Daily Archives: October 16, 2022

How About That, Team Scott is Actually Trying

Well, well. Somebody in the Phil Scott campaign has turned the spigot.

After sleepwalking its way through 2022, Team Scott got serious about fundraising in the first half of October. Before that, Scott’s fundraising had totaled $151,514, which is peanuts for a gubernatorial campaign. Then, in only two weeks, Scott raised $47,544 according to his latest finance filing (due on October 15).

That’s nearly one-quarter of his campaign total in only two weeks.

Is somebody hearing footsteps?

The flurry of activity meant that for the first time in three campaign finance cycles, Scott actually outraised his challenger, Brenda Siegel. She took in $16,613 in the first half of October for a campaign total of $163,342. That’s a solid pace for only 15 days. As usual, Siegel donors far outnumbered Scott’s. She’s received donations from 875 individuals and groups compared to Scott’s 545.

Neither candidate spent much money in the period. Siegel has more than $84,000 in the bank, which should allow her to finance a significant TV ad buy. Scott has $91,519 on hand, plus a nice $272,000 kitty left over from previous campaigns, so he’s got plenty to spend if he wants to.

Now, let’s take a closer look at who suddenly opened their wallets for the governor.

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Here’s One VEGI That’s Bad For You

State Auditor Doug Hoffer has issued a damning indictment of the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive, or VEGI for short. He has, in the past, pointed out the fundamental flaws in the program: the “but for” test at its foundation is impossible to prove and routinely ignored, employers who get these “job creation” grants often fail to actually create jobs, grantees sometimes cut operations or even leave the area despite getting the grants. And while the incentives are big money for the state, they’re peanuts for big employers and they really don’t incentivize anything.

We know that. What we didn’t know — or shall I say, I didn’t know — is that the program is run completely independently by an appointed board. There is no provision in state law for any oversight or review of granting decisions. You can’t take it to court, either. And that board often flouts its own standards. It’s the Wild West.

Funny, this is exactly why Gov. Phil Scott vetoes bill after bill — he decries decision-making by state entities without any legislative or executive review. One would think he’d be leading the charge for VEGI reform. But he’s not, because he’s just fine with giving bags of money to businesses with no strings attached.

Just imagine if a welfare program worked that way: a recipient claims a need but doesn’t have to provide evidence or seek employment. They just get the money.

That wouldn’t fly, would it now?

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