Roper: False claims of falsity about Vermont’s business climate

By Rob Roper

In a recent “fact check” piece by Vermont Digger, the online news site nailed Gov. Phil Scott’s comment that Energizer Battery’s decision to shut down its Bennington facility was related to Vermont’s inhospitable business climate as bury-the-needle “FALSE.” Scott’s actual statement in question is:

This decision is an unfortunate example of why those of us in Montpelier need to work together to make Vermont a more affordable place to do business and make sure our policies help businesses thrive rather than creating unique burdens and barriers to growth that make us less competitive with other states.

Someone needs to fact check Digger, so here goes.

Public domain

ROPER: Our rating of VTDigger’s fact check rating: “Decidedly Odd.”

First, Scott did not actually say that Energizer left because of the bad business climate. He said the loss of the company was a warning that lawmakers need to do a better job of keeping and attracting businesses. It’s a juxtaposition, not a “direct connection” as Digger claims. It’s like when somebody dies prematurely and the eulogist says, “This is a reminder that life is fragile, and we all need to take better care of ourselves.” Just because everybody in the audience doesn’t suffer from the same condition as the deceased doesn’t mean the related observation isn’t accurate. The very premise of Digger’s “false” claim is false.

Digger says Scott’s claim, which he didn’t make, is false because there is no evidence that the company left because of Vermont’s bad business climate. Energizer has not outright stated that’s why they left and, “The company did not respond to questions from VTDigger about whether the state’s business climate contributed to its decision to leave the state.”

So, Digger has zero evidence that Vermont’s bad business climate wasn’t the reason Energizer left. It may very well be the reason the company left. Digger doesn’t know. This is exactly the same basis for Digger’s labeling Scott’s (non)statement as absolutely false — he had no evidence. Holding Digger to their own standard, their condemnation of falsity is equally false. A fair evaluation by the fact checker would be at best “inconclusive.”

But since Energizer announced its departure, Vermonters have learned that Global Foundries is laying off workers, as is, MyWebGrocer, and Social Sentinel. Like Energizer, they are consolidating their businesses elsewhere. Why is it we never hear of businesses closing factories or offices in other states and moving jobs to Vermont?

The Tax Foundation recently rated Vermont’s business climate as 44th in the nation, and CNBC rated us 40th. These ratings are not unique. Clearly, we have a problem. Scott was absolutely correct to point it out. Digger’s bending over backwards to discredit this reality is, our rating: Decidedly Odd.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain

14 thoughts on “Roper: False claims of falsity about Vermont’s business climate

  1. Digger has recently ‘partnered’ with Politifact which along with leftwing pal Snopes purport to be ‘factcheckers’. However as we have seen in our new media climate not only have ‘trusted’ news orgs been found to be not only untrustworthy but blatantly false and patently FOS – routine intellectual dishonesty damns them all and now occupy the province of mere propagandist purgatory. We can count all or vast majority of “news sources”, mainstream media leftwing pundits and bloggers as dwelling there also.

    Politifact is in fact part of this misinforming disinformationalist hell. Owned by The Poynter Institute for Media Studies and formerly Tampa Bay Times – described innocuously as a “non-profit school for journalism located in St. Petersburg, Florida”. However they are aligned with the likes of Washington Post and rest of MSM fetid rot and including Facebook which is a major donor and likely source of their news ‘reliability’ratings.
    Plus Politifact claims they are independent of Poynter which is coughing-fit horsesh*t afaic. Donor rules are murky – tho they say they will disclose donors of more than $1000 or those who contribute to over 5% of budget – this is laughable as all any donor needs to do is send multiples of less-than to glidewalk under the radar. And in the 5% crowd numbers two *slackjawed smirk*

    Poynter and it’s merry band of “factecheckers” is also an international tyranny of censorship thugs:
    Fake news blacklist:
    In 2019, Poynter used various “fake news” databases (including those curated by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, Merrimack College, PolitiFact, and Snopes) to compile a list of over 515 news websites that it labeled “unreliable.” Poynter called on advertisers to “blacklist” the sites on the list. The list included conservative news websites such as the

    ***Washington Examiner, The Washington Free Beacon, and The Daily Signal.***

    After backlash, Poynter retracted the list, citing “weaknesses in the methodology.”[9] Poynter issued a statement saying “We regret that we failed to ensure that the data was rigorous before publication, and apologize for the confusion and agitation caused by its publication.”[10]
    If it quacks like a duck much…Huh – all are conservative news publications including Daily Signal which TNR uses routinely? Oh my – no lefty websites or publications??? Tsk tsk!

    Mr Landen’s contributions:
    Oh my oh my…everything deeply dishonest pathological liar Bernie says is 100% right?

    • Poynter and tip-of-spear Politifact – including massive international team of ‘factcheckers’ – are clearly a might-makes-right globalist cabal of propagandists whose real goal as evidenced by the trying of their hand(s) at censoring hundreds of conservative news sources and detailed in above Wiki link.

      Thug-life members:
      Primarily bankrolled by the oh-so familiar ‘foundations’ of funders which are the real owners of the MSM and fatally flawed “news”sources – making it easy to connect the diabolical dots, btw donor “Open Society” owner is George Soros. Also includes “Largest custom training partners in 2018 or 2019” rogue-gallery list aka the usual suspects:
      Partners of which Mr Landen’s primary affiliations include, however quite sure he’s not alone here.

  2. Has anyone noticed that IBM, and many others leaving, have left Vermont, AND

    gone to higher taxed states like New York, which have more business friendly
    policies, and lower electric bills (huge expense in mfgs) which are NOT encumbered
    with silly progressive, do gooder, ‘environmental” mandates and geegaws.

    • The 10 highest income tax states for 2019 are:
      California 13.3%
      Hawaii 11%
      Oregon 9.9%
      Minnesota 9.85%
      Iowa 8.98%
      New Jersey 8.97%
      Vermont 8.95%
      District of Columbia 8.95%

      NY Sales taxes are Local and average 4.49%.

      Vermont’s state sales tax rate is 6%. Cities and/or municipalities of Vermont are allowed to collect their own additional tax that can be as much as 1% in city sales tax.

      U.S. states with the highest property taxes in 2018
      New York: $6,947.
      New Hampshire: $6,253.
      Massachusetts: $6,019.
      District of Columbia: $5,480.
      Rhode Island: $5,368.
      California: $5,354.
      Vermont: $5,331.
      Texas: $5,265.

      VT ranks 28th in household income.
      NY ranks 15th.

      Top ten States in Job Growth
      Nevada 3.3%
      Utah 3.3%
      Washington 3.0%
      Idaho 2.9%
      Texas 2.9%
      Arizona 2.8%
      Colorado 2.7%
      Florida 2.5%
      Oregon 2.4%
      Wyoming 2.2%

      Worst 10 States for Job Growth
      Illinois 0.9%
      Maryland 0.9%
      Maine 0.9%
      Louisiana 0.8%
      Arkansas 0.8%
      Kentucky 0.7%
      District of Columbia 0.6%
      North Dakota 0.2%
      Vermont -0.1%
      Alaska -0.5%

      • Overall averages indicate that NY is the highest taxed State, primarily because of the taxes in the NYC metro area offset the rest of the State.

        Vermont is the 4th highest taxed State and its tax burdens are relatively equal in distribution.

        • Utilities,hidden taxes and fees,freezing climate causing large heating needs,and just the overall logistics of moving product to market make Vermont a non-starter for business.
          It’s fine if you’re in the hospitality,skiing,or restaurateur, but if you’re in the business of making things forget it.I won’t even go into the tiny population of potential workforce,half of which are on opiates,the other half not having the skills enough to work and pay for child care.

          God help us if they ever crack down on our use of migrants on dairy farms.They aren’t going to collect Social Security,so why should they or the employer make the contributions? If we did,the farms would all be shuttered within the year.

      • Showing N H ‘s property tax as being one of the highest in the Nation needs a footnote.
        All property tax in NH stays at the local level, and is used locally.
        None goes to the state as happens in VT.

        Also, it is noted: No income tax, no sales tax, no capitol gains
        tax on investments in N H.

        The elitist pinheads in the VT Legislature can travel less than 100 miles and be in a state that is sensitive to taxes on people and business. What a concept!!!!!!!!

  3. There is some good news here, as even Digger readers are finally getting it. Consider my comment on the Digger story and the published responses.


    Business Friendliness Deniers.

    Re: “The only public statements Energizer has made on the decision indicate it is making the move because it would be more efficient for the company to produce the hearing aid batteries in one factory.”

    If the Vermont business climate was more amenable to Energizer than the Wisconsin business climate, isn’t it reasonable to expect that Energizer might have moved its operation to Vermont, instead of Wisconsin, to be more efficient?

    Here’s the evidence Digger. Energizer had a choice. It chose Wisconsin in which to ‘streamline production’ – because Vermont colleges are closing, student enrollments are declining, and Vermont’s workforce is flat and poorly trained. In other words, it’s more efficient to do business in Wisconsin because Vermont’s policies are economically regressive.

    132 Likes – 21 Dislikes 8 days ago


    The vast majority of Digger readers appear to be paying attention – finally. Perhaps there’s still hope for us.

  4. The business climate in VT is so bad, why would anyone / business would want to be here. Yup, tax & regulate them out. Socialism workings.

  5. Phil Scott is in the driver’s seat of state government.Why has he not taken the bull by the horns and done a thorough review of all the reasons why business is hobbled in this state? He has only been in office since 2017, which is plenty of time to have the answers at our fingertips. Had he been as eager to get this project up and running as he was with signing the gun issues bills, maybe people would have a different take on the Democrat’s best friend, than they do now. Just maybe.

  6. Xander Landen, the political reporter that wrote the Digger article in question cannot be compared to any reporter without bias. He has made his bones and living attached at the hip to liberal enterprises and leans that way in his work. It seems to me he decided which way the wind will blow in his article first and fashioned the words around it to conclude it’s outcome.
    You are absolutely right to challenge his conclusion as it was “Falsely Manufactured”.

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