Corrected Story: “The Legislature doesn’t understand the reality of running a business”

June 11, 2020

by Rob Roper

Correction: The Mad River Barn contacted us and asked us to make clear that they are not closing. One partner in the business is leaving for Florida, but the other is trying to restructure the business to keep it going in this difficult health and legislative environment. We apologize for the error.

A sad story in the Valley Reporter tells of the closure of an iconic local business tells of the difficult challenges forcing major changes at an iconic local business, The Mad River Barn in Fayston, and one owner’s intention to leave Vermont for more business friendly Florida. While the COVID-19 economic shutdown was the last straw for the inn/restaurant/wedding venue, it was not the only straw.

As the Valley Reporter states regarding owners Heather Brown and Andy Lynds:  

Brown said that the impact of the political climate in Vermont on their ability to run a successful business was significant. She cited a minimum wage law that increased front-of-the-house hourly wages by 50 percent which means that front-of-the-house workers (receiving tips) are earning an average of $49 an hour which can’t be shared with back-of-the-house employees.

“That’s one reason why Vermont has not turned out to be a good place for us. The Legislature doesn’t understand the reality of running a business and thinks that business is bad and that business owners are bad,” she said.

“Those kinds of things should be considered in policies and they’re not, which have catastrophic downstream conditions.”

Yes, these things should be considered, and no they are not. Instead, rather than exploring ways to help businesses such as the Mad River Barn succeed, our legislators are now working on a bill make it illegal for them to provide their guests with shampoo, conditioner, etc. in mini-plastic bottles. So, you can understand why business owners are becoming increasingly disillusioned with Vermont.

If we want our state to successfully emerge from this COVID-19 recession, the priorities of the legislature as well as its overall attitude will need to change.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Winford Small June 11, 2020 at 7:00 pm

It is my opinion that they don’t want us to recover. They want the little guys driven out, the big fish will consolidate what they want and too bad for others. Those are the guys that donate to the campaigns. They also want a populace dependent upon and thus beholden to the government. They will keep chipping away at the freedoms in the name of the good for all and they will keep chipping away at our pocketbooks until we need help from them or decide to leave. Either way they have the power and whats left is beholden to them. They will rule like the petty dictators they behave like already to a lesser extent. Wait until the opposition is all gone….


H. Brooke Paige June 11, 2020 at 10:39 pm

The lack of compassion or comprehension for what it takes to operate a small business. The snowflakes who occupy the golden dome have little to no real-life business experience. Sitting home waiting for their next investment portfolio report to arrive is not how the everyday citizens earn their keiep !

It is sad to see these hardworking souls surrender to the stupidity that passes for governance in the Green Mountains. One by one the small businesses that define the Vermont economy succumb until remain. Their demise insures that Vermont’s economy will wither and with it the source of Vermont’s revenue – leading to bankruptcy !

The State government is already morally bankrupt – I guess it is fitting that its financial condition should meet the same fate !

God Bless You, Heather Brown and Andy Lynds, I pray that you find a friendlier venue that will allow your business to take root and flourish,

H. Brooke Paige
Washington Vermont


Ivan st george June 12, 2020 at 3:32 pm

any government big enough to dilute and cancel out the power of one man one vote by allowing ballot harvesting fraud is also powerful enough to destroy the power of the private sector golden goose and freedom of dissent/speech.
It is no longer acceptable to sit on our heels and let these calculated ,ruthless ideologues
run roughshod over us, from top to bottom we must pushback the best way we know how


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