Vermont Pension Fund Committee Seeks Economically Targeted Investments

first_imgMONTPELIER, Vt.-Vermont State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding announced today that the Vermont Pension Investment Committee has issued a request for proposals soliciting investment opportunities intended to support economic and community development in Vermont. This is the second year that VPIC has requested such proposals, after adopting a policy on economically targeted investments in 2006. VPIC oversees more than $3 billion in retirement funds for Vermont teachers, state employees, and municipal employees.According to Spaulding, this initiative is unrelated to the recent debate in the Legislature regarding a proposal by Governor Jim Douglas to require that Vermont’s pension fund managers buy Vermont Housing Finance Agency bonds. The 2006 economically targeted investment policy passed by VPIC requires an annual request for proposals.”VPIC agreed a year and a half ago that, to the extent it can support economic and community development in Vermont without sacrificing investment performance, it makes sense to do so,” said Spaulding. “The proposal to require VPIC to buy the bonds, regardless of whether or not they thought it passed muster from an investment perspective, was rejected. However, I’m hopeful that the VHFA will submit a proposal. If the anticipated returns are appropriate, I am confident VPIC will seriously consider an investment in VHFA bonds.”Economically targeted investments are intended to generate market rate returns, while providing collateral benefits that enhance quality of life and promote economic activity in a targeted area in this case Vermont. Types of investment opportunities that may be appropriate for pension fund investments could include affordable housing, energy efficiency, venture capital, or timber.”VPIC trustees take seriously their responsibility to protect the retirement security of workers and retirees. In that regard, this initiative does not reduce their obligation. The economic or social benefits of a proposal will not justify lower returns or inappropriate levels of risk,” Spaulding explained. “We don’t want to limit the field of investment possibilities, and are hopeful that creative minds will look at our policy and submit innovative proposals that meet our criteria.”Last year, the Vermont Pension Investment Committee agreed to invest up to $2 million in Green Asset Partners, contingent upon certain conditions being met. Green Asset Partners proposes to provide an innovative real estate product which leverages conservation dollars and enhances land protection while striving to meet or exceed the annualized average return for private real assets.Proposals must be submitted to the State Treasurer’s Office by June 25, 2008, at 2 p.m. In order to be considered, proposals must, at a minimum:·Target risk-adjusted, market-rate returns equivalent to or higher than other available investments in a similar asset class;·Provide a substantial, direct, and measurable benefit to economic or community development within the State of Vermont; and·Be managed by an experienced and capable manager in an applicable asset class; no direct investments will be considered.Parties interested in receiving more information on the program should go to the State Treasurer’s web site at is external) or call (802) 828-5197.last_img read more

NFL mock draft 2020, Georgia edition: Projecting Jake Fromm, De’Andre Swift & other Bulldogs picks

first_img (Getty Images) Seven Georgia players were taken in the 2019 draft — the most in Smart’s tenure. This year, Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer is projecting the Bulldogs to surpass that mark with eight draftees, matching the program record (2002, 2013).Here are the Bulldogs players SN projects will be selected in the 2020 NFL Draft according to our seven-round mock draft.NFL DRAFT BIG BOARD: Ranking the top 100 prospects in 2020NFL mock draft 2020: Georgia’s projected picks Jake Fromm, QBProjected: Round 3, Pick No. 98 (Patriots)Fromm may not possess an elite arm like some of the quarterbacks projected to go ahead of him, but his intelligence, decision-making skills and leadership qualities still make him a solid option to fill the big shoes left by Tom Brady. He should fit nicely in Bill Belichick’s system and could give Jarrett Stidham competition for the Patriots’ starting job.J.R. Reed, SProjected: Round 4, Pick No. 145 (Eagles)Reed’s measurables aren’t the most impressive you’ll find among defensive backs, but what he lacks in explosiveness he makes up with a high football IQ and a great family pedigree. His father, Jake, was an NFL receiver with the Vikings and Saints, and his uncle, Dale Carter, was a long-time pro defensive back. The Eagles’ secondary was pretty poor last season, so Reed’s heady play could offer them a boost.Rodrigo Blankenship, KProjected: Round 5, Pick No. 172 (Patriots) The Patriots released veteran Stephen Gostkowski back in March, which means they’re still in need of a kicker. Who better to replace him than America’s sweetheart, Hot Rod? While Blankenship may be better known for his sexy goggles, his friendship with Quavo and his surprising ability to spit some pretty sick bars, he’s also a pretty darn good kicker. He made 80 of 97 (82.5 percent) field goal attempts for his career, including 27 of 33 (81.8 percent) in 2019, which earned him Lou Groza honors as the nation’s top placekicker. He hit a career-long 55-yarder in the 2018 College Football Playoff against Oklahoma, so he’s definitely got the range to kick in the NFL.Charlie Woerner, TEProjected: Round 7, Pick No. 254 (Broncos)Woerner wasn’t much of a pass-catcher in his four years at Georgia and isn’t particularly big for a blocking tight end at 6-5, 244 pounds. But what he lacks in size and skill, he makes up for with his aggressiveness. He’s willing to give that extra effort when it comes to isolation blocks. Those are the kinds of traits teams look for towards the end of the draft. Andrew Thomas, OTProjected: Round 1, Pick No. 14 (Buccaneers)The Buccaneers are looking for someone to line up at right tackle to replace free agent Demar Dotson, which makes Thomas a good fit. Thomas has good size at 6-5, 315 pounds and could help Tampa Bay open up the run game, which would help ease the transition for Tom Brady.De’Andre Swift, RBProjected: Round 1, Pick No. 26 (Dolphins)The Dolphins already have a physical back in Jordan Howard, but Swift has the potential to be a feature back with the ability to get the tough yards in between the tackles, break off big runs and even make an impact in the passing game. He, along with Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (Sporting News projects Miami will take him with the fifth overall pick) could forge a deadly duo for years to come if things go right.Isaiah Wilson, OTProjected: Round 2, Pick No. 64 (Seahawks)Seattle is due for an upgrade at right tackle, and while Wilson (6-6, 350) may not be the best pass blocker, his raw strength made him a dominant presence on the right edge at Georgia. He’ll fit right in with the Seahawks’ physical rushing attack.Solomon Kindley, GProjected: Round 3, Pick No. 73 (Jaguars)The Jaguars could use an improvement at right guard, and Kindley (6-3, 337) has the potential to do just that. He was a big part of a Bulldog rushing attack that posted 185.9 yards per game on the ground and will be the third Georgia lineman taken in this year’s draft. His physicality should make him an effective run-blocker, and his skill should allow him to develop into a solid interior pass-blocker. Georgia just keeps getting better under Kirby Smart.Last season the Bulldogs finished with a 12-2 record, falling just shy of reaching a second College Football Playoff appearance in Smart’s four seasons at the helm after losing the eventual national champion LSU in the SEC Championship. Georgia Athletics read more

Garbage collection still being delayed

first_imgWaste Management hopes to get garbage pick up back on schedule later this week. Over the past several weeks the cold weather has made it difficult to pick up garbage on the regularly scheduled days. Garbage pick up this week has been running like normal, but some residents may still not have garbage collected on their normal day. With the cold weather, collection has been delayed. If you have not had your garbage collected on your regular day, please continue to leave it by the curb as crews will be by to collect it once they have cleared the backlog. – Advertisement -Temperatures are expected to rise this weekend which should help Waste Management get things back on schedule.last_img read more

Four Challenges for Congress from Retiring US Senator Tom Harkin

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares a katz / Shutterstock.comDecember 12, 2014;Office of Senator Tom HarkinThis is part of the text of Iowa Senator Tom Harkin’s final speech from the floor of the U.S. Senate. NPQ doesn’t often draw on press releases or reprint speeches, but in this case, given Harkin’s 40 years in Congress, Harkin’s beautiful and moving statement is worth a detailed read. It’s about a man’s faith in the institutions of American democracy and his appreciation of what this country has given to him and his family, particularly his mother, who came to the U.S. after 25 years living in a small house with a dirt floor and no running water in Suha, Yugoslavia (now Slovenia), and his father who, at the age of 53, with only a sixth-grade education and five children (with Tom Harkin himself on the way as the sixth), received a WPA card in 1939, giving him a job, income, meaningful work, and hope for a better future.Just as moving were Harkin’s four challenges for his successors, four overriding issues that he thinks need to be addressed for this country to progress—and to rectify longstanding injustices. Because all four of Harkin’s concerns have been addressed extensively in NPQ’s writing, we are reprinting excerpts from his speech here:“There are four overriding issues that I hope this Senate will address in the coming session. Number one, as I mentioned, the growing economic inequality in America. It is destructive of lives, it slows our progress as a nation, and it will doom broad support for representative government. When people at the bottom of the economic ladder feel the government is not helping them and in fact may be stacked against them, they will cease to vote, or will turn to the siren song of extreme elements in our society. History proves this to be true.“I don’t have a cookie-cutter answer or solution, but it must include more fair tax laws and trade laws, more job training and retraining, rebuilding our physical infrastructure, and manufacturing. And I believe it must include some things, seemingly unrelated, like quality, free, early education for every child in America.“The answer to closing the inequality gap must include rebuilding labor unions and collective bargaining. If you trace the line over the last 40 years of our growing economic inequality and put that over another line showing the loss in the number of union workers, they are almost identical. I do not believe it is a stretch to say that organized labor, unions, built the middle class in America, and they are a part of the answer in strengthening and rebuilding our middle class. “Another part of the answer is raising the minimum wage to above the poverty line and inflation indexing it for the future. We also need new flex-time laws especially for women in the workforce. We need to strengthen Social Security as in Senator Brown’s bill. We need a new retirement system for all workers. Not another 401(k), but a system in which employers and employees contribute, which can only be withdrawn as an annuity for life after one retires, like the Netherlands has. Lack of a reliable retirement is one of the most under reported, unexamined crises on our national horizon, and is a big part of our growing inequality. “Finally, we must continue to build on the Affordable Care Act. The cost and availability of good health care has in the past widened the inequality gap. We are now starting to close that element of inequality. We need to add a public option to the exchange as another choice for people. And we must continue support for prevention and public health—moving us more and more away from ‘sick care’ to real ‘health care.’“The second overriding issue is the destruction of the family of man’s only home—planet Earth—through the continued use of fossil fuels. We know what’s happening. The science is irrefutable, the data is clear, the warning signs are flashing in bright neon red: ‘stop what you are doing with fossil fuels.’ We must shift massively and quickly to renewable energy, a new smart electric grid, retrofitting our buildings for energy efficiency, and moving rapidly to a hydrogen-based energy cycle.The third issue I commend to the Senate for further development and changes in existing laws is the under employment of people with disabilities. “As you all know, ensuring equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities has been the major part of my work in the Senate for the past 30 years. We have made significant strides forward in changing America to fulfill two of the four goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act. These two are full participation and equal opportunity.“The other two goals—independent living and economic self-sufficiency—need more development. I ask you all in the next Congress to do two things to advance these two goals of independent living and economic self-sufficiency.“First, help states to fully implement the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision, to more rapidly de-institutionalize people with disabilities and provide true independent living with support services. This will save money, and individuals with disabilities lives will be better and more truly independent. “Secondly, we must do more on employment of people with disabilities in competitive, integrated employment.“We get the monthly unemployment figures. Last month unemployment held steady at 5.8 percent officially, but Leo Hindery has better calculations to show the real rate is twice that figure. Also, we know that unemployment among young African-Americans is 11.1 percent. “But how many of us know that the unemployment rate among adult Americans with disabilities who want to work and can work is over 60 percent?! Yes, you heard me right: almost two out of three people with disabilities cannot find a job. That is a blot on our national character.“Thankfully, some enlightened employers have affirmative action plans to hire more people with disabilities. Employers are finding that many times these become their best employees—they are more productive, the hardest working, most reliable workers.“I ask you to meet with Greg Wasson, CEO of Walgreens, and Randy Lewis, who was Senior V.P., now retired. Walgreens has hired many people with disabilities in Walgreens’ distribution centers, and now has set a goal of 10% of their store employees will be people with disabilities. There are others making strides in this area: Best Buy, Lowes, Home Depot, IBM, and Marriott—to mention some other large companies moving forward in hiring people with disabilities. We need to learn from them what we—the federal and perhaps state government—can do to help in this area. We also need to implement policies to help small businesses employ more people with disabilities.“I dwell on this because perhaps I feel I haven’t done enough on this issue of employment for people with disabilities, and we just have to do better. I will say, however, that our HELP Committee passed this year and President Obama signed into law, a new re-authorization of the old Workforce Investment Act, now named the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act. In the law, there is a new provision I worked on to get more intervention in high school for kids with disabilities to prepare for the workplace through summer jobs, job coaching, and internships…“The fourth issue concerns the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.“I don’t think anything has saddened me more in my 30 years here than the failure of the Senate to ratify the CRPD. This convention was modeled after our own Americans with Disabilities Act. It has been ratified by 150 nations. It has broad and deep support in our country, supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, veterans groups, every disability organization, every former living President, every former Republican leader of the Senate: Senator Dole, Senator Lott, and Senator Frist. In November, we received a letter of support from the National Association of Evangelicals. I also want to point out that Senator Dole has worked his heart out on this. I hope the next Senate will take this up and join with the rest of the world in helping make changes globally for people with disabilities.”Speeches by American politicians—no offense—are generally staff-written PR statements, lacking the authentic voice of the politicians themselves. Harkin’s final speech feels like a heartfelt statement of a great statesman whose top priorities were core issues for much of the nonprofit sector.—Rick Cohen ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more