said two new staffers and the chair of the board, along with employees from the Department of Vermont Health Access and the Department of Banking, Insurance, Security and Health Care Administration would develop the proposals, while the board would make judicial decisions about the merits of the proposals for rate requests from insurers and hospitals, among other things.‘It (the new board proposal) creates more accountability and better protection of the public interest,’ Pollina said.Both of these positions are add-ins proposed as amendments to the House version of the health care reform bill, H.202. The Green Mountain Care board remains a five-member entity under the Senate version of the bill with a chair and four members. In the House bill, the member positions were ‘part-time.’ That language, which was roundly criticized, was removed from the legislation. There is now no stipulation as to the number of hours a member can work.The nine-member nominating committee for the board would include two members appointed by the governor, two by the Senate and two by the House (’not all of whom shall be members of the same party’). In addition the governor, the House Speaker and the Senate President Pro Tempore would each select a health care ‘expert’ to serve on the nominating committee.The Senate committee has also changed the composition of the Medicaid advisory committee that will report to the Green Mountain Care board. The committee language now cites a requirement that three insurers be included on the committee.Health and Welfare is discussing the draft bill on Monday and is expected to vote it out of committee on Tuesday. Anne Galloway is editor of vtdigger.org