Paco DeFrancis | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Paco DeFrancis 
Member since May 4, 2016

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Vermont

Updated on January 6, 2017 at 11:59 AM

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Recent Comments

Re: “Governing by Numbers: Is Scott's 'Six-Three-One' Slogan Good Public Policy?

Wow, once again Doug Hoffer makes excuses for labor force decline and tries to downplay its significance.

Total employment and the count of jobs that meet U-3 criteria are entirely irrelevant in this discussion and not part of the 6-3-1 slogan.

To have a thriving economy we need a skilled and burgeoning labor force. Job growth will occur organically once we have a healthy labor force; that's why the focus needs to be on labor force, not jobs.

It doesn't matter if the decline is a function of working-age residents fleeing to low-tax red states like New Hampshire and Florida or if its a function of baby boomers aging out. What matters is identifying the problem then working together to find a policy solution. And the problem that threatens Vermont's long term fiscal and economic health is labor force decline. Continuously mentioning "improvements" in the U-3 unemployment rate diminishes the importance of our actual problem.

13 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 06/08/2017 at 10:38 AM

Re: “Vermont Manufacturers Provide On-Site English Classes

It's great these employers are finding that "Diversity is our strength." However, I find differences in compensation of ESL vs non-ESL employees at these firms troubling.

Offering foreign-born employees overtime opportunities so that they can learn English but not offering similar opportunities for overtime to native employees because they already speak English is surely a discriminatory labor practice. By all indications in this article employees are selected for this program solely because they're new Americans that don't speak English; not because they possess personal attributes or intellectual qualities that warrant preferential treatment by their employer.

Perhaps there are some caveats not mentioned in this article regarding overtime opportunities, or perhaps the non-ESL employees are offered similar levels of overtime on the factory floor to provide the same monetary benefit.

However, given what was stated in this article, the English-speaking workers have every right to be "disgruntled." Offering a group of employees overtime solely because of their ethnicity could absolutely violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

5 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 06/07/2017 at 2:11 PM

Re: “As Scott Threatens Veto, Vermont Budget Faces Uncertain Future

I think it's time to point out VT currently spends $28k per pupil (actual pupils, not BS "equalized" pupils the state uses, which greatly inflates the denominator).

Higher spending doesn't equate to better outcomes. That's been proven. A case study is Massachusetts, which spends $11k LESS per pupil than we do, yet has better education outcomes for K-12.

Inconvenient truth is k-12 expenditure out of control. Part of the blame rests on the Brigham decision and Act 60, part of the blame rests on the legislatures obsession with preserving "local control" and tiny school districts. Blame can also be placed on the states "incomes sensitivitized" property tax structure where many VTers (>50%) are not fully held accountable to the passage of their school budgets, as their property taxes are deeply discounted. Most notably however, the NEA's reckless greed is creating a roadblock to reforms that will both provide better outcomes and lower aggregate k-12 expenditure. They have become the chief driver of our affordability crisis.

Citation (data from national NEA): http://www.vermontbiz.com/news/april/vermo…

22 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 05/18/2017 at 11:43 PM

Re: “Burlington's Brickwork Art Studios to Be Closed

Congratulations to Mr. Jacobs for his recent purchase of this property. I wish him the best in his endeavors. Hopefully the DRB/BTVCC will stay out of the way and let Mr. Jacobs find the most market-efficient use of this space. Whether that's apartments, tech offices or a drug treatment center we should let the market run it's course. Low-rent "artist" studios provide very little benefit to Burlington and generate very little economic activity that can be captured via income and sales/use taxes. Letting the market decide will provide the biggest benefit to Burlingtonians.

As for the artists? There's plenty of vacant warehouse/factory space in many of Vermont's formerly industrial towns (think Barre, Springfield, St. J, etc). Hopefully the artists can move into these cities, make use of vacant real estate, and can ultimately spur the same revitalization and creative renaissance they have in the South End.

Not everyone can live in Burlington. Let's let market demand/supply more efficiently allocate real estate assets. No reason to subsidize artists through regulations/zoning when there's space for them in Barre, Rutland, etc.

16 likes, 47 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 04/30/2017 at 9:37 PM

Re: “Vermont House Panel Backs Paid Family Leave

Auditor Hoffer,

We are not talking about U-3 employment. We're talking about the labor force decline of ~360,000 to less than 345,000 that occurred under Shumlin's governorship. I find that statistic you mentioned misleading as you're referring to jobs under the U-3 employment definition, but might not meet U-6 criteria (under employed workers willing to work more hours but unable to find full-time employment).

Your comment is another illustration of progs and dems unwilling to acknowledge the poor economic results realized under their leadership, and continuing to revert to "job growth" talking points. Concern is not the number of low-wage foodservice jobs, but the decline in our state's skilled labor force.

Regardless, this bill is nothing more than a disastrous insurance mandate. Without 0.93% payroll tax, Vermonters can actually afford to build up their own rainy-day fund and take leave in such situations.

2 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 03/21/2017 at 2:58 PM

Re: “Spacious New Digs for Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea

How did this place possibly get an Act 250 permit? Traffic on Rt 100 between Stowe and Waterbury is already horrendous.

The legislature needs to audit Washington County's Act 250 commission. Growth should occur closer to the interstate where there's less impact on traffic and environment. Vail buying the ski operations, businesses like this expanding on Rt 100, and the continued growth of Stowe as a 4-season tourist destination will only provide fuel to further environmental and traffic problems plaguing the corridor.

Growth is great. But growth's gotta occur closer to the interstate and our village centers where there's existing infrastructure to accommodate additional traffic. Expanding Rt 100 to four lanes is too expensive.

1 like, 4 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 03/20/2017 at 12:16 PM

Re: “In Burlington, Upward Growth or 'Vertical Sprawl'?

The CLC and other members of the opposition should listen to Director David White. Time and time again they have said "there are ample parking lots in downtown and the Hill Section where in-fill development can create 270+ apts." If it was financially viable to build apartment complexes on parking lots, developers would show interest in that. Between inclusionary zoning and the parking requirements it is unfeasible to develop these sites.

We can have IZ and parking requirements, or we can have small, in-fill development on parking lots and single-story retail, etc. We will not see development under current regs until market-rate rents reach the levels of Boston and SF.

Also, yes, becoming a "mini Boston or NYC" is exactly the direction we should move in as a city.

9 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 02/26/2017 at 4:12 PM

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