Legislative session races to finish on back of $4.5 billion budget bill

first_imgThe Vermont House is expected to take up the $4.5 billion state budget either today or tomorrow, with a possible legislative adjournment tomorrow. However, Governor Douglas is expected to veto the budget bill if it comes to him in its current form, which is also expected. Even though the bill cuts income taxes across the board ($22 million total reduction), the governor has stated that he does not support the increase in overall spending and that total taxes are increasing $26 million, most of which is being bourn by the statewide property tax. Taxes are also being raised on capital gains, tobacco products and being initiated on liquor. If the governor vetoes the budget bill, the Legislature would probably reconvene in June. Legislators leaders maintain that the economic recession raises the need for state services, on the one hand, while on the other, state spending provides economic stimulus.Meanwhile, the $649 million capital and transportation bills have received wide support in the Legislature and administration. This spending is mostly targeted to road and bridge repair. Vermont’s transportation infrastructure is generally recognized as being in disrepair. Along with federal stimulus funds, which will pay for most of the road and bridge work, Vermont will be able to upgrade the infrastructure and increase related employment.The non-transportation part of the money – the capital bill – calls for $109 million, of which $38.8 million will come from federal stimulus funds and $70 million from state bonding. The biggest items on this list are $10.3 million for school construction projects, $8.6 million for state park and community project grants, $8 million for a new state office building in Bennington, and $6.8 million for the new state archives.Another bill the governor is likely to veto is the renewable energy bill. Among other objections by the Douglas administration, the bill sets rates for renewable energy projects, which typically is the responsibility of the Public Service Board. Department of Public Service Commissioner David O’Brien told VBM that the bill will raise rates to consumers. He said the green energy industry is building itself up on its own at a lower cost than the bill would demand.The price guarantees for producers would be 20 cents per kilowatt hour for wind generation, 30 cents per kwh for solar and 12 cents per kwh for methane (Cow Power, landfill generation). The average consumer price is about 12.5 cents per kwh now.O’Brien said the entire bill is poorly conceived as is not within the bounds of good public policy. Nor, as he sees it, is it good for economic development because it will make the price of power more expensive. He said if the maximum of 50 megawatts were reached, it would add about $9 million in consumer costs.”I don’t think it’s fair to consumers, especially middle income and lower income consumers,” O’Brien said. The Department of Public Service represents consumers in rate cases. He said the governor has not stated whether or not he will veto the bill as written.Other Highlights:An Act Relating to the State’s Transportation Program (H.438)Creates the framework for a state-bonding programLevies $9.2 million in motor vehicle feesCreates a two percent tax on gas at the retail levelCreates a three-cent tax on diesel fuelAn Act Making Appropriations for the Support of Government (H.441 & H.442)Increases tax on cigarettes and other tobacco productsPlaces a six percent sales tax on liquor sold at VT liquor outletsProvides for a tax amnesty programStudies the creation of a State Department of Revenue and the imposition of service-based taxesLowers the exemption threshold for the estate tax to $2 millionAn Act Relating to Capital Construction and Bonding (H.4 45) Provides funding for repairs at state welcome centers and historic state buildingsAppropriates money for the use of the Vermont Telecom Authority to leverage additional money for the state’s telecommunication and broadband servicesAuthorizes the head of any state agency to apply for funds made available through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.Source of Highlights: Vermont Chamber of Commerce.last_img read more

UVM gets $400,000 grant to digitize historic newspapers

first_imgThe University of Vermont of  Vermont Libraries has been awarded funding from the National  Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in the amount $391,552 to support the Vermont Digital Newspaper Project.The UVM Libraries will work collaboratively with partners in the Vermont Department of Libraries, the Ilsley Public Library of Middlebury, and the Vermont Historical Society to select, digitize, and make available up to 100,000 pages of Vermont newspapers, published between 1836 and 1922, from the collections of the Vermont Department of Libraries and the University of Vermont. The digitized newspapers will be made freely available to the public via the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America database3.The project builds upon work of the NEH-funded Vermont Newspaper Project which, from 1997 to 2001, identified, cataloged and microfilmed close to 1,000 historical Vermont newspaper titles in over 3,000 libraries, historical societies, and other repositories throughout the state.By 1830, many towns in Vermont had their own local newspapers. Examples include Brandon’s Vermont Telegraph, a reform newspaper that supported women’s rights, the abolishment of capital punishment, temperance, vegetarianism, and anti-slavery and Woodstock’s Working Man’s Gazette, a voice for farmers, mechanics, and artisans in the 1830s.The Vermont Digital Newspaper Project will provide a window into Vermont’s participation in key moments in American history, such as abolition of slavery, the Civil War, westward expansion, the influenza pandemic, and the First World War.Project partners talk about the immeasurable impact digital access to these materials will provide for researchers.Project director Birdie MacLennan, of the UVM Libraries says, “This will go a long way in dissolving information barriers by offering an important link to Vermont history, for scholars, researchers, historians, genealogists and the general public. It’s a dream come true for users, who have been asking us for years when Vermont newspaper content will be made available online. We are pleased to now be able to say:  Coming soon, to a computer near you!””We’re really thrilled to be partnering with UVM and others,” says State Librarian Martha Reid. “The Vermont Newspaper collection is one of the state library’s most widely used. It will wonderful to have it freely available to the world. Particularly to Vermonters who are doing local history or family research, this will be an invaluable resource.”Chris Kirby, of the Ilsley Public Library says, “We have lots of patrons who come in doing genealogical research and this will greatly enhance their abilities. They’ll be able to search ancestors by last name and call up any stories about them.”Vermont Historical Society Librarian Paul Carnahan says, “It will have a tremendous impact on local history research in Vermont. A lot of research boils down to information found in newspapers and until now there has been no easy way to get at it except sitting in a dark room with microfilm and winding your way through reels one at a time. It will be like day and night.”Source: UVM. 7.15.2010                                                                                              ###last_img read more

Florida lawyers sound off on the state of the profession

first_imgFlorida lawyers sound off on the state of the profession Mark D. Killian Managing Editor Florida lawyers say balancing family and work, time management, and stress are their top personal concerns. The most significant problems facing the profession include the public’s poor perception of lawyers, the lack of ethics/professionalism, and that there are too many lawyers.Those findings were among the conclusions drawn from a new survey conducted by the Bar’s Research, Planning and Evaluation Department.Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of all respondents agree that the Bar promotes high standards of ethics and competence in the legal profession, yet 68 percent of those surveyed still say the public does not have confidence in the legal system.Those surveyed also shared their opinions on lawyer advertising, career satisfaction, and judicial competence and fitness. And the survey provides some information on how lawyers are doing financially, although the income data collected is not as comprehensive as is gathered every other year in the Bar’s Law Office Management and Economic surveys.When asked what will have the greatest impact on the profession over the next 10 years, the most often cited responses were computer technology/Internet, an over saturation of lawyers, and threats to judicial independence.Also, 91 percent of respondents rated the Bar’s continuing legal education seminars as either excellent or good — an all-time high.The Membership Opinion Survey was mailed to 2,771 randomly selected Bar members in August. the September 27 deadline, 26 percent of the surveys had been returned. Mike Garcia, director of the Bar’s Research, Planning and Evaluation Department, said the results of the survey are statistically valid and the margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent at the 95-percent level of confidence. Family and Work About two-fifths of all respondents listed balancing family and work (40 percent) or time management (39 percent) as one of their most significant personal problems or concerns. Around one-third listed high stress (35 percent) or lack of civility/professionalism (33 percent) as areas of concern.Garcia said there were significant differences across employment classifications concerning the biggest problems lawyer face personally. While time management was the most frequently cited category for partners (48 percent) and government lawyers (44 percent), balancing family and work was the top concern for associates (52 percent) and corporate counsel (46 percent). Lack of civility/professionalism was the most selected category for sole and small firm practitioners (38 percent), as well as judges (46 percent). Forty-six percent of judges also listed retirement planning as one of their chief concerns.When asked about the most serious problems faced by the legal profession today — respondents could list up to three — 50 percent report that poor public perception of attorneys is a serious problem facing the profession, while 42 percent said a lack of ethics/professionalism, and 34 percent listed too many attorneys. Just under one-third of all respondents (31 percent) cited a threat to judicial independence, and 26 percent said frivolous lawsuits. Income The median income for those polled was $100,000, up from $95,000 two years ago.“Over two-fifths – or 41 percent – of all respondents earned more than $100,000 before taxes from legal work in 2004,” Garcia said.Here’s a breakdown of median salaries of the respondents:• Managing partners, $175,000.• Partners/shareholders, $170,000.• Lawyers with one or more associates, $100,000.• Corporate counsel, $100,000.• Federal government attorneys, $100,000.• Sole practitioners, $95,000.• Local government attorneys, $90,000.• Associates, $77,000.• State government attorneys, $60,000.The median income for private practice lawyers was $100,000 in 2004, while government lawyers reported a median income of $75,000. The Bar as an Advocate Asked about the Bar as an advocate for the legal profession, 63 percent of respondents rate the Bar as excellent or good, down from 66 percent in 2003 and 68 percent in 2001, but still up from 53 percent in 1997 and 41 percent in 1995.The lowest ratings come from government attorneys and those in the northern part of the state. Highest ratings are from those 35 years of age or under and those 65 years of age or older, and out-of-state attorneys. In the past two years, a higher frequency of members’ negative (13 percent) opinion of the Bar has developed, rather than a more positive (8 percent) opinion. That is also consistent for the past two surveys going back to 2001. Primary reasons for members being more positive are: the Bar’s defense of judicial independence; member involvement in Bar sections/committees; the Bar’s emphasis on professionalism programs; and improved CLE programs and publications. Primary reasons for members being more negative are: the Bar being too political/their dislike of current Bar lobbying efforts; the Bar taking positions on moral issues; the Bar not representing small firms/sole practitioners; and the Bar not being tough enough on lawyer advertising. Advertising The study found 85 percent of those surveyed believe lawyer advertising negatively affects the public’s view of lawyers and the legal profession, including 76 percent of respondents whose firms advertise.Only 5 percent said advertising has a favorable effect on the public’s view of lawyers.Just under two-thirds (65 percent) of all respondents believe that television advertising has the most negative impact on the public’s perception of the profession. Billboard advertising (17 percent) and direct mail (10 percent) were also mentioned with some frequency as being the most negative form of advertising.The survey found 56 percent of members believe the current restrictions on lawyer advertising are “too liberal” as compared to 31 percent who say they are balanced and 13 percent who say they are “too restrictive.” Career Satisfaction The survey also found 76 percent of respondents are either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their legal careers, up from 72 percent two years ago, and only 5 percent say they are “very unsatisfied” with their careers.On a rating scale of one to four (one being very satisfied and four very unsatisfied) judges report the most job satisfaction, while lawyers with one or more associates report the least satisfaction. Judges weighed in with an average score of 1.46; followed by managing partners, 1.57; partners/shareholders, 1.89; government lawyers, 1.95; sole practitioners, 2.0; corporate counsel, 2.06; associates, 2.13; and lawyers with one or more associates, 2.29.The survey did find lawyers over 50 are more satisfied with their jobs than younger lawyers. Also, white lawyers reported being more satisfied with their careers (1.96) than Hispanics (2.20) and African Americans (2.27).The most frequently mentioned reasons for career dissatisfaction are job burnout (20 percent), salary (18 percent), lack of civility/professionalism (18 percent), personal stress (17 percent), and hours required at the office (11 percent), according to Garcia.“For those respondents who list ‘salary’ as the primary source of career dissatisfaction, their median salary for 2004 was $70,000,” Garcia said. “For those who listed ‘job burnout’ or ‘hours required at office,’ 71 percent took two weeks or less of vacation in 2004.”Twenty-three percent of respondents said they have too much business, while 52 percent report they have just the right amount of business. Twenty-three percent said they could use some more work, and 3 percent say they are not busy at all. Important Issues Garcia said 52 percent of all respondents report that improving the public’s perception of lawyers and the legal profession is one of the most important issues for the Bar to address in the next few years. Increasing professionalism efforts (44 percent) and being more of an advocate for the small firm/solo practitioners (35 percent) were the other two most frequently mentioned issues, the same as they were two years ago and four years ago. Other issues cited by respondents include implementing tougher standards on lawyer advertising (30 percent); be more aggressive with UPL enforcement (24 percent); legal access for those who cannot afford an attorney (21 percent); stronger discipline of theft of client funds (17 percent); and diversity in the legal profession (8 percent).Half of all respondents report that poor public perception of lawyers (50 percent) and lack of ethics and professionalism (42 percent) are some of the most serious issues facing the profession today. Thirty-four percent list too many lawyers, threats to judicial independence (31 percent), and frivolous lawsuits (26 percent) as serious problems. Judges Eight percent of respondents rate the competency and fitness of judges in their region as excellent and 52 percent rate them as good. Another 34 percent rate their region’s judges as fair, and 6 percent rate them as poor. The percentage of respondents who rate the competence and fitness of judges in their region of primary practice as excellent or good has decreased from 64 percent in 2003 to 60 percent in 2005.A higher percentage of respondents from the northern parts of the state rate the competence and fitness of their judiciary as either excellent or good (69 percent); compared with 62 percent in the central and southwest portions of the state and 55 percent in the southeast. Florida lawyers sound off on the state of the professioncenter_img December 1, 2005 Regular Newslast_img read more

CFO Focus: Stress testing

first_img 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Examine your financial situation at the limits so you can better understand where you really are.by: Jerry ClarkStress testing is not going away – it has been around in one form or another for generations past, and will continue to be part of the financial industry’s future. As technology has evolved, the sophistication and importance of stress testing has evolved with it. Today, stress testing is not just for the largest and most complex institutions. All types and sizes of financial institutions have adopted stress testing as good business practice.It’s important to note that stress testing is not intended to mimic reality. It is about pushing things to the limits so you can better understand your weaknesses or stress points. The results from stress testing are not expected to happen. This is an important point and cannot be stressed (pun intended) enough. We are looking for anything that could cause us an issue so we can address it before it can occur.I’ve waffled back and forth on several things over my career. If income is what most managers care about and understand, why spend so much time and effort on valuation? Do we really need to model gaps, durations and other metrics, or should we just pick one as our focus? And, the age-old question: Should I model flat balance sheets or growth when running ALCO scenarios?My conclusion is that more testing is better. Easy to say, not always easy to do since modeling takes time. But it is important not to be one-dimensional in your analysis. Focusing completely on earnings and nothing else ignores almost all aspects of your embedded risk profile. Sensitivity to changes in interest rates and unrealized price changes could be missed, as well as possible impacts on your liquidity and ability to borrow money. Understanding the broader impact of your future decisions is vital to running an organization effectively and efficiently. continue reading »last_img read more

This week on the Hill: Cybersecurity, overtime rule

first_imgNAFCU this week will be monitoring House hearings on the government’s response to cybersecurity, the effects of cyber-attacks on both small businesses and the federal government and a Senate committee hearing on the administration’s overtime rule.The Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology on Wednesday will review federal cybersecurity, detection, response and mitigation efforts.Also on Wednesday, the House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing looking at how cyber-attacks threaten both small businesses and the federal government. NAFCU continues to push for the adoption of the “Data Security Act of 2015,” (H.R. 2205/S.961), which would hold retailers to the same standards financial institutions follow under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. continue reading » 24SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

What’s wrong and what’s right with strategic thinking

first_img continue reading » Imagine you are in an airplane flying coast-to-coast, cruising at 30,000 feet. There are the mountains and valleys, cityscapes with twinkling lights, barren land and farmland – and let us not forget those little circles on the ground (they are center-pivot irrigation systems, by the way). You can see a lot… albeit a bit of a blur.Furthermore, if you were on the ground in LeBanon, Kan., you might be able to picture in your mind what the landscape looks like in Fresno, Calif., or Norfolk, Va., but you really can’t see it.What does each approach have in common? There’s a lack of clarity.I have sat through various strategic planning sessions. Most facilitators talk at you rather than engage with you. Lots of numbers are shared from a “30,000-foot view.” The SWOT analysis tends to oversimplify things. Goals are written down, but then they are shelved to review the following year. As a result, most credit union executives ask themselves, “Why call in a third-party facilitator when we can do that on our own?”Stop. Timeout. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Leadership Matters: How we build and break trust

first_img continue reading » Although many of us have had to deal at some point with a senior manager who seemed to lack morals, empathy or sincerity, the majority of organizational leaders are not compulsive liars and cheats, out to pull one over on the rest of us. Most leaders are healthy, well-adjusted adults who have invested greatly for the opportunity to contribute to their chosen profession and industry. They are often highly educated, competent and want to do the right thing. They are you. Why, then, does a lack of trust plague so many professional relationships, teams, departments and organizations?As we work at leadership level, we might notice that we still have these kinds of thoughts:“He is so frustrating to deal with.”“I don’t like her.”“We can’t count on the sales team.”But what we are really saying is that the person or people involved have not fulfilled some necessary level of trust: ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Chain reaction

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Wolf Administration Awards Nearly $19 Million for Homelessness Assistance and Prevention

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter July 10, 2020 Economy,  Press Release,  Public Health Gov. Tom Wolf announced nearly $19 million in funding awards to assist in mitigating the impacts of the coronavirus on homeless families and individuals and to prevent future homelessness across the commonwealth.The Wolf Administration, through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), is awarding the first of two allocations of Emergency Solutions Grant CARES Act (ESG-CV) funding provided through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act supplemental appropriation.“The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected housing opportunities, safety, and reliability for thousands of Pennsylvanians. As we begin to recover our economy, we must also ensure that our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians and those at greatest risk of losing their homes and housing stability are able to recover as well,” Gov. Wolf said. “Our homeless providers and partners are working tirelessly in their communities to end and prevent homelessness, and these distributions will drive direct support and assistance to counties in need across the state.”The CARES Act provided for two allocations of homeless assistance funds to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus among individuals and families who are homeless or receiving homeless assistance and to support additional homeless assistance and homelessness prevention activities to mitigate the impacts created by coronavirus. Sixty-three percent of funds awarded are targeted to address homelessness prevention, 22 percent to rapidly house those who are homeless and 8.4 percent to provide emergency shelter services and street outreach. The balance of funds awarded address data collection and administration needs.A total of $18,973,829 in ESG-CV funding was approved for the following recipients representing awards in 52 counties:Adams County Commissioners – $340,732Armstrong County Commissioners – $457,515Beaver County Commissioners – $49,820Berks County Commissioners – $300,000Blair County Community Action Program* – $1,385,373Bucks County Commissioners – $996,400Butler County Commissioners – $1,546,519Center for Community Action* – $312,700Central Susquehanna Opportunities* – $566,424Centre County Commissioners – $341,549Chester County Department of Community Development – $498,200Clinton County Housing Coalition* – $192,565Community Action Partnership of Cambria County* – $318,678Cumberland County Commissioners* – $79,500Dauphin County Commissioners – $628,633Domestic Violence Services of SWPA* – $403,711Franklin County Commissioners – $480,526Indiana County Commissioners – $99,640Lawrence County Social Services* – $3,355,362Lehigh County Commissioners – $305,004McKean County Commissioners – $150,148Mercer County Commissioners – $351,477Monroe County Commissioners* – $381,761Montgomery County Commissioners – $498,200Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services – $4,176,301Schuylkill County Commissioners – $448,335Union-Snyder Community Action Agency* – $131,440Wayne County Commissioners – $177,316*Asterisks note a regional grant.Blair County Community Action Program will distribute funding to Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, and Somerset counties.Center for Community Action will distribute funding to Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, Mifflin, and Juniata counties.Central Susquehanna Opportunities will distribute funding to Columbia, Montour, and Northumberland counties.Clinton County Housing Coalition will distribute funding to Clinton, Lycoming, and Tioga counties.Community Action Partnership of Cambria County will distribute funding to Cambria and Somerset counties.Cumberland County Commissioners will distribute funding to Cumberland and Perry counties.Domestic Violence Services of SWPA will distribute funding to Fayette, Greene, and Washington counties.Lawrence County Social Services will distribute funding to Beaver, Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clarion, Elk, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Potter, Venango, and Warren counties.Monroe County Commissioners will distribute funding to Monroe and Pike counties.Union-Snyder Community Action Agency will distribute funding to Union and Snyder counties.Applications were accepted from general-purpose units of local government, including cities, boroughs, townships, towns, counties, home rule municipalities, and communities that desire to apply “on behalf of” other municipalities. Local governments may apply “on behalf of” nonprofit organizations. Non-profit organizations can apply only for a regional project as long as it demonstrates a regional need and would serve multiple counties.To learn more about the ESG-CV funding, click here.Ver esta página en español.center_img Wolf Administration Awards Nearly $19 Million for Homelessness Assistance and Preventionlast_img read more

NDFD holds exhibition in Roseau to mark 30th anniversary

first_img Tweet 32 Views   no discussions Executive Director of the NDFD, Mr. Ronald Knight.The National Development Foundation of Dominica (NDFD) this morning launched its 30th Anniversary exhibition on the streets of Roseau, the first of its kind to showcase the products and services offered by clients of the organization.Executive Director of the NDFD Ronald Knight says this exhibition is their way of assisting their clients with marketing their products.“NDFD launched its 30th anniversary exhibition on the streets of Roseau, the very first of its kind displaying what our clients have to offer to the public. We give them an opportunity to have a booth and display their wares, services and products. We have Mr. Mills, we have people doing arts and crafts, we have individuals doing other food items, Benjo’s Seamoss. It’s just a way to help with the marketing of their products and services.”Samples of products and services exhibited today will able be featured at the Caribbean Week of Agriculture Trade Expo this week at the NDFD’s booth.A customer appreciation day, health walk and hiking of the Waitukubuli National Trail are all among events held earlier this year to commemorate the 30th anniversary.The NDFD will also hold a Customer Award Day at the annual general meeting later down this year in November where clients who have excelled and provided employment for individuals will be rewarded.Here are a few photographs of the exhibits on display: [nggallery id = 77]The exhibition will remain for the entire day for viewing by the public.Dominica Vibes News Sharing is caring! Sharecenter_img Share LocalNews NDFD holds exhibition in Roseau to mark 30th anniversary by: – October 10, 2011 Sharelast_img read more