Friday November 16, 2012

GE Healthcare outpost lays off 10 percent

BURLINGTON (AP) -- GE Healthcare is laying off about 10 percent of its approximately 500 employees at its Vermont operation in South Burlington.

But the company says it will try to find "alternate roles" for the workers.

GE Healthcare spokesman Benjamin Fox says the company needed to "make tough decisions in the current business climate."

Fox wouldn’t say how many workers 10 percent represented, but the company reportedly had 527 workers last January.

GE Healthcare specializes in information technology for the health care industry

Vermont Deputy Commerce Secretary Patricia Moulton Powden says the loss of jobs is tragic, but there are other high-tech companies in the area looking for talented employees.

Shumlin spent $320K to win re-election

MONTPELIER (AP) -- New campaign finance reports show that Vermont Republican gubernatorial challenger Randy Brock spent more than $806,000 in his unsuccessful attempt to unseat Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin.

In campaign finance reports filed Thursday, Brock said he spent $806,647, which included a $300,000 loan he made to his campaign.

Shumlin’s finance report says he spent $320,761 and he still has $932,975 on hand.

Thursday was a deadline for candidates to file their post-election campaign finance reports with the Secretary of State’s office.

The Vermonters First political action committee spent $952,435 to support conservative candidates. Most of the statewide candidates supported by the PAC lost their elections.

N.H. HHS releasing report on Medicaid expansion

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire could save up to $114 million if it decides not to expand Medicaid under the new federal health care law, but it would lose $2.5 billion in federal aid toward health care for the state’s uninsured.

The state Health and Human Services Department released part one of a study on the impact of expanding Medicaid Thursday. The report offers preliminary estimates of what the state might save if it decides not to expand the program as well as estimates of what it would cost.

If New Hampshire expands Medicaid, it could cost an estimated $85 million over seven years. But New Hampshire’s health care providers would share in the $2.5 billion flowing into the state from the federal government.

Lynch seeks major disaster declaration

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Gov. John Lynch is asking President Barack Obama to declare a major disaster status for the state of New Hampshire as a result of Superstorm Sandy.

In a letter Thursday, Lynch says that so far, the total county and state damages due to last month’s storm exceed $3.6 million. He’s asking for federal funding in a variety of categories for the five hardest hit counties -- Belknap, Carroll, Coos, Grafton and Sullivan -- and lesser funding for the additional five counties.

Though New Hampshire was spared the devastation seen in other states, the storm resulted in the fourth largest power outage in state history and the closing of numerous roads due to flooding, debris and downed power lines and poles.

Damage from storm at $360M so far in Conn.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A spokesman for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says the cost of damage to Connecticut businesses, homes and governments by Superstorm Sandy is $360 million and climbing.

Andrew Doba said Thursday that the bulk of the damage involves private insurance claims. The figure also includes claims to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Earlier this week, FEMA reported that more than 7,270 property owners in the state have applied for assistance, including 6,000 along the shoreline. About $4 million in federal funding has been awarded to residents affected by the storm, mostly for temporary housing costs.

Officials say applications for assistance are growing and there’s damage in all eight counties in the state.

Doba says Connecticut suffered more than $1 billion in damage combined from Sandy, Irene last year and an October 2011 storm.

Malloy says Conn. faces ‘painful choices’

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says some "painful choices" and spending cuts will be needed to help cover Connecticut’s projected $365 million budget deficit.

Malloy stressed Thursday that the state is in better financial shape than two years ago, when Connecticut faced a $3.6 billion deficit.

Malloy made his remarks during a meeting of state agency heads.

He warned that the projected deficit for the fiscal year ending June 30 will fluctuate. But he pledged to end the year with a balanced budget without raising taxes.

The Democrat plans to release a deficit-cutting plan in the coming weeks.

Also Thursday, Malloy’s budget director, Benjamin Barnes, announced that the new fiscal year that begins July 1 has a projected shortfall of nearly $1.2 billion. Malloy isn’t scheduled to present a new two-year budget until February.