Daily Archives: January 9, 2016

The spreading VPO media empire

Got a new gig. Pays just as well as this one, but it should be fun.

Every Monday morning at about 7:35, I’ll be talking politics and government on WKVT Radio, 100.3 FM and 1490 AM in Brattleboro. WKVT has a local morning show from 6-9 weekdays hosted by Chris Lenois. It’s always fun to talk politics; I’m also hoping this will give me a bit of a window on the concerns of southeastern Vermont, a place I seldom get to visit.

And this Monday only, for central Vermont listeners, I’ll be a guest on WDEV’s “Open Mike” with Mike Smith sometime during the 9:00 hour. (Will update when I know more.) You may recall that I’ve been critical of Mike in the past, and particularly slammed WDEV for replacing a real journalist, Mark Johnson, with a longtime Republican functionary. Well, they hired him, it’s their business, and I’ve said my piece.

Despite my occasional unkind words, Mike occasionally has me on to talk politics, which is the kind of politeness across the trenches that you often find in Vermont.

Anyway, happy to do it. Tune in if you can.

Is there a fight brewing over the Enterprise Fund?

Earlier today, VTDigger broke the news that the state Emergency Board (four top lawmakers plus the Governor) had met on very (VERY) short notice to approve two state grants from the Enterprise Fund: $1 million to GlobalFoundries and $200,000 to BHS Composites. And I commented that this is the kind of thing that makes some see the Governor as a slippery dealmaker.

Well, here’s something you didn’t know. TheVPO has learned, as they say, that 50 state lawmakers wrote a letter to the Emergency Board asking it to postpone action on the grants.

The plea fell mostly on deaf ears, as the Board approved the grant on a 3-1 vote.

One of the letter’s signatories was Rep. Chris Pearson (P-Burlington). Via email, he explained the reasoning:

It was my hope that we could consider using the money to help fill the [FY 2017] budget gap or, more urgently, the [FY 2016] budget adjustment challenge.

The letter was written before the EB’s agenda had been publicly warned — which happened only yesterday afternoon. Pearson adds:

Now that it’s clear the money was for Global Foundries it’s puzzling how a company that was given $1.4 billion to take over the plant could find $1 million much of a game changer.

You and me both, but more on that in a moment. First, the political ramifications of this letter.

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