Minimum-wage hike could spell end for VT’s iconic mom-and-pop shops

By   /  April 23, 2014  /  News, Vermont  /  No Comments

ICONIC: Since 1850, the Wayside Country Store has contributed to the picturesque living that has come to be known as the 'Vermont Brand.'

As lawmakers in Montpelier, Vt., prepare to hike the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, the owners of an iconic family owned general store say the added payroll cost could force their store and hundreds like it to close-up shop for good. As the most recent owners of the Wayside Country Store in West Arlington, Doug and Nancy Tschorn epitomize the iconic folksiness and small-town charm that lie at the heart of the famous “Vermont Brand.” In the mid-1980s, the couple left a past of furniture refinishing to carry on a tradition that began in 1850, at the general store’s first opening. But after three decades of serving hot coffee and warm conversation to locals, Doug Tschorn said he worries that Vermont’s family-owned mom-and-pop shops are on the brink of extinction. “I doubt seriously that we can survive a minimum wage hike unless people are willing to pay the equivalent increase in goods, and I don’t think they will,” said Tschorn, a resident of Sandgate, a small town located in Bennington County.

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Chamber leader denies Shumlin’s rosy jobs outlook, warns of death spiral

By   /  April 21, 2014  /  News, Vermont  /  No Comments

GAME ON: Vermont 'doubling down' to compete

Despite Vermont Gov. Shumlin’s rosy economic outlook, the leader of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce warns of a possible death spiral due to skyrocketing taxes and regulations. “If you look at job creation, there hasn’t been any,” said George Malek, president of the chamber located in the town of Berlin. “The workforce is leaving along with the jobs.” Malek told Vermont Watchdog in an interview that the chamber’s more than 300 members are being hurt like never before by taxes and regulations.

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Minimum wage debate reveals Vermonters better off on welfare

By   /  April 11, 2014  /  News, Vermont  /  No Comments

HIKE THE WAGE: Vermonters on track to earn a minimum wage of $10.10 after this week's House vote.

By Bruce Parker | Vermont Watchdog

MONTPELIER, Vt. — A bizarre argument offered during the minimum wage debate at the Capitol this week revealed that many low-wage Vermonters are better off living off the government dole.

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Report lauds Vermont for leap forward in online transparency

By   /  April 9, 2014  /  Accountability, News, Open Records, Transparency, Vermont  /  No Comments

Attorney general in Iowa faces conflict of interest over dueling roles.

A new report from a national federation of consumer advocacy groups ranks Vermont among the nation’s best in providing online transparency for spending. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group on Tuesday released its fifth annual report comparing spending transparency online across all 50 states.

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Rolling Stone exposes VT drug crisis as governor touts smarter pills

By   /  April 7, 2014  /  News, Vermont  /  No Comments

DRUGS: Rolling Stone exposes severity of Vermont's opioid addiction as Shumlin touts need for smarter pills.

By Bruce Parker | For Vermont Watchdog

As Gov. Peter Shumlin on Thursday announced an emergency rule to reject Food and Drug Administration-approved painkillers that lack tamper-resistant qualities, Rolling Stone magazine published a bombshell article exposing the horrific extent of the state’s opiate problem — fueling doubts about the effectiveness of the governor’s policies.

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