A specialty athletic retailer based in Boston, City Sports is excited to open its first Vermont location (previously announced in December) at 35 Church Street on May 6.The grand opening event will take place from 10 am to 2 pm this Sunday (5/6), and include a live band and over $1,000 in giveaways, including City Sports gift cards and merchandise and tickets to the Lake Monsters. Also customers who spend $50 or more get two free tickets to a 2012 Lake Monsters game. The first 100 customers to enter the store will also receive a free City Sports gift bag and have the chance to win the grand prize: one free pair of shoes a month for an entire year!Additionally, for every transaction made Saturday, May 5 through Sunday, May 13, City Sports will donate $1to the Burlington YMCA.City Sports. 5.2.2012.
by Tim Ayer Vermont’ s independent small businesses (NFIB/VT) have frequently highlighted the impacts of Montpelier’ s current health care policies. On behalf of our nearly 1,800 members, we want to thank Fletcher Allen, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Vermont’ s hospitals, doctors and the Business Roundtable for putting additional focus on this issue. Perhaps this represents a transition point in this debate. The political promises are well documented: provide $500 million, or more, in savings to Vermonters; remove the burden of insurance from employers; and provide subsidies to those who can least afford to pay; ‘ while improving, never rationing, our care.Now, Montpelier acknowledges the best they can do is ‘ bend the cost curve.’ That’ s politician-speak for slowing increases. Unfortunately, there’ s no evidence their proposals will even ‘ bend the curve’ .They’ re repealing the Catamount Health Plan (a plan accountable for increasing the number of insured Vermonters) but maintaining the Catamount employer tax of $11 million. At the same time, they’ re asking low income Vermonters to pay more for new plans, raising taxes on your insurance claims to the tune of about $12 million and offering fewer choices in a new system, dubbed ‘ Vermont Health Connect.’Effective January 1, 2014, Vermont Health Connect will be the only place for employees of businesses with fewer than 50 employees and individuals to purchase insurance. In just 4 months, small businesses and individuals will be asked to compare health plans for which there is currently no information available and make critically important decisions about health care security. Big corporations and labor unions are exempt, of course.As a small employer, there are many things to consider before sending employees into the exchange. Most importantly, you don’ t have to send them there alone’ you can still help them. And a broker can help you.As if that weren’ t enough uncertainty to grapple with, the Shumlin administration announced in January that $1.6 billion in taxes would be required to finance their single-payer system. Yet, despite paying consultants to produce a tax plan, they squashed the details and asked a nine-member panel to provide a financing plan. None of this information will be available until after the 2014 elections. The same tactic used two years ago to evade accountability’ despite repeated promises to the contrary.What will be covered? How much will it cost? Who will make critical decisions for you and your family? Will there be a payroll tax on employers or an income tax on individuals’ or both? How will all of this impact hiring, investment and economic growth in Vermont? No one in the administration knows’ or will admit’ the answers. Vermont’ s small businesses love our state and care deeply for their employees who for many are like family. They’ re willing to fight the forces of global and national economies to stay here, stay open, care for their employees, contribute to our quality of life and pay their fair share. They should not have to fight so hard against anti-small business undercurrents right here at home. While the politics of a single payer plan play out, small businesses are unable to make important decisions ‘ like whether to expand and create more jobs. They have no idea how high taxes and health care costs will rise or what impact changes will have on their employees. Recent property tax increases alone will force some to lay off employees or close their doors. Montpelier, however, refuses to acknowledge that costs and uncertainty have already become too much’ a trend that Vermont’ s population clearly illustrate.Just two weeks ago, owners of a small plumbing and heating business sorrowfully moved their operation and young family to New Hampshire. The costs of living and doing business here, coupled with uncertainty over health care, were too much to bear. Sadly, they aren’ t the first and under these conditions they won’ t be the last. Vermont must do better.Tim Ayer is a resident of Middlesex, a small business owner, and a member of National Federation of Independent Business/VT.
With the Highway Trust Fund projected to become insolvent this year, the National Lieutenant Governors Association unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution, cosponsored by Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott (R-Vermont) and Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam (D-VA), calling on Congress to “develop a shared, long term vision for surface transportation.” “Secretary Brian Searles and Congressman Peter Welch were instrumental in bringing this matter to the attention of the Vermont House and Senate Transportation Committees, which prompted the resolution,” Scott said. “In addition, Congressman Welch continues to lead roundtable discussions and meetings with key transportation leaders from both parties to bring attention to the issue and develop strategies for the future.” Friday’s vote followed a Thursday panel discussion moderated by Scott at the NLGA Federal-State Relations Meeting in Washington, DC, entitled: “How Will States Fund Road Projects – Starting this Summer?” Since federal law says the Highway Trust Fund cannot run a negative balance, it’s reported that the US Department of Transportation will likely begin taking special actions this summer, including substantially delaying payments to states or paying a significantly reduced share. “I commend Lieutenant Governor Scott and other lieutenant governors from around the country for this resolution urging Congress to act on federal transportation funding,” Vermont Transportation Secretary Brian Searles said. “Without adequate funding the deterioration of our roads, bridges and other systems will affect every Vermonter’s quality of life and have a negative impact on safety, tourism and business in general.” Testimony offered by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials indicates that unless Congress either increases Highway Trust Fund revenues or provides additional General Fund support, states won’t be able to commit virtually any new federal funds to surface transportation projects starting next fiscal year. This could result in states delaying much-needed projects this coming construction season due to the long term funding needs of larger, ongoing projects. “Renewing federal transportation programs is about more than paving roads and filling potholes. A robust transportation sector is essential to the success of American businesses and to rebuilding the middle class,” U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont) said. “I commend Lt. Governor Scott’s efforts and believe that Congress needs to put aside bipartisan posturing and work together, the way we do in Vermont, to find a long term solution to surface transportation funding.” Congressman Welch is hosting a transportation roundtable at 10 am today, Monday, March 24, at the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation offices, 128 Lakeside Ave., Burlington. Participants include Scott, Secretary Searles, chairs of the Vermont Senate and House transportation committees, and other statewide transportation leaders. The discussion will focus on public transportation and Vermont’s priorities around alternative transportation.
1New York $95,400400%2Hawaii * $84,500308%3New Jersey $83,500350%4District of Columbia $76,100319%5Connecticut/New Hampshire $75,850318%7Maryland $75,600317%8Pennsylvania $75,000314%9Illinois $74,650313%10Alabama/Vermont $74,400312% Ten “Least Generous” States/DC for Covering Children Ages 0-18 under Medicaid & CHIPRank State/DC Annual Income Fed Poverty Level Overall In the state of New York, a family of four can make up to $95,400 annually and still qualify its children for comprehensive health coverage, while families in Arizona must make less than $33,400 to qualify their children, according to a PointCare analysis of 2014 Medicaid data.For uninsured low-income families with children ages 0-18, it’s important to know the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) limit under which Medicaid and some state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will cover their children. When a state has a higher FPL limit, more working families are afforded a greater opportunity to have their children covered. Other states may not be as “generous,” having lower FPL limits for these programs. PointCare, a screening and enrollment software company that assists the uninsured in hospitals and health centers, has identified the top 10 most and least generous states as it relates to a family’s annual income.With a robust database of several thousand public and private programs, PointCare has helped more than a half-million Americans identify their health coverage eligibility.Listed below is a breakdown of the Medicaid and CHIP FPL limits pulled from PointCare’s health coverage database and the Center for Medicaid & CHIP Services. A complete listing of all 50 states’ plus District of Columbia rankings is available at PointCare.com/FPL-Rankings-Release. Ten “Most Generous” States/DC for Covering Children Ages 0-18 under Medicaid & CHIPRank State/DC Annual Income Fed Poverty Level 1Arizona** $33,400140%352North Dakota $40,545170%343Idaho $44,123185%334Nevada/Utah/Virginia/Wyoming $47,700200%328Texas $47,940201%319South Dakota $48,655204%3010Oklahoma $49,000205%29*The separate poverty guidelines for Hawaii reflect Office of Economic Opportunity administrative practice beginning in the 1966-1970 period. **Arizona does not have a CHIP program and has three varying income levels for coverage eligibility: Ages 0-1 (147% FPL), Ages 1-5 (141% FPL), Ages 6-18 (133% FPL).”Where you live really matters,” concluded Everett Lebherz, Vice President of PointCare. Noting that nearly 1 in 3 uninsured Americans qualify for Medicaid, Lebherz affirms that PointCare is planning to continue its efforts to assist providers nationwide with educating and engaging uninsured patients about their options beyond March 31st, when open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act Exchange plans closes. For an estimated 13-16 million Medicaid-eligible families and individuals, enrollment can take place year-round. PointCare provides a web-based, mobile-friendly health coverage screening, enrollment, and reporting tool, PointCarePA, for hospitals and clinics nationwide.SOURCE SAN MATEO, Calif., March 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — PointCare
Vermont Business Magazine Of the 340 total middle market firms in Vermont, 11 are engaged in exporting, which make up 3 percent of Vermont’s middle market firms (US average 5 percent), according to the Middle Market Power Index: Taking the Global Stage from American Express and Dun & Bradstreet. The second report, based on Dun & Bradstreet’s proprietary database of commercially-active US firms, explores the characteristics of US middle market companies (defined as businesses generating between $10 million and $1 billion in revenues) engaged in exporting their products and services.Nationally, there are more than 136,000 middle market firms with 7,066 engaged in exporting, accounting for 5 percent of middle market firms.Below is a table comparing Vermont’s number of exporting middle market firms to national data as well as a national map: 340 3%Overall, the study says that US companies significantly increase their engagement in exporting as firm revenue grows and businesses mature.This second in the series of reports, analyzing Dun & Bradstreet’s proprietary database of more than 19 million commercially-active(link is external) US firms, explores the characteristics of U.S. middle market companies (defined as businesses generating between $10 million and $1 billion in revenues) engaged in exporting their products and services. The series of reports is designed to uncover opportunities for middle market companies to expand their customer base and sources of revenue, based on a virtual census of all of the commercially-active businesses in the United States.The analysis finds firms generally establish themselves domestically before selling abroad. Five percent (5%) of middle market businesses engage in exporting, while significantly more companies (34%) with more than $1 billion in revenue sell internationally. Additionally, the data reveals that the longer middle market companies are in business, the more likely they are to export. Less than 5% of middle market firms in business for less than nine years sell to foreign markets, while more than two-thirds (68%) of middle market companies in business for 25 years or more export their goods or services.Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that in 2014, total merchandise exports from all 50 states helped the U.S. achieve the fifth consecutive record-setting year of goods and services exports, which reached $2.35 trillion.“One of the greatest signs of an economic recovery is growing exports and these results are very encouraging for the U.S. markets,” said Jeff Stibel, vice chairman of Dun & Bradstreet. “As middle-market companies increase exports outside of the U.S., there is also a high likelihood for increased opportunities for domestic job growth.”Middle Market’s Expanding Exporting Opportunity:Middle market companies, which today represent less than 1% of all U.S. businesses, account for 29% of all U.S. business revenues and 18% of the firms that export their goods and services, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That said, the International Trade Administration shows that middle market companies account for just 9% of the value of U.S. exports, showing that while more likely than average to export their goods and services, the value of middle market exports exports lags that of larger firms. Exporting represents a $928 billion opportunity for U.S. mid-sized companies over the next 10 years.(link is external)“Middle market firms are cautiously—and strategically—entering foreign markets,” said Susan Sobbott, president, Global Corporate Payments, American Express. “Mid-sized companies are driving job growth domestically,(link is external) and many could benefit from overseas expansion earlier in their lifecycles.”To help middle market firms evaluate the risks and rewards of exporting, American Express launched Grow Global(link is external), a program providing free exporting resources, including interactive development and learning workshops, online materials and webinars, mentoring and one-on-one connections.Middle Market Product-Focused Firms are More Likely to ExportAnalysis by industry finds middle market manufacturers and those in wholesale trade are far more likely to engage in exporting than the average middle market business. Compared to the industry-wide average of 5% of middle market businesses that export, industries most likely to export include:manufacturing (14%)wholesale trade (12%)Industries with the least exporting participation—all with less than 1% engaging in exporting—by middle market companies include:social services (less than 1%)educational services (less than 0.5%)health services (less than 0.5%)Middle Market Exporters are Found Throughout the CountryAmong the 25 most populous metro areas, middle market companies that export are more likely than the U.S. average to take place in:Miami, FL (20%)Houston, TX (9%)Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL (9%)Los Angeles-Long Beach (8%)Puerto Rico (26%) and the U.S. Virgin Islands (14%) are also significantly more likely than average to have middle market firms engaged in exporting.The data reveals a fairly consistent percentage of middle market exporters in each state. States with the highest levels of middle market firms engaged in exporting include:Florida (10%)New Jersey (8%)States with the lowest levels of middle market exporters include:Montana (2%)North Dakota (2%)South Dakota (2%)Oklahoma (2%)West Virginia (2%)Wyoming (1%)Washington D.C. (1%)New Mexico (1%)American Express and Dun & Bradstreet will release additional reports in the coming months, which will explore other characteristics and economic contributions of middle market firms.To read the full Middle Market Power Index: Taking the Global Stage, please visit http://about.americanexpress.com/news/pr/2015/exporting-among-u-s-middle-market-firms.aspx(link is external).Study MethodologyThe Middle Market Power Index report is based on an analysis of all of the firms in Dun & Bradstreet’s commercial databases of nearly 19 million businesses between 2008 and 2014: the first a virtual census of all of the commercially-active businesses in the United States (defined as firms that have obtained a D-U-N-S® number and that sell and receive goods and services and utilize credit transactions in their business); the second commercial database is Dun & Bradstreet’s credit scoring archive database, which collects and models business commercial activity and business financial strength. All subsidiary and business establishment data are combined; only enterprise-level data (top of the business family tree, or Ultimate D-U-N-S® number firms) are reported. Additionally, public sector entities are excluded.About Dun and BradstreetDun & Bradstreet (NYSE: DNB) grows the most valuable relationships in business. By uncovering truth and meaning from data, we connect customers with the prospects, suppliers, clients and partners that matter most, and have since 1841. Nearly ninety percent of the Fortune 500, and companies of every size around the world, rely on our data, insights and analytics. For more about Dun & Bradstreet, visit DNB.com(link is external).About American Express Global Corporate Payments Through its Global Corporate Payments division, American Express offers a suite of B2B and T&E payment solutions that can help organizations streamline processes and identify opportunities to help drive savings and efficiency. American Express can help your organization improve working capital flexibility and your relationships with suppliers. For more information, visit https://business.americanexpress.com/us/(link is external)About American ExpressAmerican Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com(link is external) and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress(link is external), foursquare.com/americanexpress(link is external), linkedin.com/company/american-express(link is external), twitter.com/americanexpress(link is external), and youtube.com/americanexpress(link is external).Key links to products and services: charge and credit cards(link is external), business credit cards(link is external), Plenti rewards program(link is external), travel services(link is external), gift cards(link is external), prepaid cards(link is external), merchant services(link is external), corporate card(link is external) and business travel(link is external). Vermont 11 Total number of middle market firms Share of exporting firms 5% Number of middle market firms that export 7,066 Total U.S. 136,603
Vermont Business Magazine The DC Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Open Internet rules. The Open Internet rules, which were adopted in 2015, ban all domestic broadband providers from blocking or throttling lawful online content and engaging in paid prioritization agreements through which websites could be charged for priority access over the Internet. On September 21, 2015(link is external), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and 27 other members of Congress filed a brief with the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the FCC’s Open Internet rules. Senator Leahy has been outspoken on the need for concrete net neutrality protections for years and he previously convened hearings in Vermont(link is external) and Washington(link is external) to highlight the importance of this issue.“I applaud the DC Circuit Court’s decision affirming the FCC’s vitally important Open Internet rules that were adopted in 2015,” said Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee. “Meaningful net neutrality protections are paramount to Vermonters and millions of hardworking Americans who rely on accessible broadband services, in their livelihoods, and in their daily lives. Today’s decision ensures that Americans across the country can continue to access broadband services without fear that their voices will be drowned out by paid prioritization schemes that benefit large corporate moneyed interests. It is important to all Vermonters and all Americans that the Internet will remain an open platform that fosters innovation and free speech, and I will continue to advocate for the preservation of these foundational principles.”The telecoms, including Comcast and AT&T wireless, are expected to appeal the ruling. Consumer advocates applauded the ruling, which regulates the largely unregulated Internet providers. The ISPs and cell providers will neither be able to either slow down some services in favor of others, nor require extra payments for “fast lane” services.Source: Leahy 6.14.2016
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) will focus efforts on redefining the definition of independent contractor and financing the clean up of the state’s lakes and rivers during the 2017 legislative session. The statewide business organization with more than 750 members announced these initiatives and others Thursday morning during a sold-out Legislative Breakfast at Main Street Landing in Burlington. The organization also honored Representative Helen Head, (D)-South Burlington, the chair of the House General, Housing, and Military Affairs Committee, with the Legislator of the Year Award for her work and leadership in helping pass key employment bills.Head accepted the award at the meeting, before an audience of more than 150 people.Helen Head and Dan Barlow at the VBSR Legislative Breakfast Thursday. VBSR photos.“I am deeply honored by this award,” Head said. “A team of legislators, starting with members of my committee, worked tirelessly to pass Paid Leave and Ban the Box. The effort to pass both bills was strengthened by inspiring testimony from business organizations. VBSR played a prominent role.”VBSR’s 2017 legislative agenda also includes work on revamping state procurement practices to attract more “high road” employers, making quality child care more affordable for working Vermonters, and reforming the state’s tax code by putting a price on carbon.VBSR’s Complete 2017 Legislative Agenda:· Reform state laws around the definition of independent contractor to allow for more flexibility while still retaining strong employment rights and protections for a vast majority of the Vermont workforce.· Change state procurement procedures to give incentives in state contracting to companies that create livable wage jobs with robust benefits.· Increase the opportunities for working families to find affordable and high quality child care so that talented employees can stay in the workforce.· Invest in a Clean Water Economy by cleaning up Lake Champlain and Vermont’s other waterways before our state brand and quality of life are irreparably harmed by the loss of these resources.· Reform Vermont’s tax code and make the state more economically competitive by putting an appropriate price on carbon pollution.VBSR is a statewide, non-profit business association with a mission to advance business ethics that value people, planet, and profit. Through economic development, education, public influence, and networking, VBSR strives to help 750+ members set a high standard for protecting the natural, human, and economic environments of the state’s residents, while remaining profitable. Learn more or join the cause at www.vbsr.org(link is external).Source: VBSR 12.15.2016
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Arts Council announced today that Executive Director Alex Aldrich will step down on April 14 after more than 20 years leading the nation’s only nonprofit state arts agency. The board of trustees has begun transition planning as part of the organization’s ongoing strategic planning process. They have hired an interim executive director, Teri Bordenave, who will oversee day-to-day activities as well as assist in a national search for a new executive director.“For many years, Alex has been at the center of arts funding and arts advocacy in Vermont,” said Bob Stannard, chair of the Vermont Arts Council board of trustees. “We will recognize his service at our annual meeting on June 5.” “Working to preserve and advance the arts in Vermont for the past two decades has been exhilarating – challenging at times – and, ultimately, deeply fulfilling.” said Aldrich. “At this point in my career, however, my focus needs to be on my family’s real estate business, and I look forward to the new opportunities this transition will bring.”The Vermont Arts Council envisions a state where everyone has access to the arts and creativity in their life, education, and community. Through its programs and services, the Council strives to increase public awareness of the positive role artists and arts organizations play in communities and to maximize opportunities for everyone to experience the arts. Since 1965, the Council has been the state’s primary provider of funding, advocacy, and information for the arts in Vermont.Source: www.vermontartscouncil.org(link is external). 3.22.2017
by Gabriel C Lajeunesse Columbus Day is observed on October 9. And while it may be true that Leif Erikson and the Vikings beat Columbus to the New World, Columbus Day nonetheless remains important in the public eye, signifying themes such as exploration and discovery. As an investor, you don’t have to “cross the ocean blue,” as Columbus did, to find opportunities – but it may be a good idea to put some of your money to work outside the United States.So, why should you consider investing internationally? The chief reason is diversification. If you only invest in U.S. companies, you might do well when the U.S. markets are soaring, as has happened in recent years. But when the inevitable downturn happens, and you’re totally concentrated in U.S. stocks, your portfolio will probably take a hit. At the same time, however, other regions of the world might be doing considerably better than the U.S. markets – and if you had put some of your investment holdings in these regions, you might at least blunt some of the effects of the down market here.Of course, it’s also a good idea to diversify among different asset classes, so, in addition to investing in U.S. and international stocks, you’ll want to own bonds, government securities and other investment vehicles. (Keep in mind, though, that while diversification can help reduce the effects of volatility, it can’t guarantee a profit or protect against loss.)International investments, like all investments, will fluctuate in value. But they also have other characteristics and risks to consider, such as these:Currency fluctuations – The U.S. dollar rises and falls in relation to the currencies of other countries. Sometimes, these movements can work in your favor, but sometimes not. A strengthening dollar typically lowers returns from international investments because companies based overseas do business in a foreign currency, and the higher value of the U.S. dollar reduces the prices, measured in dollars, of individual shares of these companies’ stocks. The opposite has happened in 2017, when the weaker dollar has helped increase returns from international investments.Political risks – When you invest internationally, you’re not just investing in foreign companies – you’re also essentially investing in the legal and economic systems of countries in which those companies do business. Political instability or changes in laws and regulations can create additional risks – but may also provide potentially positive returns for investors.Social and economic risks – It is not always easy for investors to understand all the economic and social factors that influence markets in the U.S. – and it’s even more challenging with foreign markets.U.S. markets are now worth less than half of the total world markets, and growth in the rest of the world is likely to keep expanding the number of global opportunities. You can take advantage of that global growth by putting part of your portfolio into international investments, including developed and emerging markets.In any case, given the more complex nature of international investing, you’ll want to consult with a financial professional before taking action. If it turns out that international investments are appropriate for your needs, you should certainly consider going global.About the author, Gabriel C. Lajeunesse:Gabriel C Lajeunesse specializes as a financial advisor with Edward Jones; believing that active portfolio management is the cornerstones of sound investing. Gabe served in the Air Force for 20 years, including service as an advisor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and membership on National Security Council Interagency Policy Committees at the White House, under Presidents Bush and Obama. Gabe earned his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 2008; he teaches International Law and Policy at Norwich University. He and his wife Kristen have three children and live in Montpelier.
Vermont Business Magazine Recently released data(link is external) shows that the rate of asthma-related hospitalizations in Vermont has decreased more than 30 percent in the past decade. State health officials say the declining rate indicates that the focus on improving Vermonters’ self-management for keeping asthma under control is working. More than 16 percent of Vermonters report having ever had asthma in their lifetime. In 2016, approximately 51,000 adults in Vermont – or nearly one in 10 – had current asthma. Among children, the rate of current asthma is 8 percent, or one in 12 Vermont children. Asthma is a chronic disease in which the lungs become inflamed and airways narrow, often in reaction to “triggers” such as tobacco smoke, air pollution, pollens, mold, mildew, dust and pet dander.Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD said the trend toward fewer hospitalizations is good news. “New England has higher rates of asthma than other parts of the country, and Vermont ranks third highest in asthma incidence rates,” explained Dr. Levine. “In a state where respiratory disease is the third leading cause of death, we are meeting this challenge with a number of long-term strategies, including our 3-4-50 chronic disease initiative(link is external). This new data is evidence that, by equipping providers, schools, patients and families with the tools and information they need to support better management of asthma, health and quality of life improve.”Dr. Levine noted that the health benefits of controlling asthma ripple beyond the personal to the economic. “By learning how to recognize and address asthma triggers while also using medications as prescribed, Vermonters are protecting themselves against bouts of uncontrolled asthma, missed days of school or work, and higher health bills. In Vermont, hospitalizations and emergency department visits for asthma exceed $8 million annually,” said Dr. Levine.The Health Department’s Asthma Program works in partnership with lung health experts, insurers, health care providers, hospitals and schools to improve asthma control practices and education. Efforts focus on providing asthma self-management education to individuals and communities. This includes the importance of having a personal Asthma Action Plan, the proper use of spacers and inhalers, and related actions like getting an annual flu shot. For people with asthma and their families, the department also supports in-home asthma education and efforts that reduce environmental triggers, such as helping people to quit smoking and avoid tobacco smoke, reducing mold, and using clean burning stoves.Go to http://www.healthvermont.gov/wellness/asthma(link is external) for information and data about asthma in Vermont and how to manage it, as well as about the impact of tobacco use on lung disease(link is external).For quit smoking help and resources, visit 802Quits.org(link is external).Source: Vermont Dept of Health healthvermont.gov(link is external)