Health care – exchange and single payer – dominate House Democrats’ caucus

first_imgby Alicia Freese vtdigger.org The Democratic members of the Vermont House of Representatives met at the Statehouse Saturday for a taste of what’s to come during the second half of the two-year biennium.Governor Peter Shumlin told Democratic lawmakers to ‘plow the ground’ for a single payer health care system this year and ‘take the criticism, take the bullets,’ before tackling a financing mechanism in 2015. He asked them hold off on new tax proposals until then.House Speaker Shap Smith, meanwhile, made the case for fiscal restraint, urging lawmakers to resist the temptation to open the state’s checkbook to fix its problems.Both Shumlin and Smith called for improvements to the state’s education system, more treatment options for opiate addiction, and ongoing investments in renewable energy.In a nod to the rejection of his incendiary proposal to reduce the state’s earned income tax credit (EITC) and his push to tax break-open tickets ‘ both of which fell flat in the Legislature last session ‘ the governor promised that he wouldn’t spring anything on lawmakers this year.‘We don’t have any big surprises for you,’ he said. ‘That’s a promise. We’ll tell you in advance what we plan and what we want to do.’During the final days of the last session, Shumlin butted heads with the Democratic legislative leadership over a tax proposal that would have capped deductions, slightly reducing the tax burden on Vermonters with modest incomes and raising them for roughly 14,000 taxpayers in upper income brackets.‘I know that there are days when we get into the heat of legislation and the differences between the executive branch and the legislative branch ‘ or maybe just the differences between 180 legislators and this stubborn governor ‘ where we have, you know, some tough points,’ Shumlin told the Democratic representatives.Shumlin won’ the tax battle. Since then, both Smith and Senate President Pro-Tem John Campbell’ have shied away from their pledge to reform the tax system, citing concerns that lawmakers will be tempted to use it as a means to raise new revenues. Last year, the House proposed a cap on itemized deductions and a change in the income tax base. The state taxes residents on taxable income ‘ after deductions. Most states tax adjusted gross income.On Saturday, Shumlin said he didn’t want to antagonize lawmakers. ‘What we have to remember as we reflect is none of us are perfect, including me,’ he said. ‘I learn from the mistakes, I really do, or I try to, and I want to find ways to work even more closely together.’Also in plaid, Gov. Peter Shumlin addresses House Democrats at their caucus on Saturday. Photo by Alicia Freese/VTDiggerRep. Mary Hooper, D-Montpelier, asked the governor why he opposed the tax reform proposal, and what could be done to make it more palatable to him.Shumlin reiterated his stance that the proposal was not in fact revenue-neutral, as its architects had intended. (Shumlin had used 2007 tax data to argue the plan would increase tax revenues by $10 million. Lawmakers, working off 2010 data, contended that there would be no revenue change.) He asked lawmakers to hold off tinkering with the tax structure until 2015, when the financing plan for single payer will be developed.Earlier Rep. Kate Webb, D-Shelburne, began to ask whether Shumlin would see single payer through to completion.‘I noticed you used the word universal health care in exchange for single payer. I’m curious ‘¦’ Webb trailed off, and Shumlin jumped in to reassure her.‘Let me be clear,’ he said. ‘If ever you hear the rumor, in this building or anywhere else, that your governor is backing down on his commitment to universal, single payer, publicly funded health care ‘¦ come find me. I want to talk to them. It’s not true. This is my single goal of what I want to accomplish before Vermonters are finished with me.’The governor did not discuss Vermont Health Connect and the problems that have plagued the state’s transition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), except to say they pointed to the need for single payer. After Shumlin left, lawmakers turned their attention to the exchange.Lawmakers’ frustration with being on the front lines, fielding calls from confused constituents, was palpable.Rep. Mike Fisher, D-Lincoln, who chairs the House Health Care Committee, was besieged by questions from fellow legislators who, on behalf of their constituents, asked about problems small businesses and individuals had signing up for insurance.After half an hour, Rep. William Lippert, D-Hinesburg, said lawmakers should stop attempting to perform the role of navigators who are trained by the Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) to assist with health care sign-ups.‘I think this is way beyond constituent services,’ Lippert said. ‘This is not our role.’ Others clapped in assent.Smith urges fiscal restraintThe state is facing a $70 million budget gap for fiscal year 2015. Smith reassured lawmakers that the problem isn’t insurmountable. ‘That’s not new, and we keep solving it,’ he told them. But he also implored them to suppress their reflex to solve problems by spending more. Smith has been publicly’ making this case’ since early November.‘We are going to be in a place this year where people are going to say over and over and over to us, ‘If we just put more money into it, it will get better,’‘ he said. ‘And you know what? Putting more money into things sometimes is the answer. But it isn’t always the answer. And it shouldn’t be the first answer that we always have at the tip of our tongue.’That message likely won’t resonate with every Democratic representative. But while it may be an unpopular message to peddle, Smith has the advantage of entering the session in the good graces of his caucus. After his speech, Rep. Peter Peltz, D-Woodbury, presented him an engraved gravel as a gesture of their support.Smith also challenged lawmakers with an ambitious goal ‘ making Vermont’s school system the best in the world. And he stressed the urgency of addressing opiate addiction.Shumlin, too, said he’d have proposals this session to address the ‘opiate epidemic.’Outgoing Rep. Margaret Cheney, D-Norwich, left, who has been appointed to the Public Service Board, confers with Rep. Alison Clarkson, D-Woodstock. Photo by Alicia Freese/VTDiggerMid-biennium member changesDemocrats said farewell to Rep. Margaret Cheney, D-Norwich, who Shumlin appointed to the Public Service Board. They also noted the passing of Democrat Larry Townsend, who died in June. Shumlin appointed Kathy Hoyt, also a Democrat from Norwich, to replace Cheney, and Marjorie Ryerson, D-Randolph, to replace Townsend.Those changes prompted a reshuffling of lawmakers’ committee assignments.Smith appointed Hoyt to the House Health Care Committee, and bumped off a Republican, Rep. John Mitchell of Fairfax, further cementing the Democrat’s control of the committee. Prior to the switch, there were six Democrats, three Republicans, one Progressive and one independent.The move has ruffled Republican feathers. House Minority Leader Don Turner told the Vermont Press Bureau’s Peter Hirschfeld that removing Mitchell will make it easier for Democrats to avoid asking ‘tough questions’ about health care.Mitchell will move to the House Education Committee, and Rep. Patti Lewis, R-Berlin, will be shifted to Government Operations. Ryerson will join the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee.last_img read more

Parent of Lake Sunapee Bank reports Q1 2014 net income

first_img ————- ————-NET INCOME $ 2,143 $ 2,052 ============= =============NET INCOME AVAILABLE TO COMMON STOCKHOLDERS $ 2,085 $ 1,911 New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares, Inc. Consolidated Statements of Income (unaudited) For the Three Months Ended March 31, 2014 2013 ————- ————- (Dollars in thousands except for per share data) Net Income $ 2,143 $ 2,052 Per Share Data: Basic Earnings 0.25 0.27 Diluted Earnings (1) 0.25 0.27 Dividends Paid 0.13 0.13 Dividend Payout Ratio 52.00% 48.15% For the Three Months Ended March 31, (Dollars in thousands except for per share data) 2014 2013 ————- ————-INTEREST AND DIVIDEND INCOME Interest and fees on loans $ 11,350 $ 9,181 Interest and dividends on debt investments Taxable 325 524 Dividends 35 13 Other 170 139 ————- ————- Total interest and dividend income 11,880 9,857 ————- ————- Leverage (Tier I) Capital 8.42% 8.29% Number of Offices: Banking Offices 38 38 Insurance Offices 3 3 Trust Offices 6 6 (1) Diluted earnings per share are calculated using the weighted-average number of shares outstanding for the period, including common stock equivalents, as appropriate. (2) Includes available-for-sale securities shown at fair value and Federal Home Loan Bank stock at cost. Net interest and dividend income after provision for loan losses 10,253 7,734 ————- ————- NONINTEREST INCOME Customer service fees 1,438 1,186 Net gain on sales and calls of securities 8 167 Net gain on sales of loans 52 933 Net gain on sales of premises and equipment 2 – Net loss on sales of other real estate owned (2) – Rental income 175 183 Realized gain in Charter Holding Corp. – 98 Bank owned life insurance income 149 128 Insurance commission income 484 485 Trust and investment management fees 2,076 – ————- ————- Total noninterest income 4,382 3,180 ————- ————- LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY LIABILITIES Deposits: Noninterest-bearing $ 94,394 $ 101,446 Interest-bearing 973,824 986,646 ————- ————- Total deposits 1,068,218 1,088,092 Federal Home Loan Bank advances 155,986 121,734 Securities sold under agreements to repurchase 22,667 27,885 Subordinated debentures 20,620 20,620 Accrued expenses and other liabilities 17,201 16,282 ————- ————- Total liabilities 1,284,692 1,274,613 ————- ————- STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY Preferred stock, $.01 par value per share: 2,500,000 shares authorized: Series B, fixed rate noncumulative perpetual, fixed rate cumulative perpetual, 23,000 shares issued and outstanding at March 31, 2014, and December 31, 2013 – – Common stock, $.01 par value per share: 10,000,000 shares authorized, 8,653,771 shares issued and 8,219,442 shares outstanding as of March 31, 2014 and 8,651,076 shares issued and 8,216,747 shares outstanding as of December 31, 2013 87 87 Paid-in capital 100,998 100,961 Retained earnings 59,363 58,347 Accumulated other comprehensive loss (2,443) (2,897) Unearned stock awards (478) (490) Treasury stock, at cost, 434,329 shares as of March 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013 (6,751) (6,751) ————- ————- Total stockholders’ equity 150,776 149,257 ————- ————- Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity $ 1,435,468 $ 1,423,870 ============= ============= New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares, Inc. Selected Financial Highlights INTEREST EXPENSE Interest on deposits 1,102 1,025 Interest on advances and other borrowed money 525 684 ————- ————- Total interest expense 1,627 1,709 ————- ————- As of (Dollars in thousands except for per share March 31, December 31, data) 2014 2013 ————- ————- Total Assets $ 1,435,469 $ 1,422,207 Total Securities (2) 123,935 134,998 Loans, Net 1,155,053 1,134,110 Total Deposits 1,068,218 1,088,092 Federal Home Loan Bank Advances 155,986 121,734 Stockholders’ Equity 150,778 149,257 Book Value per Common Share $ 15.55 $ 15.37 Common Shares Outstanding 8,219,442 8,216,747 Earnings Per Common Share, basic $ 0.25 $ 0.27Earnings Per Common Share, assuming dilution (1) $ 0.25 $ 0.27Dividends Declared per common share $ 0.13 $ 0.13 New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares, Inc. Consolidated Balance Sheets INCOME BEFORE PROVISION FOR INCOME TAXES 3,042 2,883 For the Three Months Ended March 31, (Dollars in thousands except for per share data) 2014 2013 ————- ————-NONINTEREST EXPENSES Salaries and employee benefits 6,002 4,295Occupancy and equipment expenses 1,578 1,076Advertising and promotion 155 99Depositors’ insurance 271 177Professional services 272 336Data processing and outside services 703 319Telephone 295 163ATM processing fees 221 151Supplies 164 129Amortization of intangible assets 435 192Other expenses 1,497 1,094 ————- ————-Total noninterest expenses 11,593 8,031 ————- ————- March 31, December 31, (Dollars in thousands) 2014 2013 ————- ————- ASSETS (unaudited) Cash and due from banks $ 20,697 $ 12,005 Overnight deposits 15,179 21,573 ————- ————- Total cash and cash equivalents 35,876 33,578 Interest-bearing time deposits with other banks 1,245 1,743 Securities available-for-sale 114,117 125,238 Federal Home Loan Bank stock 9,818 9,760 Loans held-for-sale 406 680 Loans receivable, net of the allowance for loan losses of $9.8 million as of March 31, 2014, and $9.8 million as of December 31, 2013 1,155,053 1,134,110 Accrued interest receivable 3,292 2,628 Bank premises and equipment, net 24,576 23,842 Investments in real estate 3,644 3,681 Other real estate owned 1,208 1,343 Goodwill 44,702 44,632 Intangible assets 10,585 11,020 Bank-owned life insurance 19,702 19,544 Other assets 11,244 12,071 ————- ————- Total assets $ 1,435,468 $ 1,423,870 ============= ============= NEWPORT, NH–(Marketwired – April 14, 2014) – New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares, Inc (1) Diluted earnings per share are calculated using the weighted-average number of shares outstanding for the period, including common stock equivalents, as appropriate. PROVISION FOR INCOME TAXES 899 831 New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares, Inc (NASDAQ: NHTB(link is external)), the holding company for Lake Sunapee Bank, fsb, has reported consolidated net income for the three months ended March 31, 2014, of $2.1 million, or $0.25 per common share, assuming dilution, compared to $2.1 million, or $0.27 per common share, assuming dilution, for same period in 2013, an increase of $92 thousand, or 4.49%. The weighted average numbers of common shares, assuming dilution, were 8,231,992 and 7,060,234 for the three periods ended March 31, 2014, and 2013, respectively.”We are pleased by the positive impact of our 2013 acquisitions on earnings during the first quarter of 2014,” President and Chief Executive Officer, Steve Theroux, stated. “Amidst a challenging residential market with refinancing demand waning, we experienced an increase in commercial lending which resulted in higher loan production volume during the first quarter compared to the same period last year. We continually strive to enhance our franchise value by taking advantage of our product platforms which offer a full array of financial products and services to benefit customers at any stage of their financial lives.”2013 Financial Highlights Total assets increased $11.6 million, or 0.82%, to $1.4 billion at March 31, 2014, from $1.4 billion at December 31, 2013.Net loans increased $20.9 million, or 1.85%, to $1.2 billion at March 31, 2014, from $1.1 billion at December 31, 2013.In the three months ended March 31, 2014, the Company originated $79.9 million in loans, compared to $77.7 million during to the same period in 2013.The Company’s loan servicing portfolio was $413.2 million at March 31, 2014, compared to $417.3 million at December 31, 2013.Total deposits decreased $19.9 million, or 1.83%, to $1.1 billion at March 31, 2014, from $1.1 billion at December 31, 2013.Net interest and dividend income for the three months ended March 31, 2014, was $10.3 million compared to $8.2 million for the same period in 2013.Net income available to common stockholders was $2.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2014, compared to $2.0 million for the same period in 2013As a percentage of total loans, non-performing loans decreased to 1.73% at March 31, 2014, from 1.86% at December 31, 2013.Earnings SummaryNet income of $2.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2014, includes an increase of $2.1 million, or 25.85%, in net interest and dividend income. The provision for loan losses decreased $414 thousand with no provisions required based on adequacy calculations for the three months ended March 31, 2014, compared to $414 thousand for the same period in 2013. Noninterest income increased $1.2 million, or 37.80%, to $4.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2014, compared to $3.2 million for the same period in 2013. This increase includes the addition of $2.1 million from trust and investment management fees earned by Charter Trust Company during the three months ended March 31, 2014 and an increase of $252 thousand, or 21.25%, in customer service fees, partially offset by decreases of $159 thousand in net gains on sales and calls of securities, $881 thousand on net gains on sales of loans, and $98 thousand from our former equity position in Charter Holding Corp.Noninterest expense increased $3.6 million, or 44.35%, to $11.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2014, compared to $8.0 million for the same period in 2013. Within noninterest expense, salaries and employee benefits increased $1.7 million, or 39.73%, to $6.0 million for the three months ended March 31, 2014, compared to $4.3 million for the same period in 2013. This increase includes expenses related to additional staff and operations for Charter Trust Company, acquired in September 2013, and The Randolph National Bank and its eight branches, acquired in October 2013, which represent over 85% of the increase in salaries and employees benefits. Occupancy expense increased $502 thousand, or 46.65%, to $1.6 million for the three month period ended March 31, 2014, compared to the same period in 2013. The occupancy expenses from Charter Holding Corp. and former The Randolph National Bank branches represent $205 thousand and $281 thousand, respectively, representing nea rly 97% of the increase in occupancy expenses. Depositors’ insurance increased $94 thousand, or 53.11%, due to the growth in deposits comparing March 31, 2014 to March 31, 2013. The increase of $384 thousand in outside services for the three months ended March 31, 2014, compared to the same period in 2013 includes $246 thousand related to Charter Trust Company operations and an increase of $65 thousand related to our core processing provider. Amortization of intangible assets increased $243 thousand, or 126.56%, to $435 thousand for the three months ended March 31, 2014, compared to the same period in 2013 due to the additional core deposit intangible from the acquisition of The Randolph National Bank and the customer list intangible from the acquisition of Charter Holding Corp. Other expenses increased $403 thousand to $1.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2014, including $221 thousand from Charter Trust Company operations and an increase of $80 thousand in tax- qualified contributions.Balance Sheet Summary Total assets were $1.4 billion at March 31, 2014, compared to $1.4 billion at December 31, 2013, an increase of $11.6 million, or 0.82%. Securities available-for-sale decreased $11.1 million to $114.1 million at March 31, 2014, from $125.2 million at December 31, 2013. Net loans held in portfolio increased $20.9 million, or 1.85%, to $1.2 billion million at March 31, 2014, from $1.1 billion at December 31, 2013. The allowance for loan losses was $9.8 million at March 31, 2014, compared to $9.8 million at December 31, 2013. The change of $20 thousand in the allowance for loan losses is the net effect of charge-offs of $223 thousand and recoveries of $243 thousand in addition to a net decrease of $3 thousand to the reserve for the overdraft protection program. Additionally, the Bank had a credit mark of $6.5 million at March 31, 2014 related to acquired loan balances of $184.1 million. Total loan production for the three months ended March 31, 2014 was 79.9 million in loans, co mpared to $77.7 million for the same period in 2013.Goodwill increased $70 thousand, or 0.16%, to $44.7 million at March 31, 2014, from $44.6 million at December 31, 2013. Intangible assets decreased $435 thousand, or 3.95%, to $10.6 million at March 31, 2014, compared to $11.0 million at December 31, 2013. This reflects amortizations of intangible assets of $435 thousand for the three months ended March 31, 2014.Total deposits decreased $19.9 million, or 1.83%, to $1.1 billion at March 31, 2014, from $1.1 billion at December 31, 2013. Advances from the Federal Home Loan Bank increased $34.3 million, or 28.14%, to $156.0 million at March 31, 2014, from $121.7 million at December 31, 2013. Securities sold under agreements to repurchase decreased $5.2 million, or 18.71%, to $22.7 million at March 31, 2014 from $27.9 million at December 31, 2013.Stockholders’ equity of $150.8 million resulted in a book value of $15.55 per common share at March 31, 2014, based on 8,219,442 shares of common stock outstanding. The Bank remains well capitalized with a Leverage Capital ratio of 8.42% at March 31, 2014.Quarterly DividendOn April 10, 2014, the Company declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.13 per share payable April 30, 2014 to stockholders of record as of April 23, 2014.About New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares, Inc.New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares, Inc. is the holding company of Lake Sunapee Bank, fsb, a federally chartered savings bank that provides a wide range of life-cycle banking and financial services. Lake Sunapee Bank has four wholly owned subsidiaries: Lake Sunapee Financial Services Corp., Lake Sunapee Group, Inc., which owns and maintains all buildings and investment properties, McCrillis & Eldredge Insurance, Inc., a full-line independent insurance agency, and Charter Holding Corp., which wholly owns Charter Trust Company, a trust services and wealth management company. New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares, Inc., through its direct and indirect subsidiaries, operates 29 offices in New Hampshire in Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack and Sullivan counties and 18 offices in Vermont in Orange, Rutland and Windsor counties.Forward-Looking StatementsThe Company wishes to caution readers not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements contained in this press release, which speak only as of the date made. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors discussed under the caption “Risk Factors” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013, and in subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent our views as of the date of this release. The Company and Lake Sunapee Bank do not undertake and specifically decline any obligation to publicly release the result of any revisions that may be made to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements or to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events. PROVISION FOR LOAN LOSSES – 414 ————- ————- Net interest and dividend income 10,253 8,148last_img read more

Vermont Public Service Commissioner testifies on nuclear Issues at US Senate hearing

first_imgThe Honorable Don MosierCouncil MemberCity of Del Mar, CA  Vermont Public Service Department Commissioner Christopher Recchia will appear before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Wednesday at 10 am, to testify at a hearing on stakeholder perspectives about nuclear power plant decommissioning.“I look forward to discussing these critical issues about plant closure and management with the Senate Committee, as Vermont Yankee and other nuclear plants around the country enter shut down phases and head toward decommissioning” Recchia said.  “Senator Sanders has been clearly instrumental in getting this topic to be taken up by the Committee as a whole, and I am most appreciative, both to Senator Sanders and Chairman Senator Boxer (CA), for making this a priority” he added.  Recchia will be commenting on state’s need for a meaningful role in the decommissioning process, the current NRC exemption process, and spent fuel management priorities.  He will also be addressing bills introduced today by Senators Boxer, Sanders and Markey related to these topics.Recchia will appear on a panel with:Michael F. WeberDeputy Exec Dir for Operations Materials, Waste, Research, State, Tribal, and Compliance Prgms, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission  Mr. Marvin S. FertelPresident & Chief Executive OfficerNuclear Energy InstituteMore information can be found at this link: http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Majority.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=9e96d72a-fe2a-308a-c411-5eae743b183c&Region_id=&Issue_id(link is external)=center_img Mr. Geoffrey H. FettusSenior AttorneyNatural Resources Defense Council last_img read more

Vermont-NEA donates more than $12,000 to striking Fairpoint workers

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The board of directors of the Vermont-NEA, the state’s largest union, has authorized a donation of $12,200 to the unions representing 2,000 Fairpoint Communications workers in northern New England who have been on strike for nearly two months. FairPoint has implemented a plan to realign benefit packages with non-union workers and to give itself the ability to hire non-union workers under certain conditions. The unions have agreed to some benefit concessions. Non-binding arbitration in November failed to resolve the issue or move it closer to a resolution. Political pressure also has been unsuccessful. The contract with unionized workers expired last summer.“What Fairpoint is doing to our brothers and sisters is unconscionable and unacceptable,” said Martha Allen, president of Vermont-NEA, which represents 12,000 public education workers in Vermont. “These working men and women have offered millions of dollars’ worth of concessions to Fairpoint only to be met with silence and a refusal to compromise.”RELATED: FairPoint strikers rally at Vermont State HouseVermont Public Service Department seeks investigation into FairPoint service qualityVermont-NEA’s board authorized the donation on behalf of the union’s members and locals, including the South Burlington Educators Association. “As all of us – particularly our recently-on-strike members in South Burlington – know, a strike is a last resort,” Allen said. “We implore Fairpoint to rejoin their loyal employees back at the negotiating table and stay there until a fair contract resolution is reached.”Allen was pleased to add Vermont-NEA to the list of unions donating to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers-Communications Workers of America Solidarity Fund. The FairPoint IBEW workers do not have a dedicated strike fund; the CWA does have a strike fund.“When workers strike for fair compensation, working conditions and benefits, it’s not just about them,” Allen said. “Our brothers and sisters walking the picket lines do so on behalf of all union members everywhere.” She pointed out  that the striking workers have been without pay or health insurance coverage for many weeks now.Vermont-NEA also noted that a special CWA Local 1400 wish list on amazon.com has been established, and Allen urged union members statewide to help the children of striking workers have presents under the tree this holiday season. The wish list has toys and other items costing less than $25.Source: Vermont-NEA. Vermont Business Magazine. 12.10.2014last_img read more

Cost of owning a car in Vermont about US average, NH is cheapest

first_imgState Mississippi Vermont Business Magazine There’s a $7,216 cost difference between owning a car in Michigan ($15,314.53) and New Hampshire ($8,098), finds a new study from personal finance website GOBankingRates.com. Vermont ($10,739.32) is also much cheaper than Michigan, but in the middle of the pack nationally. The study considered the costs of six key factors affecting the expenses of owning a vehicle in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia.1. New Hampshire: $8,098One-time purchase costs: $25Annual ownership and usage costs: $2,691″New Hampshire,” the study says (see table of all states below), “is the cheapest state to own a car by far, with the total costs of buying and owning a car for three years coming in at $1,182 less than the next-cheapest state (Missouri at $9,280). New Hampshire is one of just four states that levies no sales tax on vehicle purchases. It also has low insurance premiums ($941 annually) and low maintenance and repair costs ($337 a year).”21. Vermont: $10,739One-time purchase costs: $2,046Annual ownership and usage costs: $2,898″Vermont residents pay some of the lowest prices for car insurance. The average $942 Vermont car insurance premium is $383 less than average insurance costs of $1,325, providing enough savings to make up for more expensive gas, car maintenance, registration fees and vehicle sales tax.”As of today, Vermont’s average gasoline price is $1.97, the US average is $1.99, New Hampshire is $1.87, New York is $2.08, and Massachusetts is $1.89. And it doesn’t matter if you are a Vermont or New Hampshire resident when buying a car in either state, because there is no sales tax applied at the time of the purchase, but it is when you register it in Vermont.Outside of the sticker price of purchasing or financing a new set of wheels, GOBankingRates.com evaluated the following expenses to generate a national ranking:Car sales taxTitle feesRegistration feesAverage annual car insurance premiumsAnnual gas expensesAverage car maintenance and repair costs”The common costs of owning a car outside of the car payment quickly add up — our survey found that the average costs of owning a car for three years is $11,227,” said Elyssa Kirkham, lead reporter on the study for GOBankingRates. “Typically, car owners should keep their costs low — around 15 percent of their income for the car payment, insurance, gas, and so on — which is trickier in states with higher car costs.”From most to least expensive, here is the complete state ranking: 28 Rank State $10,214.40 $10,984.00 Michigan $15,314.53 Alabama Vermont 39 $9,923.26 Indiana Total Cost for 3 Years of Ownership Colorado $10,409.89 49 Tennessee Nevada $9,280.24 25 $12,763.74 $10,681.65 Total Cost for 3 Years of Ownership New Jersey $13,484.11 $10,689.67 Wyoming $12,060.55 Oregon 12 48 18 New Hampshire Minnesota 11 21 $9,595.07 North Dakota Massachusetts Arkansas 7 $11,041.66 $12,895.61 Connecticut $10,972.11 $11,822.62 8 $13,561.06 $10,476.13 34 43 41 17 $12,695.68 Missouri 20 $10,739.32 $10,627.63 Washington $9,866.27 $12,612.92 36 Additional Insights:New Hampshire, Oregon, Alaska and Montana are the only states that don’t levy sales tax on vehicle purchasesMissouri’s average gas price of $1.59 per gallon is the lowest in the nationThese western states claim the highest gas prices in the country: Hawaii, California, Alaska, Nevada, andWashington.8 of the 10 least expensive states to own a car are coastal states.Methodology: To generate these rankings, GOBankingRates surveyed and totaled the cost of buying and owning a car for three years in all 50 states and D.C. This total included six key car expenses:Car sales tax, based on rates provided by CarMax.com(link is external) and calculated on the average car transaction amount of $33,543 in August 2015 as reported by the Kelley Blue Book(link is external).Title fees, as reported by the National Conference of State Legislatures(link is external).Registration fees, as reported by the National Conference of State Legislatures(link is external), calculated annually.Average annual car insurance premiums, sourced from Insured.com’s 2016 report on car insurance rates by state(link is external).Annual gas expenses, based on an average of historical regular gas prices in each state sourced from AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report. The expense was calculated based on the assumption of a driver filling up a 14-gallon tank once a week.Average car maintenance and repair costs in each state, sourced from CarMD’s 2014 State Repair Cost Rankings(link is external).For title and registration fees are based on car statistics, GOBankingRates assumed a car value of $33,543, an average weight of 4,000 lbs and a model year of 2014. Car sales tax and title fee were counted once each, while recurring annual costs of registration fees, insurance premiums, gas expenses and car maintenance were each counted three times for three years. This generated the total costs of buying and owning a car in each state, and states were ranked according to this total to find the least and most expensive.GOBankingRatesGOBankingRates.com is a leading portal for personal finance and consumer banking information, offering visitors the latest on everything from finding a good interest rate to strategies for saving money, investing for retirement and getting a loan. Its editors are regularly featured on top-tier media outlets, including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Business Insider, Daily Finance, Huffington Post and more. It specializes in connecting consumers with the best financial institutions and banking products nationwide.LOS ANGELES, March 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — GOBankingRates 9 Louisiana 26 Hawaii $11,290.70 District of Columbia 13 Ohio Pennsylvania Iowa 38 $13,210.64 Utah $10,625.40 $10,878.60 27 $12,078.40 Rank $10,392.23 Texas 35 23 Montana $11,781.63 $10,303.56 $11,882.37 Oklahoma Alaska 29 $9,696.00 32 16 45 South Carolina 42 Nebraska Idaho 3 Virginia $9,602.97 1 44 California 5 $11,081.83 Kansas 31 47 $11,124.29 46 $14,451.58 $11,470.38 Delaware 24 33 6 West Virginia $11,340.77 $11,745.74 51 $11,318.43 4 New Mexico $9,813.85 North Carolina 30 10 22 19 37 Rhode Island Wisconsin $9,570.90 $8,098.00 2 $10,859.14 14 Maine $9,447.94 South Dakota Illinois New York 50 $11,672.91 $10,638.45 Kentucky Florida $12,925.76 15 40 $11,540.36 Maryland $11,003.15 Arizona Georgialast_img read more

Efficiency Vermont and Burlington Electric launch 3rd round of funding for nonprofits

first_imgVermont Business Magazine For a third year, Efficiency Vermont and Burlington Electric Department are launching a grant program for non-profit organizations to help low-income Vermonters reduce their energy bills. The grant program was first launched in January 2014 and has proven successful over the past two years – delivering measurable energy savings and receiving positive feedback from program participants.In 2016, more than 170 megawatt hours of energy were saved under the grant program – or enough energy to power 22 Vermont homes for one year. In addition, the participating organizations conducted 750 home energy visits, which involved replacing inefficient light bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs, installing energy-saving, low-flow water devices and advanced power strips, and identifying other opportunities to reduce energy use, such as replacing inefficient refrigerators and implementing weatherization projects.   “These energy visits mean so much to the elders we serve,” said Karen Budde, Volunteer Coordinator for the Northeast Kingdom Council on Aging. “They often live alone in big farm houses. So knowing that they can keep their lights on at a low cost and move through their home safely so they do not fall is very important.”“Our goals with continuing this grant program are to reach more low-income Vermonters and to help reduce their energy burden,” said Liz Gamache, Director of Efficiency Vermont. “By partnering with Vermont non-profits, we’re able to expand our impact and ensure that homes in their communities are more affordable, comfortable, and safe.”“Burlington Electric has long been in the business of making a difference for Burlington’s energy future, and that difference includes helping all members of our community improve their energy efficiency to save money and protect our environment for future generations,” said Neale Lunderville, General Manager of Burlington Electric Department. “We’re glad to partner once again with Efficiency Vermont to provide these grants to serve those in our community who need an extra boost to meet their electric needs.”Efficiency Vermont and Burlington Electric Department expect to award up to 10 non-profit organizations with grants ranging from $10,000 to $30,000. Interested organizations are invited to submit proposals specifying ways they would use the funding to help their constituents save energy. Proposals are due by March 17, 2017, for more information, please visit www.veic.org/company/requests-for-proposals(link is external) or contact Paul Markowitz at [email protected](link sends e-mail).Efficiency Vermont was created by the Vermont Legislature to help all Vermonters reduce energy costs, strengthen the economy, and protect Vermont’s environment. For more information, contact Efficiency Vermont at 888-921-5990 or visit www.efficiencyvermont.com(link is external).Burlington Electric Department has been serving its customers with safe and reliable power since 1905. Burlington Electric is a recognized national leader in green energy with the recent milestone achievement of sourcing 100 percent of its power from renewable generation.. With a focus on low and stable rates and a commitment to energy efficiency, Burlington Electric’s 20,000 customers use less power today than they did in 1989. For more information about Burlington Electric, visit www.burlingtonelectric.com(link is external).Source: BED 3.2.2017last_img read more

FairPoint, Consolidated shareholders overwhelmingly approve takeover

first_imgConsolidated Communications,Vermont Business Magazine FairPoint Communications, Inc (Nasdaq:FRP), Vermont’s largest telecom based in North Carolina, and Illinois’ Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc (Nasdaq:CNSL) have moved a step closer to Consolidated’s acquisition of FairPoint later this year. FairPoint shareholders on Tuesday voted to adopt the merger agreement between FairPoint and Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc during a special meeting. Approximately 96 percent of FairPoint shareholders who voted on the proposal cast their vote in favor of the merger, representing 74 percent of the Company’s outstanding stock as of the record date. Consolidated Communications also held a special meeting Tuesday at which approximately 98 percent of Consolidated shareholders who voted on the proposal voted in favor of the merger, representing 71 percent of Consolidated’s outstanding shares as of the record date.Under the terms of the agreement, FairPoint shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 0.7300 shares of Consolidated Communications common stock for each share of FairPoint common stock. After closing, Consolidated’s shareholders will own approximately 71.3 percent of the pro forma combined company and FairPoint’s shareholders will own 28.7 percent.Consolidated has received Hart-Scott-Rodino Act clearance and secured the financing to fund the acquisition at favorable rates. Consolidated and FairPoint are in the process of securing the necessary state and federal regulatory approvals to complete the merger and expect the transaction to close by mid-2017.RELATED STORIES:FairPoint appoints Michael Reed Vermont presidentBeth Fastiggi named Human Resources CommissionerAbout FairPoint Communications, Inc.FairPoint Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq:FRP(link is external)) provides advanced data, voice and video technologies to single and multi-site businesses, public and private institutions, consumers, wireless companies and wholesale re-sellers in 17 states. Leveraging an owned, fiber-based Ethernet network – with more than 22,000 route miles of fiber, including approximately 18,000 route miles of fiber in northern New England – FairPoint has the network coverage, scalable bandwidth and transport capacity to support enhanced applications, including the next generation of mobile and cloud-based communications, such as small cell wireless backhaul technology, voice over IP, data center colocation services, managed services and disaster recovery. For more information, visit www.FairPoint.com(link is external).Source: CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 28, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — FairPoint Communications, Inclast_img read more

Vermont moose hunt auction nets $30,761 for wildlife education

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Vermont’s annual auction of five moose hunting permits closed on August 10, with $30,761.50 taken in from the five winning bids. The auction helps fund Fish & Wildlife Department educational programs, such as the Green Mountain Conservation Camps for youths. Bids do not include the cost of a hunting license ($26 for residents and $100 for nonresidents) and a moose hunting permit fee ($100 for residents and $350 for nonresidents). Winning bidders can choose to hunt in any one of Vermont’s Wildlife Management Units open for moose hunting. The Fish & Wildlife Department held a lottery July 29, when 80 moose hunting permit winners were drawn from the more than 4,900 people who applied. Hunters are expected to take close to 34 moose during Vermont’s moose hunting seasons. Archery moose season is October 1-7. Regular moose season is October 21-26. Wildlife biologists estimate Vermont has 2,000 moose statewide. Source: Fish & Wildlife Department. www.vtfishandwildlife.com(link is external)VBM vermontbiz.comlast_img read more

VA Medical Center hopes to re-open OR by July 16 after flooding

first_imgVA Medical Center,Vermont Business Magazine According to a statement from the White River Junction VA Medical Center, crews continue to work around the clock to complete all necessary repairs to ensure the operating rooms (OR) are fully operational as soon as safely possible. A repair is required for parts controlling the temperature and humidity in the OR suite and thus, surgical cases requiring the use of the OR through Friday, July 13th are the in process of being rescheduled. Facility and contracted staff are working diligently to reopen the surgical suite for the week of July 16.  At approximately 4:55 PM on Friday, June 28, 2018, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), White River Junction VA Medical Center experienced a sprinkler head burst in the penthouse of Building 31, the main hospital building. The facilities management and environmental management teams were on-site overnight with all hands on deck and have done a fantastic job mitigating damage.Source: White River Junction VA Medical Center 7.6.2018last_img read more

Structure fire in Springfield considered accidental

first_imgVermont State Police At approximately 2145 hours on 11/07/18, the Springfield Fire Department was notified and responded to a reported structure fire at the above stated address. This structure was reported as an occupied residential building. While en-route to this call, it was confirmed as a working structure fire. The Springfield Fire Department responded and upgraded this response to a second alarm bringing in several mutual aid departments from the area. Upon arrival the fire department was met with heavy fire on the west side of the structure. Fire extended up the exterior and interior walls of this structure spreading to the 3rd floor and roof area. Fire Departments were able to contain the fire to the structure of origin. The building suffered heavy fire and water damage. Damage is estimated to be in excess of $120,000. During his assessment of the fire, the Springfield Fire Chief Russ Thompson contacted the VT Department of Public Safety Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit for assistance with the origin and cause determination.  Investigators from the VT State Police and VT Division of Fire Safety responded to the scene during the morning hours on 11/08/18 and began an investigation. It was determined the fire originated in the west side area of the basement.  This area was determined to be the area of origin for this fire.  The investigation showed that this fire originated in the area of a pellet stove exhaust pipe and the structures sill plate area.  Investigation showed that the fire spread from this area to the nearby combustible materials which were being used as insulation.  These materials lead to a rapid fire spread throughout the structure.   This fire is not considered suspicious.  No injuries were reported at this fire.  The residents were not home at the time of this fire.  Numerous pets inside the residence survived the fire without injury.This fire is currently classified as accidental with no suspicious circumstances. This fire was caused by heat from the vent pipe of the pellet stove in too close a proximity to nearby combustible materials.Anyone with information regarding this fire is asked to contact the VT State Police barracks in Rutland at 802-773-9101, Detective Senior Sergeant Thomas Williams at 802-773-9101.The Vermont Arson Tip Award Program offers a monetary reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone involved in an arson fire. Please call 1-800-32-ARSON(1-800-322-7766).STATE OF VERMONTDEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY FIRE & EXPLOSION INVESTIGATION UNITVERMONT STATE POLICE – RUTLAND BARRACKSCase # 18B106730FIRE INVESTIGATORS: Detective Senior Sergeant Thomas Williams VSP, Det. Sgt. Todd Ambroz, Det. Sgt. Mike LaCourse VSP, & Assistant State Fire Marshal Tim Angell from Division of Fire Safety.STATION: RutlandCONTACT# 802-773-9101DATE/TIME: 11/07/18 @ approx. 2145 hrs.INCIDENT LOCATION: 50 Valley St., Springfield,(link is external)  VT(link is external)INCIDENT: Structure Fire InvestigationVICTIM: Michael Hopkins,Yeslast_img read more