Saving and Creating Good-Paying Jobs in Montana
Montana's energy, technology, research, construction and natural resource industries have the most to gain from the Jobs Bill, and we are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that exist for these industries. Our state still has some of the lowest unemployment numbers in the country, and was recently ranked as one of the top environments for business by Facilities Magazine. But this is no time to sit back and relax. We need to stabilize the national economy, improve the competitiveness of Montana businesses, and preserve and create as many Montana jobs as possible.
That is why I included provisions in the Jobs Bill to increase infrastructure and energy-related construction, tax breaks for small businesses, and provisions to improve access to credit. This package cut taxes for everyone who makes less than $75,000 a year, and provide a tax break for new home buyers. It also has provisions to help those who lose their jobs, along with investment spending to stimulate the economy and spur growth.
Montana's Economic Development Summits
The only way to improve Montana's national economic rankings is by working together. That's why I've held four statewide Montana Economic Development Summits. The 2007 summit in Butte attracted 2500 people, and I am very proud to report that it has already led to two important developments. First, GE announced development of a facility in Billings that will create 150 new good-paying jobs. Second, LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals of Bozeman met investors at the Butte summit, and in March finalized an agreement that will mean an additional $28 million in funding for vaccine development.
Our fifth, and most recent statewide Montana Economic Development Summit was also a big hit in Butte in 2010. The event opened up new doors for Montana businesses and Montana business leaders of the future. A few highlights include:
- Legendary investor Warren Buffett, who attended the summit via satellite, invited University of Montana MBA students to spend a day of intensive learning at his headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.
- Butte-based SeaCast manufacturing landed a deal to build high tech jet engine parts for GE Aviation.
- Montana Community Development Corporation helped the state become the first rural area to be a part of Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Business Initiative thus paving the way to $4 million in new capital for Montana small businesses.
Our Montana Economic Development Summits have delivered real Montana solutions for good-paying jobs--that's why we're planning another one. Please keep an eye out for future developments.
Educating Montana's Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
A strong elementary and secondary education system with partnerships throughout the community, particularly with the private sector, is a cornerstone of a healthy economy. That's why I'm working to build a stronger bridge between Montana's private sector and our schools and universities. As Alan Greenspan once said, "We will be successful only to the extent that we cultivate, develop, and wisely deploy our intellectual capital. Education is everything." Building understanding and cooperation between the businesses that create Montana's jobs and the schools that prepare Montanans for them is an important task that I don't take lightly. That's why I introduced a bill to improve incentives for businesses to partner with local schools and universities. My bill also provides funding for business training and development. I'm committed to working with my colleagues to pass this bill and improve our public/private partnerships.