Category: Montana Economy


Copper Branch permanently closes its Portland, Maine location

November 24, 2022

Montana Economy

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Less than three years after its official opening in Portland’s Old Port, vegan chain Copper Branch seems to be leaving town rather quietly. Despite their Google listing saying the restaurant is only temporarily closed, a “for rent” sign was placed in the window of 0 Canal Plaza, which probably means the end has come.

Loopnet.com (0 Canal Plaza, Portland, ME)

Loopnet.com (0 Canal Plaza, Portland, ME)

If this is the end of Copper Branch in Portland, it would be a strange turn of events. The Canadian restaurant was the fastest growing plant-based fast food chain in North America before the pandemic. The Copper Branch opening in Portland was only their third restaurant in the United States and was considered a marquee location for the company.

Loopnet.com (0 Canal Plaza, Portland, ME)

Loopnet.com (0 Canal Plaza, Portland, ME)

But as many other restaurants in the Portland area where Copper Branch is located can attest, the pandemic and post-pandemic food crowds have been different. The same lunch throngs that thronged many restaurants every workday just aren’t there anymore. The same goes for a smaller but still significant breakfast crowd. Many restaurants depended on constant lunchtime activity to stay afloat.

Loopnet.com (0 Canal Plaza, Portland, ME)

Loopnet.com (0 Canal Plaza, Portland, ME)

When Copper Branch opened in December 2019, vegan options throughout Portland were available but scarce. Less than three years later, many restaurants in the city are offering vegan and vegetarian options on their menu, with some restaurants even offering a dedicated vegan menu.

The space left at Canal Plaza will be unique. The smaller square footage could be ideal for a cafe, ice cream shop, or other fast-casual restaurant.


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Montana’s outdoor recreation sector grew 18% in 2021

November 18, 2022

Montana Economy

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The importance of Montana’s outdoor recreation industry has been black-and-white validated as a cornerstone of the state’s economy in 2021, according to an impact report released by the U.S. Bureau of Analysis economy (BEA) last week. Outdoor recreation accounted for 4.4% of Montana’s gross domestic product (GDP) last year, up 0.1% from 2020 and the second highest percentage of any state, behind Hawaii in 4.8%.

Montana is also among the states with the highest percentage of workers employed in the industry, 5.4%, accounting for 27,584 jobs. Hawaii again leads this category with 7.1% of the industry’s workforce, followed by Alaska with 5.6%. Montana and Wyoming are tied for fourth. Montana added 1,584 outdoor recreation jobs in 2021.

Given the outsized impact of the multi-year pandemic on the outdoor industry – the US Census Bureau ranked it the second most affected industry behind the restaurant and lodging sector – the BEA 2021 report shows a remarkable rebound from the previous year, even as the pandemic continued to affect business operations and the use of public lands.

Montana’s $2.6 billion outdoor recreation industry topped its 2019 figure, while the national figure of $453.9 billion was only $6 billion lower than in 2019 and reported an 18.9% increase from 2020.

This was the fifth publication of BEA’s impact study on the outdoor recreation industry following the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act, enacted by the President Barack Obama in 2016, which broadened the analysis of the federal government.

“This data has been a powerful advocacy tool at the state and national levels, making it easier for policy makers to understand the economic impact of the outdoor recreation industry across the country and in their own districts and state,” Hannah Wintucky, Government Affairs Policy Fellow with the Outdoor Industry Association, said in a press release. “These numbers help us tell our compelling and credible economic story.”

The Outdoor Industry Association, a non-profit organization that promotes access to the outdoors in the United States, reports that the number of outdoor participants has increased by 26% since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Within the leisure industry, the report classifies activities into three general categories: conventional activities (including activities such as bicycling, boating, hiking and hunting); other main activities (such as gardening and outdoor concerts); and supporting activities (such as construction, travel and tourism, local travel, and government expenditure).

In conventional activities, the following indicators stood out in 2021:

Boating/fishing remained the largest conventional business in the nation with an added value of $27.3 billion in current dollars and was the largest conventional business in 27 states and the District of Columbia. Montana saw boating and fishing decrease by more than 10%, but the activity still leads the state at $163.1 million.

VR was the second largest conventional activity nationally with a current dollar value added of $25.1 billion, and ranked the same in Montana, where it contributed $160.4 million, an increase 14.5% year-over-year. It was the largest conventional activity in 15 states.

Hunting/shooting/trapping was the third-largest conventional business in the nation with current dollar value added of $10.8 billion, and in Montana where its $85 million contribution to the sector was a 17.3% increase from 2020.

Snow activities for Montana grossed $54.7 million, ranking the state 19th in the nation for overall value added. The largest contributors were Colorado ($1.3 billion), Utah ($519.4 million) and California ($505.7 million).

Republicans seem to understand that their anti-abortion agenda is unpopular

November 15, 2022

Montana Economy

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Despite access to public polls for months that showed the majority of Americans did not support the fall of Roe v. Wade, the republican party finally seems to be imposing itself. All it took was for Democrats to maintain control of the Senate, win a series of key gubernatorial contests and avoid a major rout in the House, where Republicans are only poised to win a slight majority. As the dust settles following the mid-term reviews, one thing is clear: it is not only the economy, stupid.

Much blame has been thrown since the predicted “red wave” turned out to be more of a ripple. One of those targets is, unsurprisingly, the former president Donald Trump, whose hand-picked candidates largely turned out to be duds and could have cost the Republican Party the Senate and several governor’s mansions. In the words of the financier Ken Griffin, who was one of the GOP’s biggest donors this cycle, Trump is a “three-time loser.” But Republicans have also begun to recognize abortion as a motivator for voters.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney Told HuffPost, “I think abortion was a much bigger issue against us than we anticipated.” North Carolina Senator Thomas Tillis echoes the sentiment. “Dobbs impacted suburban voting,” he said, referring to the Supreme Court ruling, which gutted federal abortion protections. Likewise, the senator Pat Toomey acknowledged that his party groped their message in the post-deer countryside. “Republicans have been slow to find their footing, and I’m not sure all Republicans ever have,” he told Politico.

Early numbers show Democrats enjoying strong turnout from young voters in swing states; according to NBC News exit polls, 63% of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 voted for the Democrats, compared to just 35% who voted for the Republican candidates. Among Democratic voters, a staggering 76% said abortion was their number one issue heading into the polls.

As I reported, the salience of abortion was not only apparent in major Senate and House races, but in a range of ballot measures. Vermont and Michigan have voted to enshrine the right to abortion in their state constitutions. Californians went further by passing an election measure that would also protect the right to contraceptives. Access to abortion has even proven popular in red states; voters in Montana and Kentucky overwhelmingly voted against measures to erode reproductive rights. A similar campaign move to restrict abortion rights failed resoundingly in Kansas — in a primary election, nonetheless. Still, Marilyn Musgrave, the vice president of government affairs for the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, recently indicated that she thinks Republicans should have pushed their anti-abortion measure Stronger. “Republicans were talking about inflation and crime and not really fighting back” against Democratic pro-abortion messaging, she told Politico.

While Democrats have performed better than expected this cycle, without Republican support they will be unable to codify the protections once provided by Roe vs. Wade at the federal level, a reality Joe Biden recognised. “I don’t think they can expect much else that we’re going to stand our ground,” the president said Monday when asked at a press conference what Americans can expect from Congress. concerning the right to abortion.

Nevada Democratic Rep. Susie Lee wins re-election to U.S. House

November 12, 2022

Montana Economy

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Democratic Rep. Susie Lee won re-election in Nevada’s 3rd congressional district, beating her opponent, Republican April Becker, to one of the House’s most competitive seats this cycle.

Lee’s seat was considered vulnerable after Nevada’s Democratic-led state legislature redrew the district last year, adding more Republican voters.

Lee raised a record amount of money, over $5 million, and far surpassed Becker. The race has also attracted funding from outside groups and has become one of Very expensive Home races in the country.

Lee spent most of the campaign attacking Becker’s stance on abortion, and Becker retaliated by aligning Lee with President Biden and his record on the economy. She also sued Lee when a Mother Jones The report says Lee could benefit financially from the legislation she drafted.

In the final stretch of the campaign, Democrats sent former President Barack Obama to Las Vegas to rally voters, where he criticized Republicans for giving tax breaks to the wealthy.

Lee was first elected to Congress in 2018 to replace Representative Jacky Rosen, who won her Senate race that year.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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These schools can help you break into the outdoor industry

November 9, 2022

Montana Economy

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Thinking of entering the booming outdoor recreation industry? If you’re a student (or working on a career change), there’s no better time to get started. A growing number of universities across the United States are now offering programs for future workers in the adventure industry, with the goal of better equipping the gear of tomorrow. manufacturers, retailers and business owners to succeed. Last school to join the list: the University of Denver.

DU’s new Leadership in Outdoor Recreation Industry program offers two postgraduate certificates, one in Outdoor Recreation Industry Business (ORIB) and the other in Outdoor Recreation Industry Leadership (ORIL). The ORIB certificate focuses on core business skills such as accounting, finance, and marketing, and is aimed at recent graduates with no or limited business experience. The more advanced ORIL is designed for middle managers who already have some business acumen (outdoors or elsewhere). Courses for ORIL involve more advanced topics, such as financial models, supply chain challenges, human resources, and growth management.

Both programs start in the spring, and virtual attendance is an option for those who don’t live in the Mile High City.

“We are creating specialized, easy-to-access programs that will prepare students for outdoor industry jobs that are available now and future careers that will change the field,” said UD Chancellor Jeremy Haefner.

The new program is funded in part by a $3 million grant from the VF Foundation, the charitable arm of Denver-based VF Corporation, parent company of The North Face and Smartwool.

“Denver is an important center for the outdoor industry, making DU the ideal location for such a program,” said Steve Rendle, CEO of VF Corporation and Chairman of the Board of the VF Foundation. “Through the Foundation’s targeted support of scholarships for underrepresented people, combined with DU’s extensive offering of courses relevant to business and industry, we hope to inspire the next generation of diverse leadership in the outdoor industry.”

With the outdoor economy driving $374 billion in annual consumer spending in the United States, it’s no surprise that academic offerings like this are popping up at colleges and universities nationwide. Below is a list of other notable programs aimed at getting people outdoors.

Arkansas

Want to start your own outdoor business? The University of ArkansasThe Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program (GORP) helps would-be entrepreneurs understand the nuances of starting a business through workshops, mentorships, classes, and training at the university’s new Greenhouse Business Incubator in Bentonville, a destination with a growing outdoor reputation. Content is designed for the unique challenges of operating outdoor businesses and carrying out equipment concepts, and most consulting and networking services are free. Already have an outdoor business? GORP’s 12-week cohort program also helps owners expand their concepts through workshops, networking, and fundraising throughout the year.

Arizona

Prescott College has two degree programs for those who want to make a living teaching, but want to do it outside. The Adventure Education program offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in outdoor education with courses in program administration and leadership, wilderness therapy, and more.

Colorado

Do you dream of becoming a mountaineering guide or ski area operator? The Adventure Education major at Fort Lewis College helps undergraduate students become wilderness therapists, guides, experiential educators, and public land workers. After completing 33 credit hours in math, history, and science, students complete the 57-hour degree with courses like Wilderness Expedition, Foundations of Adventure Education, Wilderness First Responder, and Teaching Methods for Adventure Education. Electives include Rock Climbing Fundamentals, Swiftwater Rescue, and Advanced Backcountry Winter Travel. For students focusing on the ski industry, the Ski Resort Operations Certificate teaches the ins and outs of mountain and business ski resort management.

Earn your MBA with an emphasis on the outdoors at Western Colorado University in Gunison. The Outdoor Industry Master of Business Administration is a two-year program that includes an MBA core as well as specialized tracks for the product or service side of the outdoor industry. The product concentration includes specialized courses in sustainable equipment development and materials sourcing; supply chain and logistics; and sustainable finance. The service concentration offers specialized courses in resort and hospitality management, natural resource regulation, and sales. (Plus, you can explore the Black Canyon of the Gunnison when you’re not studying.)

Not to be outdone, the University of Colorado BoulderThe outdoor recreation economics master’s program includes a master’s degree in outdoor recreation economics, with additional graduate-level certificates in subjects such as natural resource policy and economic development. The program is entirely online, so you can follow it from anywhere, although Boulder offers impressive outdoor access.

Massachusetts

For those interested in leading outdoor adventure programs, such as those offered by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and Outward Bound, Greenfield Community CollegeThe adventure education program of could provide the perfect training. The program focuses on the development of critical, philosophical and technical skills in adventure education. Backcountry travel, rock climbing, paddle sports, and Nordic skiing are all areas of focus, and the program’s certification skills meet national adventure industry standards.

Michigan

Become a pro in the snow sports industry at Gogebic Community CollegeThe Ski Area Management program, where classroom work and hands-on experience in the school’s Mount Zion ski area prepares students for technical and administrative positions. Local training is followed by internships at ski resorts across the country. Courses include ski resort layout, ski instruction fundamentals, and ski resort cost and operation analysis.

If you are interested in working in public land management, whether at the municipal, state, or federal level, the Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Management program at University of Northern Michigan in Marquette is worth the detour. The bachelor’s degree program teaches students vocational skills in a variety of outdoor recreation specialties. The program also ensures that students meet National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) entry requirements.

Montana

Want to become a professional snow goat? Montana State UniversityThe snow science program in the school’s renowned Earth Science department teaches all things snow safety to undergraduate students seeking careers in the ski industry, research and rescue, guiding and other fields. The intensive courses involve several disciplines, including physics, engineering, hydrology and statistics, calculus, chemistry and geomorphology. For graduate students, the Snow and Avalanche Lab combines study and research to help learners better understand and predict snow events.

North Carolina

Wilderness leadership and experiential education to Brevard College is a Bachelor of Arts degree focusing on marketable skills in professional guiding, teaching rock climbing, and other adventure careers. From satisfying customers to balancing corporate budgets, courses prepare students for the business and adventurous aspects of making a living in the outdoor industry.

The Masters Program in Experiential and Outdoor Education at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC is designed for students who want to work as teachers at expeditionary learning schools, charter schools, community colleges, camps, and beyond. The two-year program includes both online classes during the week and in-person classes on weekends, making it easier for working students to graduate.

Oregon

In Corvallis, Oregon State UniversityThe Center for Outdoor Recreation Economics offers a range of certificate and degree programs focusing on all aspects of the industry, from learning how to operate a ski lift to designing environmentally friendly products. the environment. For those curious about getting into the outdoor space, Foundations of Outdoor Recreation Economics is a unique $400 course, open to anyone, that provides insight into the economic, environmental, and societal impacts of outdoor recreation. outdoors. Check out the school’s free outdoor industry module for an overview of what to expect.

For those already working in the field of outdoor recreation, the MSc in Sports Product Management program at the University of Oregon Lundquist College of Commerce teaches students how to bring material to market, from concept to promotion. Both on-site and online programs are available to accommodate full-time students and workers.

Utah

For many, the ultimate dream of an outdoor career is to bring product ideas to life and get paid for it. The outdoor product design and development program at Utah State University in Logan is a Bachelor of Science degree that prepares students to enter the world of gear design and manufacturing. Students can choose to specialize in product line design, development, or management after two years of core coursework.

Washington

Want to work with the public outdoors? Bellingham’s Western Washington University offers a Recreation Management and Leadership program – a Bachelor of Arts degree applicable to careers in sustainable tourism and community recreation. Guiding, camp counseling, wilderness therapy, and park management are just a few of the paths students pursue after graduation.

West Virginia

West Virginia University Institute of Technology Beckley’s Undergraduate Adventure Recreation Management program prepares students for careers in outdoor businesses. Guide and instructor certifications in at least one discipline such as rock climbing or paddle sports are included, and courses focus on the fundamentals of running a business. Internships and a final project allow students to gain extensive real-world experience before graduating.

Inflation is the main issue for this week’s midterms

November 7, 2022

Montana Economy

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Like a 1970s movie monster, inflation is back and drawing crowds to a polling station near you.

Rising prices are the main concern of voters in this year’s midterm elections, overtaking abortion, crime and other burning issues.

More than one in three voters cited inflation as their most pressing priority, according to the latest NPR/PBS news time/Marist survey. “Preserving democracy” was far behind. Republicans were considered better than Democrats at largely fighting inflation.

The election comes as consumer prices are climbing at nearly the fastest pace in four decades. Annual inflation in September was 8.2%. That’s only slightly down from the 9% rate in June, which was the highest since 1981.

The October consumer price index should be released on Thursday.

Soaring prices have fueled anxiety among Americans, who are paying more for gas, groceries and other necessities.

Inflation was not on the radar two years ago

Inflation was of little concern when President Biden first took office. Although the pandemic triggered isolated price hikes for things like lumber, the overall cost of living was climbing at less than 2% per year.

The incoming administration was more concerned about jobs, fearing a repeat of the slow recovery that followed the global financial crisis. The unemployment rate in January last year was 6.4%, down from nearly 15% in the early months of the pandemic. But with rising COVID-19 cases, the economy had lost 115,000 jobs the month before Biden was sworn in.

Congressional Democrats quickly passed a $1.9 trillion economic relief bill, which included direct payments of $1,400 to most adults, plus expanded unemployment benefits and a new tax credit for children.

As an economic stimulus, it was a success. Employers have added more than 10 million jobs since Biden took office. But Republicans blame the aggressive relief bill — which passed without GOP support — for stoking runaway prices.

“Inflation is caused by reckless spending by Democrats,” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., told NPR. morning edition Last week.

Inflation is a global problem

Other factors undoubtedly contributed to the high inflation, including the lingering effects of the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Inflation was even higher in the Eurozone and the UK than in the US, mainly due to soaring energy costs linked to the war in Ukraine.

But some prominent Democrats acknowledge that last year’s relief package played a role in overheating the economy and driving up prices.

“Now the tub is overflowing,” said former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who warned fellow Democrats against such a situation. results. “And it’s much easier to stop a tub from overflowing than to catch the water.”

The Federal Reserve reacts

For much of the past year, the Federal Reserve believed that prices would cool on their own, once the supply chain issues caused by the pandemic unraveled. But inflation turned out to be higher and more persistent than the central bank had expected. This spring, the Fed began raising interest rates in an effort to dampen demand and control prices.

Since March, the Fed has raised its benchmark rate six times, pushing up borrowing costs for anyone trying to buy a house or car or carrying a balance on a credit card. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell warned last week that rates will likely have to rise even more than expected next year, although increases may come in smaller increments.

The Fed’s crackdown, along with similar moves by other central banks, has heightened the risk of a global economic slowdown.

A GOP advantage

Nearly half of voters polled in the NPR poll say Republicans would do a better job of controlling inflation, compared to just 27% who think Democrats would be more effective. While Republicans capitalized on voter frustration over rising prices, they offered few concrete prescriptions for bringing down inflation.

Asked about the GOP’s strategy on morning editionSenator Scott suggested spending cuts and an increase in national energy production.

“Step one, we need to do in government what families do. You live within your means,” said Scott, who chairs the Republican Senate campaign committee. “On top of that, we need to figure out how to produce energy in this country safely.”

Gasoline prices are a particularly potent symbol of inflation, and President Biden’s approval rating seems to drop every time pump prices rise.

The national average gasoline price hit a record high of $5.01 a gallon in June, when sanctions against Russia sent global crude oil prices skyrocketing. Gas prices have since fallen to around $3.80, according to AAA.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Wyoming, New Mexico and Colorado flex strong rainy day funds amid economic concerns

November 4, 2022

Montana Economy

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Rainy Day Funds are accounts that states draw on during unexpected economic downturns, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Many states could run government operations on these funds alone longer than ever before due to higher-than-expected tax revenue growth and historic federal assistance over the past two years. according to an analysis by Pew Charitable Trusts.

In total, states estimated their combined savings would reach a record $136.5 billion at the end of fiscal year 2022, according to Pew, citing preliminary figures reported to the National Association of State Budget Officers between March and May. of this year.

Those savings alone could allow states to run government operations for a national median of 42.5 days, which is also a new record, according to the analysis.

Wyoming leads the nation by a wide margin. The Cowboy State has nearly a year – 350 days – of cash in reserve. New Mexico, ranked fourth, is one of four other states with more than 100 days of operating costs at 100.8.

The other Mountain West states above the national median are seventh-ranked Colorado (81.7) and ninth-ranked Idaho (76.3). Utah (36.5), Arizona (27.2), Nevada (26.7) and Montana (16.0) round out the region.

Justin Theal of Pew, co-author of the report, said policymakers now face growing challenges that will squeeze budgets.

“Like a weakening economy, especially as the [federal government] trying to control historically high inflation,” Theal said. “But also better-known concerns for state budgets, like the expiration of much federal COVID aid.”

Theal said that means states with significant rainy day funds are better prepared for a looming recession.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in the Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations throughout the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the public broadcasting company.

Status Check – Flathead Beacon

November 2, 2022

Montana Economy

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Housing inflation in the Flathead began to drop precipitously. The pandemic buying spree of the past few years has inflated the price of starter homes in places like Columbia Falls and Whitefish so far beyond local wages that workers have lost the opportunity to buy a slice of Flathead while rents have become outrageously expensive.

With federal interest rates skyrocketing 3 percentage points six-month and winter on the way, the inventory of homes for sale is expected to rise. Prices may once again move closer to affordability for some residents previously shut out of the market, while higher mortgage rates drive others away.

The state is discussing how best to increase the supply of starter homes in Montana’s urban centers. On their table are controversial proposals to impose increased housing density at the city level, planning that is usually left to local scrutiny.

Not surprisingly, the state legislature aims for local control. They did so last year, blocking the Whitefish Affordable Housing Ordinances which took years to grow locally in partnership with downtown businesses and the local Chamber of Commerce.

The state’s preemption over local control targeted municipalities, school boards, universities, and health workers throughout Montana. The Legislature has demonstrated its contempt by targeting women’s health care, disease vaccines, hospitals, worker housing, local transportation funding and school boards.

The 2021 legislature has spent far more time debating how to discriminate against transgender children than mitigating the rapid increase in property taxes for homeowners due to pandemic-era land grabs that devoured Montana.

Montana, in recent legislative sessions, has neglected to reduce the rapidly rising effects of semi-annual property reassessments that have inflated tax bills in growth areas. The inflation that homeowners and downtown businesses are seeing on property tax bills is directly related to the continued inaction of distracted politicians in Helena.

Most of the problems facing our cities and our families could be alleviated with good political will. Yet because voters routinely prefer the most ardent far-right politicians to represent grassroots needs in Helena, we are more likely to lose local control of subdivisions, see more bottlenecks in the valley and reject the ever-increasing property taxes of the state’s shifting priorities.

The solution is to vote for more moderate residents in the state capitol. Helena’s single-party control hasn’t worked well for our hometowns. High-density housing and transportation planning is better coordinated with local input. Not all subdivisions are suitable and Columbia Falls is not Missoula.

Great places like Columbia Falls, Kalispell and Whitefish have invested decades of community time and taxpayer dollars to build livable places.

If the electorate sends politicians to Helena to undermine local control, future public hearings for high-density housing developments in single-family residential neighborhoods will be short or non-existent.

Holding politicians accountable starts at the polls. Unless moderate voters choose politicians for the Legislative Assembly who can partner with local towns, the outcome of the four-month New Year’s session will be huge losses for local control. Politicians should deliver solutions in partnership with local cities, not more unfunded state government mandates.

Anyone who walks, bikes or drives in the valley can attest that federal transportation funding and local planning are essential elements for growth. Our economy and our jobs remain intertwined in our local towns. Our municipalities remain key economic partners in Montana’s growth and success.

In all my years working in Helena with fellow legislators from across our great state, the solutions that have worked and moved all Montanans forward have always been found in the middle of politics, a place where affiliation with a party had little to do with our prosperity.

Some prefer to shout about issues that matter little to Montana, but real solutions to the daily challenges facing families and society make more sense when our state and our nation work hand-in-hand with local government.

50 years after the Clean Water Act, more needs to be done to protect Montana’s waterways – Daily Montanan

October 30, 2022

Montana Economy

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The Clean Water Act turned 50 on October 18. Over the past five decades it has proven to be one of the most successful environmental laws on the books. It has cleaned up contaminated waterways, helped ensure the drinking water coming out of your tap is safe for your children, and protected the ecological integrity of rivers and streams.

Indeed, without the Clean Water Act, Montana would not be the state it is today. But much more needs to be done for us to achieve the promise of the Clean Water Act – which is to prevent, reduce and eliminate pollution in our waters.

In arid Montana, water is our most important and limited natural resource. Every aspect of our lives is linked and dependent on access to clean and adequate water. Our tribes, communities and families depend on clean water for our environment, health, economy, spiritual well-being and recreation. Whether you’re a rancher in Miles City, a restaurant worker in Kalispell, a mom in Laurel, or an outfitter in Dillon, you need clean water every day. Clean water is also essential for land and water life, livestock, crops and ecosystems as a whole. With this in mind, you would think Montana’s leaders would value and prioritize the protection and enhancement of our water resources. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Our state government was granted the authority to implement the Clean Water Act by delegation from the United States Environmental Protection Agency to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. In principle, local management of our water resources through a responsible public body makes sense. In practice, the DEQ has been deprived of the resources necessary to fully implement even some of the most basic clean water protections, such as proper water quality monitoring, development of reduction plans pollution and sufficient (and legal) pollution discharge permits.

The Montana Legislature oversees funding and resources for the Montana DEQ. It also passes state laws necessary to implement the Clean Water Act. Instead of defending the values ​​of fishable, swimmable and drinkable water, the legislature has instead worked to race to the bottom to meet the bare minimum of water quality standards under Clean Water. Act, and nothing more (and sometimes less). Over the past few decades, a myriad of bills have been introduced that would have weakened water protections and led to more pollution in our waters. Last year, the Legislature considered bills that would have allowed more selenium pollution in our water (failed in committee); weakened standards for nutrient pollution from industrial operations such as mining and municipal treatment plants, which suffocate aquatic life (enacted by Governor Gianforte); and allowed more subdivision pollution, which harms ground and surface water quality for everyone and everything downstream (Gianforte’s veto).

If the idea of ​​weakening water quality protections were put to a vote by the people of Montana, it would fail overwhelmingly. But these legislative proposals often come at the behest of a few vested interests with dollars at stake who have an outsized influence on the process.

The economic benefits of clean water are undervalued. Numerous studies have shown the enormous economic benefits of preventing pollution and maintaining clean waterways, rather than managing pollution and attempting to clean up after the water has been irreparably polluted. Additionally, many of Montana’s major industries, including agriculture and tourism, require clean water. Clean water protection is simply the cost of doing business.

Whether you’re dipping your toes in the Yellowstone River, letting your cows dip their noses in the Milk River, or casting a fishing lure in Flathead Lake, the water has to be clean. The last thing Montana needs is to weaken existing water protections. Instead, we should have the foresight and wisdom to protect this resource for this generation and future generations. Let’s hope the Montana Legislature and Governor Gianforte recognize this important reality and set a new tone by prioritizing the protection of water quality, so that the next 50 years are a success for Montana’s water and everything that depends on it.

Derf Johnson is the Deputy Director of Montana Environmental Information Centera nonpartisan, nonprofit conservationist dedicated to ensuring clean air and water for future generations of Montana.

Economist says inflation is having a huge effect on Montana residents

October 20, 2022

Montana Economy

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Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) – Inflation; it is the nation’s number one problem, both economically and politically, but how did we get to this point where our purchasing power has eroded so dramatically?

KGVO News reached out to Dr. Patrick Barkey, director of the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, on Thursday for answers.

The government helped spend us in inflation

Barkey started with the Federal Reserve and rampant federal spending during the pandemic.

“You start with the failure of the Federal Reserve to recognize early that inflation was erupting,” Barkey began. “Then we had the lag in the policy response from the Federal Reserve, going from stimulating the economy, which happened during the pandemic, to being neutral to now trying to restrain the economy.”

All that stimulus money added to inflation

Barkey then blamed the Federal Reserve for not acting quickly enough to respond to the soaring rate of inflation.

“The Federal Reserve’s inability to recognize inflation in time to act is certainly part of that, of course,” he said. “What the Federal Reserve should have reacted to a little better was the extraordinary amount of stimulus put into the economy with not just one stimulus bill but actually three, and you could argue that this error still occurs today, as we see the passage of things like the Tipping Act and the so-called Inflation Reduction Act.

Barkey expressed concern about the impact of current inflation on Montana’s current economy.

“When you look at what personal income is, that’s Montana household income after tax, and you adjust that for inflation and you express that on a per capita basis, we’re running to 2022, c It’s something like a 9% decrease in that figure, which is a good measure of the average purchasing power of household income,” he said. “It’s a rate of increase that, very frankly, the economy hasn’t seen since the 1930s.”

Barkey said the labor market and reduced job availability could come into play as the recession drags on.

“The one inflation factor that worries me more than anything is what I would consider to be inflation expectations, particularly in relation to the labor market,” he said. “When you have workers who are starting to see inflation erode their purchasing power and who are demanding as they can be in a tight labor market like the one we have today, and who are demanding increases in higher salary, it is a cost factor. It is something that is very powerful and can be very sustained and difficult to master. »

It may be up to all of us to get our economy back on track

Barkey said a recession and lower consumer spending may be needed before inflation can be brought under control.

“It’s called a drop in spending, and then it reverses,” he said. “Some people call it a recession. It depends on what happens, but it’s definitely a slowing force in the economy and that’s what really matters in getting inflation under control, which is slowing spending and slowing down the economy. .

Listen to Dr. Barkey’s Montana Economic Minutes every weekday on KGVO’s Montana Morning News Show.

24 Closed Missoula Businesses We Wish We Could Bring Back

We asked Missoulians which of their favorite businesses that have shut down would they like to see make a triumphant return. Here’s what they found.

28 Missoula Businesses That Opened, Changed Owners, or Changed Locations

Yes, there were quite a few Missoula businesses that closed in the last two years. But what about the Missoula businesses that have opened?

Leader for planet, people and economy

October 17, 2022

Montana Economy

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Kelli Hess

This community has earned a reputation as a leader in sustainability and responsible citizenship, not just across the state, but across the country and beyond. What allows this humble city to achieve programs like the zero waste plan Zero by Fifty or to keep almost a million tons of waste out of the landfill? I believe it is our strong and successful citizens who accept responsibility for the planet, people and the economy.

Through Home ReSource, the Community Sustainability Center of Western Montana, and many other nonprofits, people in our area come together to work for a just, vibrant, and sustainable community.

I am proud to announce that I have accepted the position of Executive Director of Home ReSource. I look forward to joining the team and the vast community of supporters at Home ReSource. Together, we will build on the impactful work of those who served before me – the volunteers and staff who built this organization from the dream of two University of Montana students to the thriving center it is today.

As a born and raised Montanese and lifelong Missoulian, I have been blessed to have served our community through the Missoula Food Bank & Community Center and the Missoula Family YMCA. I am thrilled to lead the efforts to realize our shared vision as a community. We see a sustainable future for Western Montana, where the needs of today are met in a way that preserves the possibilities of tomorrow and inspires the future of our children.

We accelerate the transition to a prosperous and sustainable community by creating systems that inflect the linear take-do-waste economy. As we bend the line, we are creating a circular and inclusive economy where resources are reduced, reused, repaired, reused and recycled. In doing so, we reduce greenhouse gases and the demand on our natural resources, while generating meaningful work opportunities. Planet, people, economy.

I look forward to exploring circular economy concepts with you in the months ahead and am proud to help bring this approach and all it stands for into our collective consciousness. But ask your fifth grader or any child who has become a zero waste ambassador thanks to Home ResSource’s ZWAP! program. These children easily understand the “re” values ​​embedded in the circular economy.

Through ZWAP!, our Fix-it clinics, zero waste system initiatives, youth and adult work programs, and of course our largest program, the Building Materials Reuse Store, Home ReSource is leading the sustainability effort through partnerships with many other non-profit and public organizations. Together, let’s continue to innovate. We can be proud to be at the forefront of systems and activities that protect our planet while honoring the worth of each person and our community as a whole.

I’d love to see you at our event on Friday, October 21: Celebrating ReUse, Building Community Auction. Tickets are available here. If not, rest assured you will hear from me again as we together realize our vision of a bright future.

Kelli Hess is the Executive Director of Home ReSource

These 25 small towns are the most ‘vibrant’ in the United States, according to a think tank

October 12, 2022

Montana Economy

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The Los Alamos Laboratory and the City of Los Alamos on June 14, 1999. (photo by Joe Raedle)

America’s micropolitans — or small towns of 10,000 to 50,000 people — faced unique challenges early in the pandemic, but through a “combination of luck and foresight,” some found ways to thrive.

Heartland Forward, a nonpartisan think tank focused on economic growth in the middle of the United States, released its Most Dynamic Micropolitans: 2022 report in September. The researchers said that micropolitans are generally “at a disadvantage compared to metropolitan areas because a smaller workforce results in a less diverse economy.”

But cities with large food producing or processing industries and places with lots of outdoor activities fared better than others. Of the 25 small towns at the top of their list, 12 are in the West Mountain.

Communities that rely heavily on oil and gas face more challenges than those with more diverse industries, the researchers said. Pecos, Texas, for example, fell from No. 1 to No. 4 on the list because oil drilling, its main industry, was unprofitable for several months in 2020. Liberal, Kansas, meanwhile, Also highly dependent on petroleum, but the addition of food production and processing plants, along with the presence of helium and ethanol processing, have kept its economy stronger than other pickups.

READ MORE: Parents can still claim their expanded child tax credit by November 15, 2022 — here’s how

“Overall, shifts in the fortunes of micropolitans dependent on a single industry are reminiscent of the stabilizing benefits of a diversified economy,” the report said.

The researchers used the following metrics to rank micropolitans: growth in average annual salary, number of jobs, and gross domestic product (GDP); level of personal income per capita; share of total employment in enterprises in operation for five years or less (share of employment of young enterprises); and the share of employment in start-ups with a bachelor’s degree or higher (knowledge-intensity of start-ups).

The 25 “most dynamic” micropolitans

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Old and new forms of transportation share Main Street in downtown Breckenridge. (Photo by Glenn Asakawa/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The mic that tops this year’s list is Los Alamos, New Mexico, but the reason for that is an outlier, the researchers said. Los Alamos is reaping the benefits of a $2.5 billion government contract with Triad National Security, LLC to operate the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The lab was formed to develop nuclear weapons during World War II, but today it is a hub for a wide range of industries.

“The lab’s highly paid scientists support a vibrant town of approximately 13,000 people nestled in the Jemez Mountains,” the researchers said.

Outside of Los Alamos, Mountain West had the most pickups in the top 25. Twelve of them are in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, or Wyoming.

READ MORE: Watch: Colorado light rail splits in two after derailing; 3 injured

“Mountain West mics provided an outdoors-focused respite from the stresses of COVID-19. When travel restrictions were eased in the second half of 2020, tourists flocked to Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Heber, Utah; Bozeman, Montana; and other small towns on the doorstep of the vast Mountain West wilderness,” researchers said.

READ MORE: ‘We’re driving towards a cliff’: Crisis looms without major cuts to Colorado River

East of the Mississippi River, only three pickups made the top 25. In Brevard, NC, No. 12 on the list, easy access to mountain biking, fly-fishing, hiking, and white-water rafting are big draws in southern Appalachia.

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Brevard, North Carolina Mountains near Asheville (Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Here are the 25 fastest growing micropolitan areas, according to Heartland Forward:

1. Los Alamos, New Mexico
2. Jackson, Wyoming-Idaho
3. Heber, Utah
4. Pecos, Texas
5. Jefferson, Georgia
6. Bozeman, Montana
7. Hailey, Idaho
8. Cedar City, Utah
9. Prineville, Oregon
10. Edwards, Colorado
11. Lake Moses, Washington
12. Brevard, North Carolina
13. Key West, Florida
14. Oak Harbor, WA
15. Breckenridge, Colorado
16. Steamboat Springs, Colorado
17. Sandpoint, Idaho
18. Othello, Washington
19. Gardnerville Ranchos, Nevada
20. Fernley, Nevada
21. Fredericksburg, TX
22. Dodge City, Kansas
23. Fremont, Nebraska
24. Jesup, Georgia
25. Montrose, Colorado

Read the full list here.

Do Bozeman companies face uncertainty over the lack of quality help?

October 10, 2022

Montana Economy

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In the Dickens Classic A Tale of Two Cities, the most famous quote from the book might just be “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.

Some people might say we’re going through the exact same thing here at Bozeman. In fact, in many ways, Bozeman is a tale of two towns. There’s the old Bozeman that so many people remember and love, that old cowboy town where everyone knew each other. Then there’s the new Bozeman that has million dollar condos, $10 cafes, and plenty of people from other places.

For many people, these are the best times. For others, not so much, and that includes a lot of small businesses here in town.

One of the toughest things small businesses in Bozeman are facing right now is the lack of quality employees. A short drive around town and you’ll see several “We’re Hiring” signs and often an hourly wage attached to the sign as well.

In fact, every day on my way home from work, I pass a sign that says “$25 an hour” and another that says “$23 an hour.” Based on 40 hours of work per week, that’s about $50,000 per year. I can tell you that it took many years of doing what I do to earn this much. However, according to several experts, this is not just happening here in Bozeman, it is happening all over the United States.

But why? According to Market Place, they say it’s a combination of reasons.

“Labour economists and researchers say the lack of strong childcare infrastructure, low wages, poor working conditions, and health issues associated with the long COVID could prevent some people from returning to work. Millions of Americans have also retired early over the past two years.”

So what does this mean for small businesses here at Bozeman? Many of these businesses pay significantly more than the national average and still struggle to find employees.

So who do we blame? Young people who “don’t work to work” or Boomers who have all retired? I guess it depends on which generation you ask.

Conceptual showing Bubble Speech with the word We are hiring. Job announcement
Chee Siong Teh

The local argument, of course, will be “It’s expensive to live in Bozeman.” Trust me, I know. My wife and I have a 2 bedroom 1 bath apartment and we play close to 2300 a month. However, how on earth are small businesses supposed to pay their employees enough to live here AND still make a profit? The math just doesn’t match.

I think one of the biggest problems we face is just the changing times. We went from ‘what the boss says’, to ‘yes, I don’t like your vibe right now and I’m going to need a sanity day’. The world of work has completely changed

I can still tell you more. If I was a teenager and could work part-time to earn over $20 working in fast food while in college, I’d be flipping burgers in a heartbeat.

Beware of these 50 jobs that could disappear in the next 50 years

WATCH: States with the most new small businesses per capita

Asian stock markets fall ahead of US jobs update

October 7, 2022

Montana Economy

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By JOE McDONALD – AP Business Writers

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks followed Wall Street’s decline on Friday ahead of U.S. jobs data as investors hope to persuade the Federal Reserve to ease plans for an interest rate hike.

Tokyo and Hong Kong, the region’s largest markets, fell. Chinese markets were closed for a holiday. Oil prices changed little.

Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index fell 1% on Thursday after a private sector report said U.S. employers hired slightly more workers than expected in September. That gives ammunition to Fed officials who say more rate hikes are needed to cool the economy and rein in inflation that is at its highest level in four decades.

Investors were awaiting the release of US government data on Friday which is expected to show fewer people being hired compared to previous months. They hope this will help persuade the Fed that the five rate hikes this year are working and that it can scale back its plans for more.

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“What the market seems to be crying out for is a Fed pivot,” ING’s Robert Carnell said in a report. “For its part, the Fed is sticking to its ‘higher for longer’ mantra.”

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 0.6% to 27,149.75 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1% to 17,823.29.

Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.2% to 2,241.87 while Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 lost 0.6% to 6,777.00.

New Zealand lost 0.2% while Singapore and Bangkok rose.

The Fed and central banks around the world are focused on extinguishing inflation that is at multi-decade highs, but investors fear their unusually high and rapid pace of rate hikes could tip the global economy into a tailspin. recession.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell to 3,744.52. The index is up 4.4% for the week after its best two-day rally in 2½ years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.1% to 29,926.94. The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.7% to 11,073.31.

The yield on US government debt, or the difference between the market price and the payment at maturity, has widened. This indicates that traders expect more rate hikes.

The 10-year Treasury yield, which helps set mortgage rates, rose to 3.81% from 3.75% on Wednesday night. The two-year Treasury yield rose to 4.22% from 4.14% on Monday evening.

Strong U.S. hiring is positive for job seekers, but a sign of lasting economic strength, which could lead the Fed to believe more rate hikes are needed.

US government data showed the number of jobless claims hit a four-month high last week. This suggests that the labor market may be cooling.

Forecasters expect the government to report that the economy added 250,000 jobs last month, well below last year’s monthly average of 487,000, but still a strong figure despite inflation and two consecutive quarters of contraction in the US economy.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 2 cents to $88.47 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract advanced 69 cents on Thursday to $88.45. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trade, fell 4 cents to $94.38 a barrel in London. It rose $1.05 the previous session to $94.42.

The dollar fell to 144.92 yen from 145.07 yen on Thursday. The euro gained 98.11 cents against 97.94 cents.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Republicans make the case for Central America

October 4, 2022

Montana Economy

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MONONGAHELA, Pa.—Whether by design or out of necessity, the decision of House Republican leaders to launch their commitment to America in this river town on the outskirts of Allegheny County was fitting.

There’s no easy way to get here from Pittsburgh, or from the airport, or from our nation’s capital. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana laughed, saying the very purpose of the Pledge to America is to reach the people and places that Congress neglects to the point that it needs a GPS to find them and a dictionary to spell them. The goal for Republicans, he said, is to show up and hear people’s concerns in places like this and engage as a party to find solutions.

Scalise told the Washington Examiner that Republicans want to go to the center of America, to a community that really has to live with the consequences of President Joe Biden’s policies, as well as the legislation presented to Congress by the Democratic House Speaker. Nancy Pelosi. They wanted to do more than just criticize Democrats, he said, they wanted to offer their own solutions.

“You may have heard it from the families who asked questions today, they are struggling under the weight of Biden’s inflation,” he said. “Families are struggling to put food on the table.” He also pointed to the local sheriff, who asked lawmakers what they would do about escalating crime and fentanyl overdoses, in addition to families asking what their solution was to soaring energy prices. .

During a visit from Ductmate Industries, Scalise and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy got some lessons in welding and high-tech fabrication. After that, House Republicans held a town hall event, rolling out their agenda for the country. Twenty-eight House members were in attendance as Republican House leaders rolled out their plan to control inflation, secure the southern border and tackle escalating crime in this country.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) reviews HVAC products during his tour of DMI businesses in Monongahela, Pa. (Salena Zito)

McCarthy said the plan includes cutting out of control spending, moving supply chains away from China and increasing domestic energy production.

DMI CEO Ray Yeager, who lives in neighboring Washington County, said the western Pennsylvania family business has been in the Mon Valley for nearly 50 years. “We have factories across the United States, but our headquarters are in Charleroi,” he said of the facility down the road in Washington County.

Yeager said it makes sense for Republicans to come here, despite the winding roads and deep dips, you have to navigate whichever direction you’re coming from. “There is a very deep sense of community here, and the people who work here and live here embody everything that is good about the country in terms of work ethic and giving back to the community,” he said. he declares. “I will add that it is the residents of towns like Monongahela who are suffering the most from the effects of inflation, rising energy costs and the fentanyl crisis.”

DMI manufactures accessories primarily for commercial duct systems for the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. More than 400 people worked at the facility last Friday. Many of them told me they had been here for over 10 years, several said for over two decades. Almost all said they lived within 20 minutes of their job or just down the street. Most workers said they acquired their skills for work in a trade school, in workshops or as apprentices.

Scalise said DMI is emblematic of so many other small businesses in America: “They have to live with the consequences of Pelosi’s far-left agenda,” he said. “So when they push the Green New Deal, it crushes American manufacturers who actually have the best environmental standards in the world, and it emboldens countries like China. Because when Pelosi stops manufacturing in America, those jobs don’t just go away, they go to countries like China and India.

Scalise said the left is really good at beating America for doing the work and freeing up the shows, but fails to recognize that Americans are doing it better and with less environmental damage than anyone else in the world. the world. “Frankly, we should be doing more things in America,” he said. “We should be producing more energy in America, not less. It shows that they live in this parallel universe that is detached from the reality of small businesses, hard work and families that make America great.

Monongahela is in the center of Appalachia. It’s the second smallest town in Pennsylvania – a key meeting place during the Whiskey Rebellion and the birthplace of former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. It’s also where NFL great Joe Montana learned to throw a football with his father.

During the decades of declining coal and industry, the city lost half its population; the median income hovers around $30,000, with nearly 14% of the population living below the poverty line.

Scalise says inflation hits people the hardest in towns and villages like this. That’s why it’s one of the top priorities House Republicans need to address if they take control of the House in November. “It’s incredibly important for us to listen to the families we represent who are struggling, and then go and bring those concerns back to Washington and pass bills that address their issues,” he said.

The immediate reaction from House Democrats was swift, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and all other Democrats immediately calling it an “extreme MAGA agenda.”

“It shows how out of touch she is with average Americans,” Scalise said, “because those are the big complaints I hear when I go to communities across the country. So I don’t know with what group of people she hangs around, but if she thinks it’s extremist to cut inflation and lower energy prices and involve parents more in their children’s education, then maybe she’s so out of touch that it’s time for her to be fired as Speaker of the House I think the country will have its say in November.

In the latest ABC News poll, Republicans are favored by voters heading into the midterm elections to manage inflation, the broader economy and crime; 76% of respondents say inflation is a major problem, 84% say the economy and 69% say crime.

Scalise said that as Republicans, they simply cannot issue a document and not respect it if they win; in fact, he says he expects voters to keep their feet on fire on all of these issues.

“Each of the elements of the Pledge to America represents issues that will be brought before committees and Congress in open view on CSPAN; bills that will eventually come to the House to carry out the articles and the undertaking,” he explained. “We’re going to get these bills through the House, and that’s where public engagement is really important. Because they’re not going anywhere after that if everyone leaves. We need people to then call their senators and demand that their senators pass the bills we will get out of the House to reduce inflation, lower gas prices and secure the border.

That commitment only works if the public stays engaged and holds everyone accountable, Scalise said. “Including Joe Biden, who will have the choice to sign or veto these bills,” he added.

As for convincing Democrats to sign on, the eternal optimist says he’s ready to help make that happen.

“I urge everyone who believes in the great principles of America to vote for these bills and voice their support for the commitment to America,” he said. “It’s going to be a referendum during the election, but also after the election, on what people think of America. Do you want a declining America? Where inflation is just a new standard and where the border does not exist? Or do you want to return to the principles that made this country the greatest nation in the history of the world? It is in danger right now. We can restore it.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Epoch Times.

Salena Zito

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Salena Zito has had a long and successful career as a national political journalist. Since 1992, she has interviewed every US President and Vice President, as well as key Washington leaders, including Secretaries of State, Speakers of the House, and generals of US Central Command. Her passion, however, is interviewing thousands of people across the country. She reaches the Everyman and Everywoman through the lost art of leather journalism, having traveled the back roads of 49 states.

‘Free market environmentalism’ works in Montana – InsideSources

September 29, 2022

Montana Economy

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When I first heard of “free market environmentalism” I was pretty skeptical. My assumption about private capital was that its primary duty was to multiply, but this view demonstrated an inability to understand market potential. Markets allow people to provide capital and, as long as they provide enough, to receive just about anything they want in return. It could be a new car, a set of solar panels or a piece of land.

Even knowing this, however, it never occurred to me that with enough investment, a private organization could buy enough land to conserve an entire ecosystem and do so for the benefit of people and wildlife. Yet that is precisely what American Prairie is doing in the Great Plains of central Montana.

To conserve 3.2 million acres, an area the size of the state of Connecticut, American Prairie leverages private philanthropy and property rights to purchase ranch land, improve wildlife habitat and open it to the public. This access includes opportunities to hunt, bike, hike, fish, camp and more.

One of the most exciting aspects of this model is that it is based on the voluntary exchange of goods between private citizens, none of whom have to be paid for with taxpayers’ money. In other words, American Prairie can provide significant public benefits at no public cost, primarily due to the generosity of conservation-minded donors.

Do I mean that all conservation should be privatized and Yellowstone National Park should be run by entrepreneurs? Certainly not, but given the current political landscape and the difficulty for government to effectively purchase and manage land, it is important to seek new, more adaptive models. Some people still believe that conservation outcomes are best achieved when government intervenes to spare our natural resources from the rapacious greed of individuals, but what if other people are convinced that those same resources have a greater value when left intact? Theseindividuals exist too, and thousands of them have chosen to donate to American Prairie’s efforts in Montana, giving a voice to a marketplace for publicly accessible land and wildlife.

The best part is that it all actually works. American Prairie has already seen an increase in biodiversity on land where it has been able to graze its private bison herd instead of cattle. A recent study of its properties found that “bison reintroduction appears to work as a passive riparian restoration strategy with positive diversity outcomes for birds and mammals.”

Another 29-year study of three pastures in Kansas found that reintroducing bison increased native plant species richness by 86%, compared to only 30% for cattle.

By managing these lands, livestock and wildlife in collaboration with neighboring ranchers, the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service, American Prairie invests in these communities, attracts ecotourism dollars and strengthens the local economy.

Some of these benefits are felt more directly by participants in American Prairie’s Wild Sky program, which financially encourages wildlife-friendly management practices on neighboring ranches. Interested neighbors can sign up for “Cameras for Conservation,” where American Prairie will pay to install game cameras on the rancher’s property, then pay them for each image of an animal that that camera generates. If your camera takes a picture of an elk or a deer, that’s $50 in your pocket. A mountain lion? It’s $250. And if you document the presence of a grizzly bear or wolf, it will cost you $500 per animal, while you are still raising livestock on the property.

This is free-market environmentalism at work, aligning incentives to make wildlife conservation and tolerance a good business decision rather than a burden on local landowners.

American Prairie is 20 years old and manages 450,000 acres, but including the adjacent wildlife refuge and national monument, approximately 1.75 million acres are now conserved for people and wildlife in central Montana.

To achieve its long-term goals, American Prairie will need to continue to raise private capital, and outside groups will need to accept that ranching and conservation can, should, and must co-exist. America’s landscape and natural resources are vast, but projects like American Prairie illustrate how well-executed free-market environmentalism can help conserve them for everyone.

Coal price revival: how long can it last?

September 26, 2022

Montana Economy

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“If a year ago, fifteen months ago, you told people that thermal coal could cost $440 and coking coal could cost $600, they would call the ambulance and recommend a good doctor” , Neil Bristow, Managing Director of H&W Worldwide. Consulting, said Thursday at a recent Coal Association of Canada conference.

“Who would believe it?

While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rattled energy markets and drove up coal prices, the reality is that thermal coal prices had surged months before the invasion, as Europe was already in self-induced energy shortage and resorted to coal.

Five or six years ago, thermal coal was selling for $60 to $80 a ton, Bristow said. Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, thermal coal prices had soared to around $200 a ton.

“The fundamentals that drove these prices higher in the third and fourth quarters of 2021 are still there, and they were only exacerbated by the Russian coal sanctions,” said Ernie Thrasher, CEO of Xcoal Energy and Resources.

Never in Bristow’s lifetime had he seen thermal coal (burned to generate electricity) worth more than metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel, but now it does.

Metallurgical coal (also known as coking coal or steelmaking coal) briefly hit $600 a ton, Bristow said, but has since stabilized at around $270 a ton. That’s still a high price, but less than thermal coal right now, which is well over $300 a ton.

The usual market forces of supply and demand that would normally see producers respond to high prices with increased production simply do not occur with coal.

In the United States, the coal mining industry is half the size it was a few decades ago and simply cannot suddenly reverse. Australian coal production peaked in 2016 and it seems unlikely that it can either meet the sudden demand for thermal coal. British Columbia is a major producer and exporter of metallurgical coal, but Canada exports little or no thermal coal.

Xcoal estimates that the UK and Europe alone will have to find 47 million tonnes of coal that came from Russia. It is unlikely to come from the United States

“There’s just not much the United States can do,” Thrasher said. “We have basically dismembered our coal industry.”

Even if US coal mines could increase production, coal terminal capacity for exports is limited, so coal produced in Montana and Wyoming is shipped through BC export terminals. And right now, one of those terminals – Westshore – has been paralyzed by a strike.

“There just isn’t the elasticity in the supply chain for people to react to these prices, and the old adage that the best thing for high prices is high prices is not true. “, said Thrasher.

In total, Xcoal estimates the global coal supply shortfall at 96 million tonnes.

“These high coal prices are happening at a time when the Chinese economy is just flat on its back,” Thrasher added. If the Chinese economy were to suddenly recover and grow, it would put even more pressure on thermal and coking coal prices.

“Who can supply 96 million tonnes to fill this void? Thrasher wondered. “There’s probably only China and India. There just aren’t many other countries in the world where there is the capacity to produce the coal needed to fill that void.

As for steelmaking coal, BC’s second most valuable export, a global recession could cool demand and temper prices somewhat. But Bristow predicts prices will remain high for the next few years because there simply aren’t enough new metallurgical coal mines being built.

“My models don’t show enough coking coal to meet global demand after about 2027, 2028,” Bristow said. “We desperately need new mines.”

“I’m going to be bold and say it won’t stay at $400 or $500 a ton for very long,” Thrasher said of coking coal prices. “But I think the days of seeing less than $125, $150 per metric ton of coking coal over any period of time are in the rearview mirror, and that’s because coal isn’t everything. simply not produced.”

Thrasher said he could see stagflation resulting from the coal shortage, if there was a global recession.

“If we go into a major global economic downturn, that’s definitely going to put a damper on our products,” Thrasher said. “The question is, if you go back and look at these supply shortages, will a 5% global economic slowdown be enough to solve the problem if you are short of 10% energy supply? You basically have a stagflation environment where the global economy is collapsing, but you still need energy and energy prices remain high.

“It will affect thermal more than coking coal. It could be something we haven’t seen in 40 or 50 years.

(This article first appeared in Business in Vancouver)

South Dakota investigation assesses Noem’s use of state aircraft

September 24, 2022

Montana Economy

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SIOUX FALLS, SD (AP) — South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem was returning from an official appearance in Rapid City in 2019 when she had to make a decision: to spend the night in the capital of Pierre, where another trip would start the next day, or go home and see her son attend his high school prom?

The Republican governor chose the latter, a move that ultimately cost taxpayers some $3,700 when the state plane dropped her off near her home and then returned the next day to pick her up.

It was one of many trips that year where Noem, a potential candidate for the White House in 2024, blurred the lines between official travel and attending family or political events. The trips sparked a complaint to the state Ethics Committee, which referred the matter to the state’s Criminal Investigations Division. A county prosecutor overseeing the investigation will decide whether the governor violated an untested law passed by voters in 2006 to curb questionable use of the state plane.

The governor was also sued by the same ethics committee for intervening at a state agency shortly after deciding to deny his daughter a real estate appraiser’s license.

As the Noem political star rose in 2020, she began using private jets to travel to fundraisers, campaign events and conservative rallies.

But before that, during his first year in office in 2019, Noem used the state plane six times to travel to out-of-state events hosted by political organizations, including the Republican Governors Association, the Republican Jewish Coalition, Turning Point USA and the National Riflemen Association. Raw Story, an online news site, first reported on the trips, which the governor’s office has championed as part of her job as the state’s “ambassador” to bolster the economy of the region. state and intergovernmental relations.

Airplane logs from the state also show Noem had family members who joined her on flights into the state in 2019.

The 2006 ballot measure was a response to the government’s scrutiny of air travel at the time. Mike Rounds, who attended events such as his son’s away basketball games while traveling on other official business. At the time, Rounds, now a U.S. senator, used political funds to reimburse the state for those trips, as well as travel to political events.

State Sen. Reynold Nesiba, a Democrat who proposed the ballot measure before becoming a lawmaker, said voters were clear in their intent.

“When used for family members, it appears to be a clear violation of not only the letter but also the spirit of the law which was overwhelmingly passed,” he said. .

Noem’s campaign spokesman Ian Fury said it was “fully within the rules” for family members to join governors on flights, adding that “the level of fussiness is ridiculous because she does that stuff less than Dennis Daugaard,” referring to Noem’s Republican predecessor. .

The state plane logs of Linda, the wife of Daugaard’s last show, often joined the trips. Daugaard’s sister and daughter also joined one trip each in 2017 and 2016 respectively. Noem’s children — not including his daughter Kennedy Noem, a member of the governor’s staff as a political analyst — went on nine plane trips during his first term.

On another trip, Noem’s itinerary allowed her to return home for her son’s prom. On April 5, 2019, she flew from Watertown State, near her home in Castlewood, to Rapid City for an announcement at Ellsworth Air Force Base. On the return flight, the plane stopped in the capital Pierre to drop off Rounds, who had joined her for the trip, and several helpers. But even though she had another trip from Pierre to Las Vegas for a Republican Jewish Coalition event scheduled for the next day, Noem did not stay at the governor’s mansion there.

She flew to Watertown, near her home, in time to see her son take the stage at his prom, according to Noem’s social media posts. The state plane, meanwhile, returned to Pierre, to make the return trip to Watertown for the governor the following day.

Fury defended the trips because her trip started in Watertown, near where she had spoken at an event for her son’s school district the day before.

“Part of official travel comes from official travel,” Fury said.

He used a similar defense for a May 30, 2019 trip that started in Custer, where she was staying to help her daughter prepare for her wedding, and traveled the state to speak at two youth leadership events. . Noem’s son, nephew and one of their friends who were attending one of these events in Aberdeen returned on the official plane to join in the wedding preparations.

Fury said adding his son and friends to the flight didn’t cost the state extra money and was part of his official trip.

Richard Briffault, a Columbia Law School professor who specializes in government ethics, said Noem’s trips to political events appeared to fall into a legal gray area. While traveling to raise funds or campaign would clearly break the law, he said, traveling to meet with political groups was “pushing the line”.

Across the country, Democratic and Republican governors have come under scrutiny for their use of state planes. New York, Kentucky, Minnesota and Montana allow governors to play politics with state-owned aircraft, but impose certain restrictions and require refunds for political purposes. New York also allows immediate family members to travel with the governor.

Hughes County State’s Attorney Jessica LaMie, who was appointed to determine whether Noem broke the law, promised a “thorough” investigation.

“If you take away the title and all that, it’s no different than any other survey,” she said.

Neil Fulton, the dean of the University of South Dakota Law School who also served as Rounds’ chief of staff after the 2006 law was signed into law, said it was not entirely clear what the law means exactly by “state affairs”. He said other jurisdictions generally define affairs of state as “actions to advance state programs or initiatives.”

The law imposes high fines: $1,000 plus 10 times the cost of the trip. Offenders also face a Class 2 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail, but is generally only reserved for repeat offenders or violent repeat offenders.

“We weren’t expecting to convict anyone of anything,” said Nesiba, the state legislator. “We hoped to have a deterrent effect.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Biden-Harris administration announces $502 million for broadband internet in rural communities

September 22, 2022

Montana Economy

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The funding will provide high-speed Internet access to people and businesses in rural and remote areas in 20 states; Additional funding will come from President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act in the coming months

WASHINGTON, September 22, 2022 – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the department is providing $502 million in loans and grants (PDF, 221 KB) to provide high-speed Internet access to residents and rural businesses in 20 states. The funding is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to invest in rural infrastructure and provide reliable and affordable high-speed internet for all. The USDA is making the investments under the third round of funding for the ReConnect program. The Department will make additional investments for rural broadband internet in the coming months, including funding President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, which includes a historic $65 billion investment to expand the ‘affordable high-speed Internet to all communities in the United States.

“President Biden’s commitment to bringing high-speed internet to rural communities is fundamental to ensuring that the national economy continues to grow from the bottom up and down the middle,” Vilsack said. “High-speed Internet will improve the rural economy. It will help rural businesses grow and access new markets. It will help rural residents gain access to more and better health care and educational opportunities. The USDA knows that rural America is America’s backbone, and prosperity here means prosperity for everyone.

USDA awards 32 awards in Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming . Many of the awards will help rural people and businesses on tribal lands and people in socially vulnerable communities.

As part of today’s announcement:

  • In Michigan, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians receives $25 million grant to connect 1,217 people and 26 businesses to high-speed internet in Chippewa and Mackinac counties. The tribe will make high-speed internet affordable by requiring its service provider to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Program, which offers a rebate of up to $30 per month – or $75 per month for households on tribal lands – on household Internet bills, as well as the FCC’s Lifeline program. This project will serve Sault Ste. Marie Off-Reservation Trust Land, the Sault Ste. Marie Reservation as well as socially vulnerable communities in Chippewa and Mackinac counties.
  • Net Vision Communications LLC is receiving a $12.4 million loan to connect 4,587 people, 300 businesses, nine farms and 15 public schools to high-speed Internet in Barton County, Missouri. This project will serve socially vulnerable communities in the county.
  • Southern Plains Cable LLC in Oklahoma receives an $8.1 million loan and $8.1 million grant to deploy a fibre-to-the-premises network that will connect 7,093 people, 230 businesses, six farms and 29 high-speed Internet schools in Caddo, Comanche, Cotton and Grady counties. Southern Plains will make high-speed Internet affordable by participating in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline programs. This project will serve the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache-Fort Sill Apache Tribal Statistical Area as well as socially vulnerable communities in Cotton County.

The USDA has so far announced $858 million in ReConnect’s third round of funding and expects to make further investment announcements under this program in the coming weeks. Today’s announcement follows the Department’s July 28 announcement that it has invested $356 million through the ReConnect program to help very rural residents and businesses in 11 states (PDF, 192 KB) to access high-speed Internet.

Context: ReConnect program

To be eligible for ReConnect program funding, an applicant must serve an area where high-speed Internet service speeds are less than 100 megabits per second (Mbps) (download) and 20 Mbps (upload). The applicant must also commit to constructing facilities capable of providing high-speed Internet service at speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) to each location within its proposed service area.

To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, visit www.rd.usda.gov or contact the nearest USDA State Office of Rural Development.

Background: bipartisan infrastructure law

President Biden has forged consensus and compromise among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to demonstrate that our democracy can bring great victories to the American people. After decades of talk about rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, President Biden has introduced the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act – a historic investment in America that will change people’s lives for the better and shake things up. America again.

The bipartisan Infrastructure Act provides $65 billion to ensure that every American has access to affordable and reliable high-speed Internet through a historic investment in the deployment of broadband infrastructure. The legislation also lowers the costs of internet services and helps bridge the digital divide, so that more Americans can take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by internet access.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunity, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This aid supports the improvement of infrastructure; Business development; lodging; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed Internet access in rural, tribal and very poor areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the US food system with greater emphasis on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe food, healthy and nutritious in all communities, creating new markets and income streams for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in the rural America, and committing to equity across the department by removing systemic barriers and creating a workforce that is more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

If you would like to subscribe to USDA rural development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

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The USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

GOP attorneys general ask credit card companies to rescind new gun purchase code

September 20, 2022

Montana Economy

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Nearly two dozen Republican attorneys general are pushing back against a plan by major credit card companies to add a new code to categorize gun sales, saying it would do more harm than good.

The policy change from Visa, Mastercard and American Express was celebrated by gun control activists last week as a way to flag suspicious sales, but attorneys general say it misses the mark on security public and targets gun owners, the wall street journal reported Tuesday.

VISA JOINS MASTERCARD AND AMEX IN ARMY SALES CATEGORY

Semi-automatic handguns are displayed at Duke’s Sport Shop, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in New Castle, Pa.

(Keith Srakocic/AP)

“The categorization of the constitutionally protected right to purchase firearms unfairly targets law-abiding merchants and consumers,” attorneys general from 23 states wrote in a letter to the credit card companies.

Gun control advocates have urged the financial industry to play its part in helping curb mass shootings.

Gun rights groups have argued that the new code system punishes gun buyers and violates their Second Amendment rights.

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti and Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen are leading the campaign to get the credit card companies to back down.

“We will mobilize the full extent of our legal authority to protect our citizens and consumers from unlawful attempts to infringe on their constitutional rights,” their letter read.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Visa, Mastercard and American Express said the new codes would not infringe on anyone’s freedoms and said they would not block any purchases based strictly on the type of merchant code attached.

Black bear spotted in Upper Miller Creek neighborhood

September 18, 2022

Montana Economy

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This reporter and his wife were driving up St. Francis Drive and heading towards the intersection of St. Thomas Drive in the Upper Miller Creek area around 3:00 p.m. Sunday when we spotted a small black bear crossing the road and into a large lot belonging to one of our neighbors.

As we pulled off the road and called 9-1-1, the bear ran as fast as he could across the large lawn.

A large family group with a good-sized dog also spotted the bear, which ran from the yard until it was out of sight.

There are many houses in the area and many have large gardens and apple trees.

Since the bear was not acting threatening and was obviously trying to get away from people in the area as quickly as possible, 9-1-1 advised us to report to Missoula Bears dot org, this that we did.

According to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks bear specialist Jamie Jonkel, who recently spoke to KGVO News about such encounters, the bears are having a hard time finding enough food to prepare for their winter hibernation.

Jonkel took a very serious tone when discussing the bear problem in western Montana at this time, as the entire region was experiencing a “food shortage”.

“Right now we do have an ongoing food shortage,” he said. “We have black bears and grizzly bears all over region two, even in the Kalispell and Bozeman area. As a result, we have a lot of bears behaving a bit uncharacteristically. Either they totally ignore us or they try to get our apples. They try to get our hawthorn berries in the garden and if you have garbage there they will try to get your garbage.

Jonkel said the bears in particular were desperately hungry as they prepared for hibernation.

“Now this year, it’s so important from now on that everyone has all their attractions locked up, but they also have to be a little patient because the bears are desperate,” he said. “So if you have a crabapple tree and you live near a mountain or a stream, you’re going to have bears in your yard. It’s been a bad year for bears. So call us with information, but also be patient and realize that they are hurting and doing things a little differently this year.

If you see a bear in a residential area, report it to Missoula Bears dot org, or if the bear or any predator is acting threatening, call 9-1-1.

RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks

To determine the most popular national parks in the United States, Stacker compiled National Park Service data on the number of recreational visits to each site in 2020. Keep reading to discover the 50 most popular national parks in the United States , in reverse order from #50 to #1. And be sure to check with individual parks before your visit for current pandemic-related safety precautions at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

Get to know Missoula from A to Z

All about Missoula, Montana.

Blackfoot Nation Begins Implementation of Climate Change Adaptation Plan

September 17, 2022

Montana Economy

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The entire state has experienced some form of drought impact over the past two years, but there is no doubt that north-central Montana has experienced the most persistent and severe drought.

The Blackfoot Reservation encompasses approximately 1.5 million acres in some of the areas hardest hit by the drought. The economy of the reserve is largely based on agriculture and over 80% of the land is used for agriculture.

“The plant change is so big – we haven’t even had any berries this year. We actually have to turn around and go to a commercialized orchard,” says Terraine Edmo, Blackfeet Tribe’s climate change coordinator. The reserve faced problems with drought, extreme temperatures and early spring runoff. In 2018, the tribe released a Climate Adaptation Plan, which addresses the threats that climate change poses to the Blackfeet Nation.

The Blackfoot Climate Adaptation Plan includes 8 planning sectors, each with specific strategies and tactics, some of which are already being implemented. Planning areas include: agriculture, cultural resources and traditions, fisheries, forestry, human health, lands and ranges, water and wildlife.

The Blackfeet Tribe is the first tribe in the Pacific Northwest to execute a plan to combat the growing impacts of climate change. On Thursday, September 15, the Blackfeet Environmental Office hosted over 70 people from an assortment of local nonprofits, universities, government agencies and more to share some of these strategies, which are already integrated throughout the reserve.

Edmo explains that the tribe plans to share the process with other communities: “We wanted to protect our future and the most vulnerable populations, like our language, our animals, all our loved ones. We consider everything to be alive, everything has a spirit and With the planning process, we have kept our traditional and indigenous way of life at the fore. The drought has threatened not only the economy but also the culture of the Blackfeet tribe. Plants used in ceremonies have become more difficult to find due to the exceptionally dry conditions on the reservation.” The sweet grass that kicks off our ceremonies and the berries that we use in our ceremonies, those are really important necessities for us to carry out who we are as Piikani people,” says Terraine Edmo.

“It is a way of teaching our young students. The impacts of climate change have affected our most vulnerable populations, our young people. grandparents there. They can’t get in the landscape and teach them how to fish and hunt,” says Edmo. She also expresses that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the reserve hard and has impacted the health of many seniors.

Although the Blackfeet Tribe have faced their share of challenges, they are rich in resilience. “We are not the catastrophic type. We are critical thinkers. We have to go fast and roll with the punches.”

Student app is hacked, sending crude image to some New York schools

September 14, 2022

Montana Economy

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Seesaw is an app that empowers students to learn and engage in creative educational activities while giving teachers and parents insight into each student’s progress and thinking. The app has become particularly popular in recent years and is used by around 10 million students, teachers and parents, according to their website.

However, parents say the platform was hacked on Wednesday as some school districts in New York saw an explicit image posted in a message. NBC says districts in Oklahoma, Illinois and Texas were also affected.

hacker attack

Seesaw’s vice president of marketing said in an email that “specific user accounts were compromised by an outside actor,” though they didn’t say how many users were actually affected. A second email said the person or others involved had hacked into individual accounts, and not getting administrative access or Seesaw.

NBC says Castleton Elementary School, in Castleton-on-Hudson, had stated on its website that there was evidence of a security breach.

NBC says the image posted was an “infamous photo meme of a man engaged in an explicit act.” Vice News has obtained a screenshot of the image, revealing the ugly photo to the world.

Mayor de Blasio’s Snitch line is hit

At the start of COVID, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio set up a social distancing advice line for New Yorkers to report group gatherings and other violations to hopefully help to flatten the curve in the fight against COVID-19. Well, that didn’t go so well. Some people may not be too enthusiastic about reporting their friends and neighbors. or maybe we’re going crazy.

The NY Post reports that the anonymous whistleblower line has been bombarded and trolled with a series of photos of penises, photos of people with middle fingers, Hitler memes and other rude messages.

Some other witty entries included photos of Mayor De Blasio dropping the Staten Island Groundhog in 2014,

The Post says it’s uncertain whether any of the vulgar photos and comments are from people who actually lived in New York. No woman named Karen could be reached for comment at this time. Well, at least he tried.

WATCH: States with the most new small businesses per capita

US Hybrid to supply hybrid and electric street sweeper components

September 13, 2022

Montana Economy

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Ideanomics announced plans for its US subsidiary Hybrid to Global Environmental Products with its proprietary electric and hybrid drive kits to be used in building 62 zero-emission street sweepers. GEP will then supply the sweepers to New York, California, the city of Helena, Montana and Washington D.C.

The two companies GEP and US Hybrid have also cooperated in the past: dating back to 2009, the two companies launched their first hybrid electric street sweepers in New York. Meanwhile, the partners have also served customers in Japan. US Hybrid has also supplied a number of electric transit vans for public transportation operator Antelope Valley Transit Authority in California.

Regarding the breakdown of the order, GEP will supply 17 electric street sweepers to the California Department of Transportation. 30 plug-in hybrid electric street sweepers and seven all-electric street sweepers will go to New York, while the other all-electric street sweepers include two for the city of South San Francisco, three for Washington DC and two for the City of Helena , Montana.

“Together with GEP, we provide our customers across the United States with American-made zero-emission street sweepers featuring the best available technology pioneered by US Hybrid,” said Robin Mackie, president of Ideanomics Mobility. “This order, one of the largest to date, reflects a simple truth: zero-emission street sweepers are better for planet, communities and bottom line. Plus, every order supports the growth of America’s clean energy economy and green manufacturing jobs.

prnewswire.com

China quarantines students under strict COVID policy | health and fitness

September 11, 2022

Montana Economy

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PA

BEIJING (AP) — Nearly 500 students from China’s First College for Broadcast Journalists have been sent to a quarantine center after a handful of COVID-19 cases were detected in their dormitory.

The 488 students of the Communication University of China, along with 19 teachers and five assistants, were transferred by bus from Friday evening.

Quarantining anyone deemed to have been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus has been a mainstay of China’s strict “zero-COVID” policy. Quarantine centers include field hospitals as well as converted stadiums and exhibition centers which have been criticized for overcrowding, poor hygiene and spoiled food.

As of last week, around 65 million Chinese residents were under control despite only 1,248 new cases of domestic transmission reported on Sunday. Most of them were asymptomatic.

People also read…

The shutdowns have sparked online protests and clashes with health workers and police, and taken a heavy toll on the economy, affecting global supply chains for electronics and other goods. A week-long lockdown in China’s biggest city, Shanghai, over the summer has prompted an exodus of migrant workers and foreign businessmen.

With the release of economic data this week, analysts will seek to understand how China’s handling of the pandemic is affecting economic activity in the world’s second-largest economy. The confinements have been accompanied by almost daily tests, travel restrictions and the suspension of classes at all levels.

China has continued the relentless enforcement of the policy, even as virtually every other country has sought to return to normal life with vaccines and drugs to fight the virus.

“Zero COVID” is closely associated with President and Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, leading to accusations that the government has politicized a public health crisis. His administration rejected statements by the World Health Organization that the policy is unsustainable and refused to approve foreign vaccines that are widely considered more effective than those produced by Chinese companies.

Xi, who has not traveled abroad since the pandemic began in early 2020, has taken control of all the levers of power and set a confrontational tone for foreign policy, while sidelining or imprisoning his rivals. He has eliminated term limits for the presidency and is set to receive a third five-year term as communist leader at the party’s congress next month.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Board of directors asks about abortion rights in Michigan fall ballot

September 9, 2022

Montana Economy

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan election committee placed an abortion rights proposal in the fall ballot on Friday, obeying an order from the highest court in the state and closing a record-breaking petition campaign trying to change the state constitution.

The amendment would affirm Michigan’s right to make pregnancy-related decisions without interference, including abortion and other reproductive services such as birth control.

The Michigan Supreme Court ordered the Board of State Solicitors a day earlier to put him on the November 8 ballot. The board, made up of two Democrats and two Republicans, killed the proposal in a tie vote last weekGOP members siding with abortion opponents who said the petition had incorrect or no spacing between certain words.

Chief Justice Bridget McCormack derisively called it “a game of gotcha gone horribly wrong.” She said the words were legible and in the correct order.

Supporters had submitted more than 750,000 signatures, easily crossing the minimum threshold and setting a record for a ballot initiative in Michigan.

Abortion remained legal in the state even after the United States Supreme Court in June overturned Roe v. Wade. A 1931 law that criminalizes most abortions was suspended by a judge last spring and ruled unconstitutional this week.

But this decision can be appealed. If the voters approve the constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to abortion, any legal fight would be pointless.

A poll released this week by The Detroit News and WDIV-TV showed abortion and women’s rights were the top issues motivating Michigan residents to vote in November, ahead of inflation, education and the economy. . The poll showed a majority of likely voters supporting the amendment protect the right to abortion.

___

White reported from Detroit.

___

Joey Cappelletti is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on underreported issues.

Gavins Point Winter Outings Will Be Minimum Fares > Northwest Division > Northwest Division Press Releases

September 7, 2022

Montana Economy

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Drought conditions in the Missouri River basin above Sioux City, Iowa continued through August. According to the Master Manual and System Storage Audit of September 1, winter discharge from Gavins Point Dam will be 12,000 cubic feet per second (cfs), as part of overall water conservation measures.

While July brought much-needed moisture to the Missouri River basin, August showed a return to the hot, dry conditions seen in the basin for the past two seasons. August runoff was 0.9 MAF, 62% of average above Sioux City, and 0.6 MAF or 49% of average above Gavins Point Dam. The part of the basin that drains into Oahe Reservoir was particularly dry, seeing only 10% of its average August runoff. The 2022 calendar year forecast for the upper basin, updated September 1, is 20.2 million acre-feet (MAF), or 78% of the average. The average annual runoff for the upper basin is 25.8 MAF.

“Reservoir supplies in August were well below average. We expect below-average inflows to the system through the remainder of 2022,” said John Remus, head of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Division. American. “Based on storage in the system during the September 1 storage audit, Gavins Point winter releases will be 12,000 cfs for the second year in a row,” Remus added.

As of September 2, the total volume of water stored in the system was 50.2 MAF, which is 5.9 MAF below the base of the system’s flood control zone. System storage should continue to shrink throughout the fall. Updated reservoir studies indicate that system storage is expected to be greater than 8.4 MAF below flood control base at the start of the 2022 runoff season.

According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, drought conditions in the basin have worsened over the past month. Seventy-four percent of the basin is experiencing abnormally dry or drought conditions, including 7% extreme or exceptional drought. Northern Montana and southwestern Nebraska have exceptionally dry soil conditions. The September and seasonal drought outlook shows that the existing drought persists and extends into the basin through the end of November.


Navigation
The Gavins Point Dam releases will be configured to provide navigational stream support at a level of 500 cfs above minimum service to the four target locations (Sioux City, Omaha, Nebraska City and Kansas City). Flow targets may be missed to conserve water if there is no commercial shipping in a given reach. The season support will end on November 28 at the mouth of the Missouri River.

Winter Release Rate
In accordance with the criteria of the main manual, the winter discharge rate is determined based on the storage of the system on September 1. According to system storage as of September 1, winter releases from Gavins Point Dam will be at the minimum rate of 12,000 cfs. In anticipation of low winter discharges, a letter will be sent in early September to all water users downstream of the Gavins Point Dam informing them of the expected discharges and encouraging them to assess the risks to their facilities.


Monthly Water Management Conference Calls
The calls for water stewardship include an update on operations of the main Missouri River reservoir system. The next call for 2022 will be Thursday, September 8. All calls are recorded in their entirety and are publicly available on our website at https://go.usa.gov/xARQv.


Fall Public Meetings
The Northwest Division will host a series of town hall meetings the week of October 24-28. The dates and locations of the meetings are listed below.

  • October 24, Fort Peck, MT @ 11:30 a.m. MT – Fort Peck Interpretive Center
  • Oct. 24, Bismarck, ND at 5:00 p.m. CT – Bismarck State College
  • October 25, Ft Pierre, Sd @ 10:00 a.m. CT – Casey Tibbs Conference Center
  • October 25, Sioux City, IA @ 4:00 PM CT – Betty Strong Dating Center
  • October 26, Smithville, MO @ 11:00 a.m. CT – Jerry Litton Visitor Center
  • October 26, Nebraska City, NE @ 6:00 PM CT – Steinhart Lodge
  • Oct. 27, St. Louis, MO @ 10:30 a.m. CT – VIEW17



Reservoir Forecast:

  • Gavins Point Dam
    • Average releases last month – 28,900 cfs
    • Current circulation rate – 30,000 cfs (as of September 1)
    • Expected rejection rate – 30,000 cfs (month of September)
    • Reservoir level at the end of August – 1206.8 feet
    • Expected reservoir level at the end of September – 1207.5 feet
    • Notes: Discharges will be adjusted as needed to meet all downstream navigation targets.

  • Fort Randall Dam
    • Average releases last month – 28,100 cfs
    • Reservoir level at the end of August – 1354.9 feet
    • Expected reservoir level at the end of September – 1353.7 feet
    • Notes: Discharges will be adjusted as necessary to maintain the desired reservoir elevation at Gavins Point.

  • Big Bend Dam
    • Average releases last month – 28,800 cfs
    • Expected Average Reject Rate – 27,000 cfs
    • Expected tank level – 1420.4 feet

  • Oahe Dam
    • Average releases last month – 29,600 cfs
    • Expected Average Reject Rate – 27,000 cfs
    • Reservoir level at the end of August – 1596.0 feet
    • Expected reservoir level at the end of September – 1593.6 feet

  • garrison barrage
    • Average releases last month – 21,100 cfs
    • Current release rate – 21,000 cfs
    • Expected average rejection rate – reduce to 14,000 cfs by mid-September
    • Reservoir level at the end of August – 1835.6 feet
    • Expected reservoir level at the end of September – 1834.2 feet

  • Fort Peck Dam
    • Average releases last month – 7,800 cfs
    • Current release rate – 7,800 cfs
    • Expected average rejection rate – reduce to 4,000 cfs by mid-September
    • Reservoir level at the end of August – 2221.0 feet
    • Expected reservoir level at the end of September – 2220.4 feet

The projected reservoir flows and elevations discussed above are not definitive. Additional precipitation, lack of precipitation, or other circumstances could cause adjustments to reservoir release rates.


Hydroelectricity:
The six main power stations produced 886 million kWh of electricity in August. Typical energy production for the month of August is 1,011 million kWh. Power plants are expected to produce 7.3 billion kWh of electricity this year, compared to a long-term average of 9.4 billion kWh.

To view detailed three-week release forecasts for major dams, go to http://go.usa.gov/xVgWr.

MISSOURI RIVER MAIN RESERVOIR DATA
Pool elevation (feet above mean sea level) Stored water (1,000 acre-feet)
As of August 31 Variation in August As of August 31 % of the 1967-2020 average Variation in August

  • Fort Peck 2221.1 -1.1 12,249 84 -222
  • Garrison 1835.6 -2.4 17,175 96 -724
  • Ahoy 1596.0 -2.2 15 371 87 -651
  • Large bend 1420.7 -0.2 1673 98 -12
  • Fort Randall 1354.9 0.0 3,401,102 +8
  • Pointe Gavins 1206.8 +0.6 345 88 +12

Total 50,214 90 -1,589

WATER LAUNCHES AND ENERGY PRODUCTION FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST
Average release in 1,000 cfs Release in 1,000 acre-feet Production in millions of kWh

  • Fort Peck 7.8 479 74
  • Garrison 21.1 1,296,197
  • Ahoy 29.6 1,821,262
  • Big bend 28.8 1,773 97
  • Fort Randall 28.1 1,727,181
  • Pointe Gavins 28.9 1,778 73

Total 884

Russo-Ukrainian War: Weekly Recap and Looking Ahead (September 5)

September 5, 2022

Montana Economy

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As the week begins, here’s a preview and roundup of the main developments from the past week.

What to watch this week

On Monday, Brussels is hosting a meeting of the EU-Ukraine Association Council, whose agenda includes European Union support for Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion and Ukraine’s application for membership of the block.

On Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council is expected to meet, at Russia’s request, to discuss the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine following recent attacks, breakdowns and an international inspection of the plant.

Additionally, Boris Johnson’s tenure as UK Prime Minister is coming to an end. He won the praise and affection of Ukrainians as a strong supporter of Kyiv.

And Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to visit the Vostok military exercises in eastern Russia.

On Wednesday, the UN Security Council is to discuss forced displacement in Ukraine, as announced by France.

On Thursday, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield will outline Washington’s priorities at the UN General Assembly later this month. On Saturday, she will address global food security, which has also been affected by the war.

EU energy meetings are due to hold an extraordinary meeting on Friday following spikes in prices largely due to fallout from the war in Ukraine. In addition, EU economics and finance ministers and heads of central banks will also hold an informal meeting.

On Sunday, Russia holds gubernatorial elections in more than a dozen regions.

Meanwhile, security analysts will be watching developments as Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the south enters its second week.

what happened last week

August 29: Ukraine launches a counter-offensive in the south areas captured by Russian forces early in the war.

August 30: Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is dead at 91 years old. An interpreter who worked with him later told Reuters that Gorbachev was “shocked and bewildered” by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Putin did not attend the September 3 burial ceremony and the Kremlin gave him only limited state burials.

UNESCO said it supports Ukraine’s application for Odessa listing as a World Heritage Site.

August 31: EU countries decided to suspend visas for Russians but has not been the subject of an outright entry ban.

September 1st : international atomic energy agency inspectors visited Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, after a delay and attacks en route to the Russian-occupied factory.

The new from Ukraine the school year has started in the middle of a war. While some schools have started in person, most will try to hold classes online. More than 2,000 learning centers, from kindergartens to universities, have been damaged or destroyed, according to the Ministry of Education.

Russia has launched Vostok 2022, a week of military exercises with other countries. Some analysts say the drills reflect Moscow’s deepening ties with China and India.

September 2: President Biden asks Congress to approve 11.7 billion dollars for Ukraineincluding $7.2 billion for military spending and $4.5 billion for direct economic support.

September 3: The besieged Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was again destroyed its last external power line, but was still able to run electricity through a reserve line. Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of bombing the region.

Russian bombings hit Kharkiv in Ukraineto the northeast, and Mykolaiv to the south.

September 4: John Sullivan steps down as US Ambassador to Russia and will retire from public service, the US Embassy in Moscow announced. He was nominated in December 2019 by then-President Donald Trump and stayed on through a tumultuous time. Elizabeth Rood becomes charge d’affaires of the embassy until the arrival of Sullivan’s successor.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal visited Germany and spoke with its leaders about the war, Russian sanctions and Ukraine’s arms needs.

In depth

Ukraine’s southern offensive relies on heavy weapons. The soldiers say there are not enough.

Along the frontlines in eastern Ukraine, cut off from its resources, a resilient city holds firm.

What it is for Ukrainians who work in a nuclear power plant under Russian occupation.

Russian efforts to break up European energy unity appear to be failing, at least for now.

As inspectors leave Ukraine’s nuclear power plant, the mayor of a nearby town harbors high hopes.

What inspectors are looking for at Ukraine’s war-damaged Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

A Ukrainian neurologist from Kyiv returns with NPR, saying dozens of Western medical professionals have offered help since the first interview.

On the border between Latvia and Russia, the line lengthens and shortens.

A massive military aid package to Ukraine signals that the United States is at war for the long haul.

Special report

Russia’s war in Ukraine is changing the world: see its ripple effects around the globe.

Previous developments

You can read past recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more NPR coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR Ukrainian state podcast for updates throughout the day.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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People hate national parks and monuments until they don’t anymore

September 2, 2022

Montana Economy

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Last week, President Trump launched an unprecedented assault on US public lands when he ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to assess whether dozens of national monuments should be canceled or reduced.

Trump was responding to pressure from the Utah congressional delegation, which had long hated the Teddy Roosevelt-era Antiquities Act, the law that gives the president the power to protect lands and waters with physical or cultural attributes. exceptional. Some, but not all, Utahans are upset with President Obama’s creation of the 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument, as well as President Clinton’s 1996 designation of the Grand Staircase National Monument. – Escalante.

The long campaign against the Antiquities Act comes with a lot of searing rhetoric.

When Obama announced the creation of Bears Ears, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch said, “For Utahans in general, and for those in San Juan County, this is an affront of epic proportions and an attack on an entire way of life.

(Never mind that five Native American nations came together to support the monument and that it enjoyed deep support nationwide.)

During the signing ceremony for his new executive order, Trump said he would end the “abusive practice” of establishing national monuments, which he called a “massive federal land grab.”

(The president, who is clearly not a student of history, is apparently unaware that since the Antiquities Act was enacted, every president except George HW Bush has used it. Trump is also unaware of obviously the fact that the lands in question were already under federal control.)

Adding further disinformation to Trump’s statements, Interior Secretary Zinke said some national monuments are “off-limits to public access for grazing, fishing, mining, multiple uses, and even outdoor recreation”.

(Zinke—who, at a White House press conference the day before the order was signed, boasted that “no one loves our public lands” more than he does—should know. national monuments allow public access, and almost all of those in question permit outdoor recreation, including fishing, camping, hiking, and even hunting in some designations Livestock grazing is generally permitted where it existed before. The most commonly prohibited activities are logging, oil and gas drilling, mining, and sometimes areas are closed to off-road vehicles.)

Tell Home Secretary Ryan Zinke that our national monuments were created with overwhelming public support and must remain protected.

If all of Hatch’s, Trump’s and Zinke’s speeches sound predictable, that’s because you’ve heard them before. The anger directed at national monuments is history repeating itself. Secretary Zinke’s statement that “in some cases, monument designation may have resulted in lost jobs, lower wages and reduced public access” echoes arguments long made against parks and monuments. For more than a hundred years, voices have been raised against the “surpassing” of distant authorities.

But the predicted calamities almost never materialize. And the same voices that once warned of economies being destroyed by land protection are coming to understand that there is more value in protecting a place than stripping it of minerals and trees. There have always been people who hate parks and monuments, until they come to love them.

According to Thomas Power, a retired economist from the University of Montana, many people, when they think about land conservation, suffer from a sort of “rear-view mirror” effect. We look at which industries have boosted our economies in the past, but we often don’t know what is currently fueling our economies, let alone what might be important in the future. “Not only are there economic opportunities that come with protected lands, including tourism-related business ventures, but land protection has other less direct economic benefits,” Power wrote. “Wilderness and park designation create quality of life attributes that attract residents whose incomes do not depend on local employment in commercial material extraction activities from the natural landscape, but choose to relocate to a area to take advantage of its amenity values.”

This hindsight effect has always been one of the challenges of the conservation movement. It is only with hindsight that the protection of a place seems obvious; At the moment, any decision to protect the earth from our immediate needs requires a certain amount of courage.

Looking back, it is therefore instructive to look at various parks and monuments and remember how locals reacted to them when they were first established and how they perceive them now. A little history might give Trump, Zinke and others some perspective — and maybe even cool their histrionics.

yellowstone national park

Bison in a snowstorm, Blacktail Plateau, Yellowstone National Park

So: Opposition to parks and other protected lands began with the first-ever federal land withdrawal. When Congress declared the upper Yellowstone River the nation’s first national park in 1872, local reception to the news was negative. Montana’s Editors Helen’s Gazette said: “We consider the adoption of the law [to protect the area] as a great blow to the prosperity of the towns of Bozeman and Virginia City.

Now: Anyone who’s visited Bozeman recently knows it’s a prime location for new businesses and independent entrepreneurs out west, in part because of its proximity to Yellowstone National Park. Indeed, a recent economic study by Headwaters Economics found that visitors to Yellowstone in 2015 generated more than $110,000,000 in revenue for Montana’s economy.

National Monument/Grand Canyon National Park

Inner Colorado River Gorge from Tuweep Overlook, Grand Canyon National Park

So: In the 1880s, three bills to protect the canyon as a national park failed to gain traction in Congress due to local opposition. The Sun Williams A northern Arizona newspaper captured the common sentiment of the time when it editorialized that the idea for the national park represented an “evil, diabolical plan”, and that whoever spawned such an idea must have been ” nursed by a sow and raised by an idiot”. . . . The destiny of Arizona depends exclusively on the development of its mineral resources. In 1908, President Teddy Roosevelt used the Antiquities Act to establish the Grand Canyon National Monument. The Arizona congressional delegation was baffled by Roosevelt’s statement and succeeded in preventing any federal funding for park operations and attempted, unsuccessfully, to legally challenge Roosevelt’s monument designation.

Now: Local attitudes regarding the value of Grand Canyon National Park had reversed dramatically in 1994, when the Republican Congress shut down the federal government, including national park operations. Fearing a loss of tourism dollars, the state of Arizona offered to pay the costs of keeping Grand Canyon National Park open to the public. In 2016, Representative Raul Grijalva and conservation groups were urging President Obama to establish a Grand Canyon National Heritage Monument around the park. Some 80% of Arizona residents supported the idea.

Mount Olympus National Monument/Olympic National Park

Mount Olympus covered in glaciers, Olympic National Park

So: There was significant local opposition when President Teddy Roosevelt established a national monument on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula in 1909. Commercial logging interests were particularly angry. MJ Carrigan, the Seattle tax collector, railed against the monument, which became a national park under Franklin Delano Roosevelt:[We] would be silly to let a bunch of insane sentimentalists monopolize the resources of the Olympic Peninsula in order to preserve its landscape.

Now: US Representative for the region, Derek Kilmer, has proposed legislation to add additional areas around Olympic National Park. He’s a local and says he can’t imagine the area without the park. “As someone who grew up in Port Angeles, [Washington]I’ve always said that we don’t have to choose between economic growth and environmental protection.

Jackson Hole National Monument/Grand Teton National Park

Mount Moran reflected in Leigh Lake, Grand Teton National Park

So: When FDR used the Antiquities Act to create Jackson Hole National Monument (precursor to Grand Teton National Park), locals went nuts. Some feared that Jackson was becoming a “ghost town”. Wyoming’s congressional delegation introduced legislation to remove the monument.

Now: Today, the “ghost town” of Jackson is home to 22,000 “ghosts” and Teton County is Wyoming’s wealthiest county, with an unemployment rate of 2.6% and a median household income of 75,325. dollars, compared to $58,804 for Wyoming.

Glacier National Park

Mountain goat at Logan Pass Continental Divide, Glacier National Park

So: When Glacier was first protected as a national park in 1910, the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce officially opposed designation of the park, fearing the park would impede oil, gas, and logging operations. Residents submitted a petition to the federal government in 1914 to dismantle the park, arguing that “it is more important to provide homes for a land-hungry people than to lock up the land for a rich man’s playground than no one will or will ever use. .”

Now: Today, the same Kalispell Chamber of Commerce boasts of having the “best backyard in the country.” Half an hour to the east lies the rugged grandeur of Glacier National Park. And contrary to the claim that “no one will or will ever use” the park, according to the National Park Service, nearly 3 million people visited Glacier National Park in 2016.

Arches, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef and National Monuments/Zion National Parks and Canyonlands National Park

Looking from the Dollhouse to the Maze in Canyonlands National Park

So: Many national parks that anchor southern Utah’s economy, including Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Capitol Reef, were first protected in the 1920s and 1930s as national monuments. In the 1960s, efforts to make these places national parks and to create a Canyonlands National Park met with strong resistance from the oil and gas industry, ranchers, and the Utah senator. Wallace F. Bennett, who in 1962 predicted, “All commercial use and commercial activity would be forever banned and nearly all growth in southern Utah would be forever stunted.

Now: When congressional Republicans shut down the federal government in the fall of 2013, Utah state officials raced to keep the state’s five national parks open. The move came with a hefty price tag – around $167,000 a day to run the parks. In a 2014 speech to the Senate, Senator Hatch said, “We owe a debt of gratitude to the people, elected officials and citizens, who had the foresight to recognize the value of Canyonlands and created the park 50 years ago. year.

US exploits historic surpluses for tax cuts and refunds |

August 31, 2022

Montana Economy

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Fueled by the largest surplus in state history, Missouri’s Republican-led legislature has devised a $500 million plan to send one-time tax refunds to millions of households. In a shock to some, GOP Governor Mike Parson vetoed it.

Parson’s Objection: He wanted a bigger, longer lasting tax cut.

“Now is the time for the largest income tax cut in our state’s history,” Parson said as he called lawmakers back to a September special session to consider a permanent $700 tax cut. millions of dollars.

Upon its likely approval, Missouri will join at least 32 states that have already passed some type of tax cut or refund this year — a stunning outpouring of billions of tax dollars to the people. Idaho lawmakers are meeting Thursday to consider more tax relief, and Montana lawmakers are also considering a special session for tax relief.

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Thanks to federal pandemic assistance and their own rising tax revenues, states have cut personal and corporate income tax rates, expanded tax deductions for families and retirees, cut property taxes, eliminated sales taxes on groceries, and suspended fuel taxes to offset inflation. peak prices. Many also provided immediate tax refunds.

Republicans and Democrats joined the trend of lower taxes in a year of midterm elections.

Yet divisions have emerged over how far to go. While Democrats have generally favored targeted tax breaks and one-time rebates, some Republicans have pushed for permanent income tax rate cuts that could lower tax bills — and state revenues — for years to come. Parson describes it as “real and lasting relief”.

Some budget analysts warn that permanent tax cuts could strain states in a future recession. The US economy has contracted for two consecutive quarters this year, encountering an informal sign of recession.

“Quite simply, relying on the current surplus to fund permanent tax changes is neither fiscally viable nor fiscally responsible, and will ultimately require cuts to state services,” said Amy Blouin, President and CEO of the Missouri Budget Project, a nonprofit organization that analyzes tax policy.

For some states, the current surpluses are unlike anything they have seen before.

Fiscal 2022, which ended June 30 for most states, marked the second straight year of strong tax revenue growth after economic shutdowns triggered declines at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Many states reported their largest-ever surpluses, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers.

Nationally, inflation is at its highest level in 40 years, pushing up the prices of most goods and services and squeezing incomes.

At least 15 states have approved one-time rebates on their surpluses, including 10 led by Democratic governors and legislatures, four by Republicans and one — Virginia — with shared partisan control.

Although often popular, tax refunds do little to fight inflation and “may actually be counterproductive” by allowing additional consumer spending on scarce items and thus contributing to the rise prices, said Hernan Moscoso Boedo, an economist at the University of Cincinnati.

Yet large surpluses coupled with inflation make rebates a tempting option for politicians, especially during an election year.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican facing a re-election challenge from Democrat Stacey Abrams, has been among the most aggressive tax-relievers. He signed a law gradually reducing the income tax rate from 5.75% to 4.99%. He also signed a measure providing for a $1.1 billion tax refund, with up to $250 for individuals and $500 for couples. He proposed an additional $2 billion in income and property tax refunds.

Idaho Governor Brad Little, a Republican, recalled the Legislature for a special session beginning Thursday to consider more tax relief.

He proposes using part of the state’s projected $2 billion budget surplus for a $500 million income tax refund this year. He also wants to cut more than $150 million a year by creating a flat tax rate of 5.8% starting next year. It comes after the state cut the top tax rate in each of the past two years.

Montana lawmakers are debating whether to call a special session later in September to provide tax relief from a budget surplus. One proposal calls for rebates of $1,000 to homeowners who have paid property taxes in the past two years. It would also offer income tax refunds of $1,250 for individuals and $2,500 for couples.

The Republican House and Montana Senate Majority Leaders said in a joint statement that the discounts would provide assistance “as soon as possible for expenses such as gas, groceries, school supplies and much more. “. But some lawmakers, including term-limited GOP Rep. Frank Garner, have expressed reluctance.

“My first concern is whether this proposal is driven by an impending emergency or by those who want to write voters checks because their emergency is only an impending election,” Garner wrote in an op-ed column.

August shift work beats historic trends, sought-after soft landing remains intact

August 30, 2022

Montana Economy

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LOWELL, Massachusetts and WESTON, Florida –(BUSINESS WIRE)–UKG:

National overview:

The UKG Workforce Activity Report for August 2022 indicates the total number of shifts worked1 by people in American companies fell 0.8%, indicating modest signs of strength in the labor market for the sixth consecutive month. Overall, August beat historical trends, with the decline in shiftwork reaching only a fraction of the 2.4% drop recorded in August 2021. The hand recovery scale UKG labor rose 2.1 percentage points to 97.6% for the month. The services and distribution sector saw the largest decline (-1.6%), while the healthcare sector remained relatively stable (-0.1%) for the first time since March 2022.

UKG will discuss the results at a live market briefing on Tuesday, August 30 at 10 a.m. ET (US and Canada). Register to attend.

Comment:

Dave Gilbertson, Vice President, UKG

“The soft landing sought for the labor market seems to continue for another month. Despite significant economic headwinds, labor force activity in August showed signs of relative strength, especially when put into the context of the usual August performance. It looks like we’ve largely avoided the end-of-season dip in labor activity that happens this time every year, as more and more people take vacations before the end of the summer, which which can be attributed to both more people being hired and people taking less time off during uncertain times. . We have now seen six straight months of steady, mild month-over-month weakening.

Industry Analysis:

Shift work in the manufacturing sector declined after growth in June and July:

  • Health: -0.1%

  • Retail trade, hotels and restaurants: -0.1%

  • Manufacturing: -1.1%

  • Services and distribution: -1.6%

Overview of the region:

August beat historical trends, despite slight declines in all regions:

  • Northeast2: -0.1%

  • West3: -0.8%

  • Midwest4: -1.8%

  • South East5: -2.0%

Size of the company :

Shift growth increased as more people were hired and fewer took vacations:

  • Less than 100 employees: -1.6%

  • 101-500: -1.1%

  • 501-1000: -0.8%

  • 1,001-2,500: -1.5%

  • 2,501-5,000: 1.4%

  • Over 5,000: -0.2%

Opportunity:

The UKG Workforce Activity Report is a high-frequency index analyzing shift work trends for 4 million people across 35,000 US companies to understand job creation and economic dynamics.

About UKG

At UKG, our purpose is people. As strong believers in the power of culture and belonging as the secret to success, we champion exceptional workplaces and build lasting partnerships with our clients to show what is possible when companies invest in their people. . Born from a historic merger that created one of the world’s leading cloud HCM companies, our unique Life-work Technology approach to human resources, payroll and workforce management solutions for everyone helps more than 70,000 organizations worldwide in all sectors to anticipate and adapt to the needs of their employees beyond just work. To learn more, visit ukg.com.

Footnote 1: “Shifts worked” is a total derived from aggregated employee time and attendance data and reflects the number of times employees, particularly those who are paid hourly or who have to be physically present at a workplace to perform their work, “point”. and “check out” via clock, mobile app, computer, or other device at the start and end of each shift.

Footnote 2: Northeast is defined as Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

Footnote 3: West is defined as Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Footnote 4: The Midwest is defined as Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.

Footnote 5: Southeast is defined as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Copyright 2022 UKG Inc. All rights reserved. For a full list of UKG brands, please visit ukg.com/brands. All other trademarks, if any, are the property of their respective owners. All specifications are subject to change.

Follow UKG on Facebook, instagram, LinkedIn, Twitterand Youtube.

Business briefcases | local | helenair.com

August 28, 2022

Montana Economy

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Governor says state hits record high for workers

Gov. Greg Gianforte said Montana’s economy continued its strong growth in July, hitting a record high for the number of employed Montanans.

According to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, Montana’s labor force added 1,470 workers in July, while Montana’s total employment increased by 712. workers.

Job creation in Montana increased in July for the 27th consecutive month.

“With our focus on teaching trades and expanding opportunities for well-paying careers, more and more Montanese are returning to work,” Gianforte said in a news release, adding that record job growth alleviates the labor shortage and relieves employers who are hiring.

Private sector payrolls posted a net gain of 500 jobs in July, with health care and social assistance leading with 800 jobs added.

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Montana’s unemployment rate was 2.7% in July as labor force growth continued to outpace total employment, compared to 3.5% in the United States in July.

Electrify Big Sky event held in September

The inaugural Electrify the Big Sky conference will be held at the University of Montana on September 13 in the University Center Ballroom.

Electrify the Big Sky, which focuses on the opportunities and challenges of beneficial electrification, will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Missoula. The cost is $20 for the general public and includes breakfast and lunch. Admission is free for University of Montana students who register using the code provided on the website and present a student ID upon check-in.

Participants can register online at www.electrifythebigsky.com.

The Montana Electric Cooperative Association, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Beneficial Electrification League and the Missoula Electric Cooperative are the organizers of the event.

Conference topics include a panel discussion on electric vehicle adoption in Montana and hands-on sessions on home electrification projects, as well as breakout sessions on utility rate design, adequacy resources and opportunities for beneficial electrification, such as the use of electric water heaters to store energy. Other discussions will focus on beneficial electrification upgrades for new homes; what easy upgrades are available for existing homes, such as programmable thermostats, and an overview of renewable energy sources and home storage options.

There is also an electric vehicle and technology show, where attendees will have the opportunity to get acquainted with electric cars, lawn mowers, a garbage truck and a large tractor for agricultural use.

For more information, contact Ryan Hall at 406-761-8333

Montana joins Lithuania on lasers

The Montana Department of Commerce, in conjunction with the Montana Photonics Industry Alliance and the Lithuanian Laser Association, have partnered to produce virtual seminars to promote education on the laser, photonics, and photonics industries. optics while developing a network of business and academic contacts between Montana and Lithuania. , officials said recently.

“Since its inception, the program’s success has represented more than $4.5 billion in investments in Montana’s economy by adding value to the state’s natural resources, creating well-paying jobs and strengthening our tax base,” Montana Department of Commerce Director Scott Osterman said in an email. .

He said the seminars create a mutually beneficial relationship with Lithuania while promoting bilateral trade and investment in the laser, photonics and optics industries.

The first seminar on light detection and ranging was held in May. This technology uses eye-safe laser beams to create a 3D representation of the environment being studied and is essential for autonomous driving and similar applications.

Last month, the second seminar focused on the topic of quantum telecommunications and materials.

With nearly six times the land area, Montana has a third of the population of Lithuania. In 2020, Montana’s GDP was almost 80% of Lithuania’s; both have similar land use with about two-thirds privately owned.

Montana and Lithuania share a strong laser, photonics and optics industrial cluster that together employs more than 3,000 workers, paying salaries above relative averages, officials said.

Two other seminars are planned. For more information, visit COMMERCE.MT.GOV.

State Ag accepts applications for funding

The Montana Department of Agriculture reminds people that the Grow Through Farming program is accepting applications for this year’s funding round. The application deadline is September 12 at 5 p.m.

MDA staff will host a technical support call for interested parties Monday at noon. Join us by visiting the Department’s website at: https://agr.mt.gov/GTA.

The program was established by the Legislature to strengthen and diversify Montana’s agricultural industry by developing new agricultural products and processes. GTA grants and loans are made by the Agricultural Development Board, a seven-member board appointed by the Governor. GTA funding requires the investment of at least $1 in matching funds for every $1 in grant or loan received.

For more information about the Montana Department of Agriculture, visit agr.mt.gov.

Jacobsen addresses Helena’s Rotary Club

Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen addressed the Rotary Club of Helena Wednesday at the organization’s weekly meeting and provided members with updates from the Secretary of State’s office in which she discussed successes and goals achieved.






Christi Jacobson


Jacobsen touted Montana’s business-friendly climate and low business filing fees, including his recent cut that halved Montana’s business registration fees.

“By cutting red tape, thousands of businesses will benefit from estimated savings of more than $1 million per year. Montana saw record business growth in 2021, and we look forward to seeing this trend continue in the years to come. »

Jacobsen also updated Helena Rotary on the current cycle of midterm elections, including the June primary election reaching record turnout for a midterm primary in Montana.

Club members also received updates from the Montana Land Board, including the August meeting that generated an estimated revenue of more than $100,000 to benefit the Montana Common Schools Trust.

Laredo Oil Inc. (LRDC) Advances Drilling as 2023 Oil Demand Expected to Rise

August 26, 2022

Montana Economy

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  • OPEC releases ‘bullish’ forecast for oil demand to 2023
  • Healthy global economic growth, improving geopolitical developments and the containment of COVID-19 in China contribute to a positive projection
  • LRDC has leased 37,900 acres of minerals in Montana’s Western Williston Basin

Despite a slowing economy and fears of a recession, the oil and gas industry has rebounded strongly throughout 2021, with oil prices hitting their highest level in six years, according to a recent Deloitte report ( https://ibn.fm/aobNZ); OPEC’s recent bullish forecast for 2023 indicates that the upward trend may continue. This is good news for Laredo Oil (OTC: LRDC), an oil exploration and production company that is about to start drilling in Montana.

“OPEC expects global oil demand to rise in 2023, but at a slower pace than in 2022, the producer group said in its first forecast for next year, citing economic growth still robust and progress in containing COVID-19 in China,” Reuters reported (https://ibn.fm/wqA7A). “In a monthly report released on Tuesday, the…

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NOTICE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates regarding LRDC can be found in the company newsroom at https://ibn.fm/LRDC

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Tester Gets $15 Million From Bipartisan Infrastructure Act To Bring High-Speed ​​Internet To Rocky Boy

August 24, 2022

Montana Economy

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Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program to provide broadband infrastructure to 770 homes

As part of its recently signed bipartisan mandate Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act (IIJA) and the Consolidated Appropriation Act of 2021US Senator Jon Tester today got $15,300,356.84 in Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) to the Chippewa Cree Tribe to install broadband infrastructure and bring high-speed Internet to 770 homes on the Rocky Boy Reserve.

Tester was one of four other Democrats and five Republicans to negotiate the bipartisan IIJA, and was the only member of Montana’s congressional delegation to support the legislation.

“High-speed Internet is essential to the success of students, families and small businesses in the 21st century,” says Tester. “For too long, the federal government has ignored the needs of people in Indian Country, which is why I was proud to work with tribal leaders and secure important investments for their communities through my bipartisan infrastructure act. . These resources will allow people to stay connected, continue learning outside of the classroom, and help start and grow small businesses on the Rocky Boy reservation.

TBCP funding will go to the Chippewa Cree Tribe to install fiber and fixed wireless infrastructure to directly connect 770 Native American homes to high-speed fiber-to-the-home internet. The TBCP program was created and funded by the Consolidated Appropriation Act of 2021 and Tester’s IIJA provided an additional $2 billion to the program.

As part of Tester’s bipartisan IIJA, the administration announced its Internet for All initiative, which includes the TBCP, and will build Internet infrastructure, teach digital skills, and provide the technology needed to ensure that everyone in America — including rural communities, communities of color, and older Americans — have the access and skills they need to fully participate in the 21st century economy.

The tester worked across the aisle for months negotiating the Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act with a group of five Republicans, four Democrats and the White House, and he was the only member of the Montana congressional delegation to vote for it. The Tester Act is expected to create more than 800,000 American jobs and reduce costs for businesses by making targeted investments that will strengthen our nation without raising taxes on working families.

A list of the provisions of the legislation can be viewed HERE.

Daily Financial Regulation Update — Saturday, August 20, 2022 | Paul Hastings LLP

August 22, 2022

Montana Economy

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Major developments

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

FDIC sends cease-and-desist letters to five companies for making false or misleading crypto-related claims about deposit insurance

August 19, 2022

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has issued letters asking five companies and their officers, directors and employees to cease and desist from making false and misleading statements about FDIC deposit insurance and to take immediate corrective action to remedy such false or misleading statements pursuant to Section 18(a)(4) of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act and Part 328 of the FDIC Rules.

Federal agencies

US Department of Treasury

Treasury Approves Four Additional State Plans to Support Underserved Entrepreneurs and Small Business Growth Through the State’s Small Business Credit Initiative

August 19, 2022

The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that it had approved plans by the states of Colorado, Oregon, New York and Montana under the state’s Small Business Credit Initiative for funding of up to reach $750 million to expand access to capital for small businesses.

Security and Exchange Commission

Chairman Gensler’s remarks ahead of Reuters Events’ Responsible Business USA 2022

August 19, 2022

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler spoke ahead of Reuters’ Responsible Business USA 2022 Event.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Opening Remarks by Commissioner Kristin Johnson for the CFTC and OMWI Roundtable on Digital Assets and Financial Inclusion

August 19, 2022

Commodity Futures Trade Commissioner Kristin Johnson spoke about digital asset policy, innovation, legislation and regulation during a roundtable at the CFTC.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Blog: Why we’re modernizing the way we collect credit card data

August 19, 2022

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau published a blog post titled “Why We’re Modernizing How We Collect Credit Card Data.”

FINRA

FINRA Board of Governors Elects Eric Noll as Chairman

August 19, 2022

FINRA’s Board of Governors has elected current FINRA Public Governor Eric Noll as its next Chairman.

Banking Policy Institute

Proposed FDIC Deposit Insurance Rating Increase: A Threat to Small Businesses and the Economy, Based on Outdated Data

August 19, 2022

The Bank Policy Institute, American Bankers Association, Consumer Bankers Association, Independent Community Bankers of America, National Bankers Association, and Mid-Size Bank Coalition of America sent a comment letter to the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission on its proposed deposit insurance assessment rate increase.

International

bank of england

Article: The size-centrality relationship in production networks

August 19, 2022

The Bank of England has published a staff working paper titled “The Size-Centrality Relationship in Production Networks”.

Document: Firming price inflation

August 19, 2022

The Bank of England has released a staff working paper entitled “Firming up price inflation”.

UK Financial Conduct Authority

FCA warns Buy Now Pay Later companies against misleading ads

August 19, 2022

The Financial Conduct Authority has sent letters to the CEO to companies that offer Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) products stating that, while some deals are unregulated, financial promotions of all BNPL products must adhere to financial promotion rules .

Administrative changes

Vacant jobs

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

  • President – ​​Vacant (Martin Gruenberg is acting president)
  • Vice President – ​​Vacant

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

  • Controller – Vacant (Michael Hsu is Acting Controller)

Appointments/Confirmation Hearings

U.S. Treasury Department – Janet Yellen (effective January 26, 2021)

Federal Reserve Board – Jerome H. Powell (effective May 23, 2022)

  • Vice-President Lael Brainard (sworn in May 23, 2022)
  • Vice President for Oversight Michael Barr (sworn in July 19, 2022)
  • Governor Phillip N Jefferson (sworn in May 23, 2022)
  • Governor Lisa D. Cook (sworn in May 23, 2022)
  • Statement by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome H. Powell on his nomination by President Biden (November 22, 2021)
  • Statement by Governor Lael Brainard on her nomination by President Biden (November 22, 2021) (sworn on May 23, 2022)
  • Statement by Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen on Federal Reserve Appointments (November 22, 2021)
  • Statement from Secretary Walsh on Federal Reserve Appointments (November 22, 2021)
  • Brown’s Statement on Jerome Powell’s Renomination as Fed Chair (November 22, 2021)
  • Toomey’s Statement on Jerome Powell’s Renomination as Fed Chair (November 22, 2021)
  • Brown applauds Biden’s nomination of Governor Lael Brainard as vice president (November 22, 2021)
  • Brown Applauds Biden Nominees to Fed Board (January 14, 2022)
  • Toomey’s Statement on President Biden’s Fed Nominees (January 14, 2022)
  • Waters applauds appointments of Sarah Bloom Raskin, Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson to Federal Reserve leadership positions (January 14, 2022)
  • Statement by Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen on Federal Reserve Appointments (January 14, 2022)
  • Statement from the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Brown regarding the nomination of Dr. Lisa Cook (March 29, 2022)
  • Statement by Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee Toomey Regarding the Nomination of Dr. Lisa Cook (March 29, 2022)
  • Statement by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Brown on Nomination of Michael Barr as Federal Reserve Vice Chairman for Oversight (April 15, 2022)
  • Statement by Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Toomey on Nomination of Michael Barr as Federal Reserve Vice Chairman for Oversight (April 15, 2022)
  • Statement from the Chair of the Senate Banking Committee Regarding the Senate Confirmation of Dr. Lisa Cook (May 10, 2022)
  • Statement by a Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee Regarding the Senate Confirmation of Dr. Lisa Cook (May 10, 2022)
  • Jerome H. Powell sworn in for a second term as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (May 23, 2022)
  • Lael Brainard is sworn in as Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (May 23, 2022)
  • Lisa D. Cook sworn in as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (May 23, 2022)
  • Philip N. Jefferson sworn in as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (May 23, 2022)
  • Statement by the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee ahead of the confirmation vote for Michael Barr (July 13, 2022)
  • Statement by President Biden on confirming Michael Barr as Fed Vice Chairman (July 13, 2022)
  • Statement from CSBS President and CEO on Confirmation of Michael Barr as Vice President (July 14, 2022)
  • Michael S. Barr sworn in as Vice Chairman for Oversight of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (July 19, 2022)

Federal Reserve Bank of New York – John C. Williams (effective June 18, 2018)

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – Martin Gruenberg (Acting Chair, appointed February 5, 2022)

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Rohit Chopra (effective October 12, 2021)

Security and Exchange Commission – Gary Gensler (effective April 17, 2021)

  • LizAnn Eisen joins Corporate Finance Division as Deputy Director of Disclosure Program (January 27, 2022)
  • Lori H. Price named acting director of Office of Credit Ratings; Ahmed Abonamah leaves the SEC (February 1, 2022)
  • Philadelphia Regional Office Director Kelly L. Gibson Leaves SEC; Scott Thompson and Joy Thompson named co-acting office directors (February 11, 2022)
  • Joint Statement by the Chairman and SEC Commissioners on the Senate Confirmation of Jaime Lizárraga and Mark Uyeda (June 17, 2022)
  • CFTC Commissioner’s Statement on the Senate Confirmations of Mark Uyeda and Jaime Lizarraga (June 17, 2022)
  • Jaime Lizárraga sworn in as SEC commissioner (July 18, 2022)
  • Lori H. Price appointed Director of Credit Rating Bureau (August 12, 2022)

Small Business Administration – Isabella Casillas Guzman (effective March 16, 2021)

Commodity Futures Trading Commission – Rostin Behnam (effective December 17, 2021)

  • Kristin Johnson, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Commissioner Candidate (September 13, 2021)
  • Christy Goldsmith Romero, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Commissioner Candidate (September 13, 2021)
  • US Senate unanimously confirms Behnam as president (December 17, 2021)
  • CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam announces senior staff appointments (January 20, 2022)
  • CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam Appoints Initial CFTC Leadership (January 25, 2022)
  • Statement by CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam on the US Senate Confirmations of Christy Goldsmith Romero, Kristin N. Johnson, Summer Kristine Mersinger, and Caroline D. Pham (March 29, 2022)
  • CFTC Commissioner Pham Announces First Staff Appointments (April 22, 2022)
  • CFTC Commissioner Goldsmith Romero Announces Staff Appointments (April 27, 2022)
  • CFTC Commissioner Pham Announces Additional Appointments (May 13, 2022)
  • CFTC Commissioner Mersinger Announces Staff Appointments (May 16, 2022)

Financial Crimes Network

National Administration of Credit Unions – Todd M. Harper

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Marcia Fudge (effective March 10, 2021)

Federal Housing Finance Agency – Sandra L. Thompson, (confirmed May 25, 2022)

US Department of Education – Dr. Miguel Cardona (effective March 2, 2021)

PH Customer Alerts

Click here to learn more about our Coronavirus series.

Legislation/legislative updates

Click here to view the full text of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), Adopted March 27, 2020.

Click here to view the full text of the Expanding Paycheck Protection Program Act of 2020, Adopted April 24, 2020.

Click here to view the full text of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, Adopted on June 5, 2020.

Click here to view the full text of the Consolidated Credit Law, 2021, Adopted on December 27, 2020.

Click here to view the full text of the 2021 US bailout plan, Adopted March 11, 2021.

Click here to view the full text of the PPP Extension Act 2021, Adopted March 30, 2021.

Click here to see a current list of bills the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on Small Business.

Hannah Montana’s casting director reveals who Miley Cyrus beat out for the role

August 20, 2022

Montana Economy

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The Hannah Montana The series made Miley Cyrus a household name, but the role could have been a turning point for two other actresses.

Rumors have swirled that singer Belinda, known for her performance in Cheetah Girls 2, nearly landed the role of the beloved character. However, the Disney Channel show’s original casting director Lisa London has now put them to rest, revealing who almost helmed the teen hit, which ran from 2006 to 2011.

In a video shared on TikTok, London clarified that the Spanish-Mexican singer was, in fact, not in the running. In place, Gossip Girl star Taylor Momsen and Daniella Monet, who appeared on Nickelodeon Zoe 101 and Victorious, came close to snagging the plum gig.

HANNAH MONTANA, Miley Cyrus, (Season 1), 2006-, © Disney Channel / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Everett-Collection Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana

“I discovered Miley Cyrus,” London said. “I wanted everyone to know that Belinda, who is adorable by the way, was never in the top 3 for the role of Hannah.”

Pulling a visual aid as evidence, London shared a piece of paper containing a list of the three actresses vying for the role in 2005. The trio made it to the final round of those competing to play the high school student and undercover pop star, beating over a thousand girls who auditioned.

HANNAH MONTANA -

HANNAH MONTANA – ‘You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This Zit Is All About You’ – Hannah Montana will appear in her first major poster campaign, but when Miley takes a look, she discovers that a zit is on her has been added Face. Miley tries to hide her horror because Lilly has been feeling very embarrassed since losing her contacts and being stuck wearing glasses – and vows not to enter any future skateboarding competition. Rico tricks Jackson into serving as a magician’s assistant in order to get a raise, in “Hannah Montana,” which airs FRIDAY, AUGUST 12 (8:00-8:30 p.m. ET) on the Disney Channel. (DISNEY CHANNEL/BYRON COHEN) MILEY CYRUS; UNIVERSAL CITY, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 15: Actress Daniella Monet visits Hallmark Channel’s ‘Home & Family’ at Universal Studios Hollywood on January 15, 2020 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images); LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 22, 2022 Taylor Momsen poses in the iHeartRadio Music Awards – Press Room at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on March 22, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/FilmMagic)

DISNEY CHANNEL/BYRON COHEN; Paul Archuleta/Getty; Steve Granitz/FilmMagic Miley Cyrus; Daniella Monet; Taylor Momsen

London also noted that the character was originally named Chloe rather than Miley Stewart before Cyrus was cast.

The series became a global phenomenon, spawning the 2009 film Hannah Montana: The Movie. In March, Cyrus celebrated the show’s 15th anniversary with a heartfelt letter to fans.

“It’s been a while — 15 years to be exact — since the first time I slicked those blonde bangs down my forehead in the best attempt to conceal my identity,” she wrote. “Then I put on a vomit pink terrycloth bathrobe and bedazzled HM on the [heart].”

Hannah Montana is currently streaming on Disney+.

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Overview of the law: the delusions of a roommate are worrying

August 19, 2022

Montana Economy

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A resident concerned about her roommate’s behavior contacted the Columbia Falls Police Department after she began hallucinating.

The woman told officers the man had a history of substance abuse and had undergone treatment for alcohol and dust cleaner use. He was in the garage now, because he thought people were watching him. Earlier he was talking about the fact that there were people trying to set up an economy in their backyard. She thought he might use inhalants again. She told officers she had since left the house.

Someone knocked over several fences on Scenic Drive. The resident who reported it said it happened overnight. From their vantage point, they could see that the vandals also hit the neighbor’s fence.

Officers were made aware of possible abuse in or around Columbia Falls, but the caller provided only vague information.

Someone contacted the police after a man got into a fight with their daughter, even though she apparently punched him and left him with a bloody face.

A resident asked officers to come outside to look at his fence after seeing an unusual scene unfold right before his eyes. The man said a vehicle stopped on his property and a child jumped out and ran through it. Despite the incursion, the man said the fence appeared to be intact. He attributed it to TikTok’s Kool-Aid Man challenge.

Officers responded to a report of a group of children hanging out in a parking lot around 11 p.m. The miners were quickly sent home.

Police cornered a pair of campers on Rapids Avenue.

Officers running an additional patrol near the high school discovered an open door in the building. The door was secure and everything seemed OK.

A swerving Buick sedan prompted another motorist to contact authorities. They said the four-door nearly hit their vehicle head-on, then nearly hit a curb.

Dispatchers said they received a phone call from the payphone located in the police department lobby. They disconnected the call after it became clear the caller did not require first responder assistance.

A man allegedly jumped in front of vehicles.

Officers headed to a local watering hole for a report of a woman harassing a man at the bar. According to the caller, she slandered him and was generally disruptive. She left before the officers arrived.

Someone ran into a homeowner’s fence on Riparian Drive the night before around midnight.

New West: We, and much of the West, are locked in a mega-drought

August 15, 2022

Montana Economy

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By Todd Wilkinson EBS Columnist

We live in a time where some people would rather ignore the dots than start connecting them, or ponder the meaning of cause and effect, or believe that denying science is a less anxiety-inducing undertaking than seriously considering what which is before us.

Sometimes it’s hard to gauge what’s going on when you’re in the middle. Consider the indicators:

Regular and increasing summer tawny owl fishing and floating restrictions on our rivers; algae bloom on the lakes and even in the Gallatin. Although our immediate area has so far avoided large fires this summer thanks to a cool and wet late spring, we are by no means out of the woods.

Two years ago, a Labor Day weekend wildfire near the M Trail in Bozeman overtook the Bridgers and destroyed 68 structures, 30 of which were homes in Bridger Canyon. And this November, the Porcupine Fire burned down nearly 700 acres near Big Sky. Last summer the Shedhorn Fire up Taylor Fork south of Big Sky burned 75 acres and firefighters contained a burned tree on the South Fork loop. Currently, a dozen wildfires are burning in Montana.

Whitebark pines, whose cone seeds are an important source of nutrition for grizzly bears, continue to die off and are now being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The melting of the mountain snowpack usually occurs earlier. Wetlands dry up and disappear. Average temperatures are rising.

Last summer, a peer-reviewed analysis published in the journal “Science” suggests that much of the West, including southwestern Montana and much of Wyoming, is not suffering the consequences of a drought, but mega-drought. The study is titled “Great Contribution of Anthropogenic Warming to an Emerging Megadrought in North America.”

While the impact is most pronounced in the desert and far western states, the tentacles reach right into our backyards in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

“Severe and persistent 21stThe drought of the last century in southwestern North America motivates comparisons with medieval mega-droughts and questions about the role of anthropogenic factors. [human-caused] climate change,” write the nine authors. “We are using hydrological modeling and new reconstructions of 1,200-year-old tree rings, thus summer soil moisture, to demonstrate that the 2000-2018 drought was the second driest 19-year period since 800, surpassed only by a mega-drought of the late 1500s.”

Based on 31 different climate models, researchers believe that humans releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere are changing weather patterns and ocean water temperatures, resulting in less humidity, lower humidity and warmer temperatures.

According to them, human-caused climate change has helped turn what would normally be a drought event into a prolonged mega-drought.

One of the tools used to compare hot, dry periods of the past with the present are tree rings that allow scientists to go back in time. Outside of deserts, and particularly in forested areas, the researchers note that drought conditions are aggravated by drying of soils in summer, driven by human-induced warming via increased water evaporation and early loss of snow cover.

One way to think about it is this: a ski area can have a lot of powder in February, but if warmer temperatures cause it to melt earlier and the summer humidity doesn’t materialize or the rains are offset by scorching temperatures, the soils are drying out.

When soils dry up, grasses and forests dry up and become very vulnerable to fire, whether caused by lightning or man-made. No forest thinning will stop the drying out of the soil; in fact, logging, other studies note, can make matters worse.

In Greater Yellowstone, including the foothills of the mountains around Bozeman, Big Sky, Paradise Valley, and in the Tetons, thousands of homes have been built on the edge or inside the forests. Policy experts say they are the equivalent of people building homes in the floodplains of rivers or along ocean coasts where hurricanes roar ashore.

In many areas, insurance companies are either requiring homeowners to pay extremely high premiums or have announced that they will no longer pay damage claims to homeowners who choose to build in at-risk areas.

On top of that, firefighting costs are often borne by all US taxpayers. In recent years, these costs have consumed half of the US Forest Service’s budget, with a huge percentage related to defending structures on private land.

At the same time, the agency has faced unprecedented reductions in staff responsible for scientific research and wildlife stewardship, backcountry management, trail maintenance, law enforcement, monitoring livestock grazing allocations and restoration work.

While climate change means huge challenges related to fires and loss of property (including health issues from smoke), water availability, rangeland for wildlife and livestock , to agricultural production and the economy of outdoor recreation, in the desert southwest, it can be even more serious.

Tens of millions of Americans depend on melting snow and precipitation that comes from the Rocky Mountains and then, via river systems like Colorado, is tapped into states like Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and California downstream.

Lake Powell, a federal water supply project in southern Utah that was touted as an insurance policy against droughts and a source of economic prosperity through land development, crop irrigation and recreation, suffers from a “20-year drought” – the last 10 whose years have been described as extreme. This summer, water levels could reach 3,540 feet above sea level at Lake Powell, the lowest since 1968.

Experts say that today water has been over-allocated, meaning more has been allocated to different user groups than is generated in the system, especially during droughts. Although the transfer of agricultural water rights has bought the states of the Upper and Lower Colorado River Pacts time, many believe it is borrowed time.

Last summer, Montana State University’s Dr. Cathy Whitlock, Scott Bischke and others released the first-ever assessment that examines the ecological impacts of climate change on Greater Yellowstone. Look up. Analysis is another opportunity to connect the dots of scientific reality.

Todd Wilkinson is the founder of the Bozeman-based Mountain Journal (mountainjournal.org) and a correspondent for National Geographic and The Guardian. He is the author of numerous books, including his latest, “Ripple Effects: How to Save Yellowstone and America’s Most Iconic Wildlife Ecosystem”, available at mountainjournal.org.

This column has been updated from the original version published in EBS in April 2021.

Montana adds 1,824 cases, no new deaths

August 12, 2022

Montana Economy

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As of Friday morning, Montana confirmed 300,607 positive cases of COVID-19. Montana’s COVID-19 case tracking map shows 1,824 new confirmed cases. There are currently 2,099 active cases in the state.

According to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, 1,527,257 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered and 571,664 Montana residents are fully immunized.

In Missoula, 210,812 doses have been administered and 77,821 people are fully immunized. 64% of Missoula’s eligible population is fully immunized, which is the most tied in the state. You can find current case numbers from the City of Missoula Department of Health here.

The number of COVID-19-related deaths in the state was 3,481 on August 5, 2022 and remained at 3,481 on August 12, 2022, according to state health officials.

Here are the updated case totals in Montana:

Case of Yellowstone County:
46,503 Total | 318 Newly Reported | 501 Active

Case of Missoula County:
30,853 Total | 172 Newly Reported | 244 Active

Gallatin County case:
38,432 Total | 161 Newly Reported | 257 Active

Case of Cascade County:
27,250 | 158 Newly Reported | 200 assets

Flathead County case:
31,593 Total | 142 Newly Reported | 104 Active

Case of Lewis and Clark County:
20,002 Total | 134 Newly Reported | 64 Active

Big Horn County Case:
5,316 Total | 84 Newly Reported | 73 Active

Hill County Case:
4,970 | 56 Newly Reported | 24 active

Case of Rosebud County:
2,854 Total | 51 Newly Reported | 9 Active

Case of Ravalli County:
7,675 Total | 38 Newly Reported | 58 active

Blaine County case:
2,308 | 36 Newly Reported | 20 assets

Silver Bow County Case:
9,158 Total | 35 newly reported | 54 active

Case of Fergus County:
2,669 Total | 29 Newly Reported | 34 Active

Lake County case:
7,400 Total | 29 Newly Reported | 37 Active

Madison County case:
2,142 Total | 25 Newly Reported | 23 Active

Park County case:
4,804 Total | 25 Newly Reported | 34 Active

Case of Roosevelt County:
3,478 Total | 22 Newly Reported | 30 assets

Lincoln County Case:
5,171 Total | 20 newly reported | 31 Active

Case of Glacier County:
4,328 Total | 19 Newly Reported | 21 Active

Carbon County case:
2,245 | 17 Newly Reported | 13 Active

Case of Dawson County:
2,550 | 17 Newly Reported | 20 assets

Case of Deer Lodge County:
2,850 | 17 Newly Reported | 9 Active

Case of Chouteau County:
1,106 Total | 16 Newly Reported | 8 Active

Jefferson County Case:
2,882 Total | 16 Newly Reported | 14 Active

Pondera County Case:
1,327 | 16 Newly Reported | 17 Active

Powell County case:
2,059 Total | 15 Newly Reported | 15 active

Sanders County Case:
2,289 | 15 Newly Reported | 9 Active

Case of Custer County:
3,219 Total | 14 Newly Reported | 20 assets

Valley County case:
1,916 Total | 14 Newly Reported | 16 Active

Toole County case:
1,330 | 12 Newly Reported | 19 Active

Case of Beaverhead County:
2,315 | 11 Newly Reported | 20 assets

Granite County Case:
606 total | 9 Newly reported | 9 Active

Sheridan County case:
802 Full | 9 Newly reported | 16 Active

Case of Musselshell County:
982 Total | 8 Newly Reported | 12 Active

Richland County case:
2,775 Total | 8 Newly Reported | 3 Active

Broadwater County case:
1,391 Total | 7 Newly Reported | 3 Active

Case of the mineral county:
1,226 Total | 7 Newly Reported | 5 Active

Case of Wheatland County:
415 Total | 7 Newly Reported | 8 Active

Daniels County Case:
425 Overall | 6 Newly Reported | 4 Active

Case of Teton County:
1,409 Total | 6 Newly Reported | 2 active

Liberty County case:
449 Overall | 4 Newly Reported | 5 Active

Meagher County case:
497 Overall | 4 Newly Reported | 4 Active

Stillwater County case:
1,619 Total | 4 Newly Reported | 11 Active

Carter County Case:
270 Total | 3 Newly Reported | 3 Active

Case of Judith Basin County:
250 total | 2 Newly reported | 4 Active

Case of Powder River County:
388 Overall | 2 Newly reported | 2 active

Case of Prairie County:
277 Overall | 2 Newly reported | 3 Active

Case of Sweet Grass County:
841 Overall | 1 Newly reported | 5 Active

Case of the county of Wibaux:
211 totals | 1 Newly reported | 0 Active

Fallon County case:
707 Overall | 0 Newly reported | 1 Active

Garfield County Case:
243 Overall | 0 Newly reported | 0 Active

Case of Golden Valley County:
155 Overall | 0 Newly reported | 0 Active

McCone County Case:
406 Full | 0 Newly reported | 0 Active

Petroleum County Case:
35 Overall | 0 Newly reported | 0 Active

Phillips County case:
1,093 Total | 0 Newly reported | 0 Active

Case of Treasure County:
141 Overall | 0 Newly reported | 1 Active

Answers to 25 common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccinations against COVID-19 began being administered in the United States on December 14, 2020. The rapid rollout came just over a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from practical – how will I get vaccinated? – to science – how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to find answers to 25 common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

See striking photos of the tourism industry during COVID-19

Meet the Dallas 500: Rob C. Holmes

August 10, 2022

Montana Economy

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Over the past year, Texas Capital Bank President and CEO Rob Holmes has implemented a new company-wide strategy, recapitalized and restructured the company, increased the number employees in key departments and lines of business, more than doubled the bank’s front-line team and obtained FINRA Approval for its investment banking division and affiliate broker.

Most recently, Texas Capital Bank provided $5 million in funding to Lendistry, a minority-owned technology lender that aims to help underserved communities, to expand into Texas with an office in Dallas.

In Holmes’ Extended 2022 Dallas 500 Q&A, he talks about how many times it took him to score a second date with his wife, the future of fintech in banking, and much more.

Education: Southern Methodist University (MBA), University of Texas at Austin (BA-Economics)

Place of birth: Dallas, TX

First job: “My first job was packing groceries in a grocery store. This experience taught me very early on the importance of customer service and satisfaction. I learned that I really liked customer-facing roles and I’ve been in customer service my entire career. »

Best Advice: “One of my mentors and boss from very early in my career, who remains a mentor today, was discussing a promotion with me and he noted that in order for me to advance I didn’t need his vote, but from that of all my peers – which I try to win every day.

Having dinner : “I was having dinner with Robert B. Cullum who founded Tom Thumb and Page Drug, among other banners, years ago because he was very successful but also very civic with an exceptional focus on community. And he happens to be my grandfather. I would also invite Dan D. Rogers, vice president of Mercantile National Bank, who happens to be my great-grandfather, who could provide me with excellent advice and guidance.

Destination of choice: “When I have the chance to travel, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends in Big Sky, Montana. The beauty of the Pacific Northwest and the various fly fishing rivers are always a welcome retreat. That said, I’m a Texan and really love the rich history and diverse culture of South Texas.”

Non-profit cause: “I usually find myself involved in organizations and passionate about causes that support either underprivileged children or our country’s great veterans and first responders in our community.”

Hobbies/Hobbies: “My passion is my family. We are very close and spend as much time as possible together. I also enjoy fly fishing and quail hunting when I get the chance.

Fun fact: “I had to ask my wife, Charlyn, 7 times to go on a second date with me. She finally said yes.

Dream car: “I always wanted an older model Defender, but I could never justify the price.”

Most difficult challenge: “Two days in particular stand out for me as the toughest of my career: 9/11 and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008. I was in New York working on both days. I vividly remember seeing the second plane fly into the building and then seeing both buildings fall on 9/11. That night, I had to stay at my boss’ apartment, because I couldn’t go back to my hotel. I took a bus to work the next morning at 5:30 in Midtown. And I remember being one of the few to go out that morning. I went to work because other colleagues just couldn’t get in. And then I remember being at the bank on Sunday evening, September 14, 2008, when scenarios were discussed regarding the consequences of the failure of Lehman or other banks. The next day, Lehman filed the largest bankruptcy petition in US history, involving more than $600 billion in assets.

Moments of pride: “There is not one action I would like to report, but rather a series of regular and thoughtful actions each of which strengthens the team, the culture and the record that gives us the confidence to say firmly that we can offer something distinct to our customers and shareholders.. We know what this bank can be, and the significant actions of the last seven months have all been essential in setting up this next step.

Better DFW: “The social, economic and business transformation that Dallas has undergone over the past decade has already made it one of the most exciting, dynamic and desirable cities in the world in which to work, live or raise a family.”

Must read: “When I arrived at the bank, I made everyone read The cultural code by Daniel Coyle. It’s a transformative book about the power of high performing groups.

Bucket list: “The only thing on my bucket list right now would be to lead Texas Capital in a way that has a profound effect on the development and growth of the next generation of employees and their future success. In 2021, we launched the whole thing. the bank’s first junior program, and we are already seeing the impacts of this innovative and exciting group in our ranks.

Future forecast: “We are clearly located in one of the best markets in the country to offer customer solutions that will rival any competitor. We are more well capitalized than ever. And we have the leadership, talent and commitment to meet the challenges ahead and achieve our vision. We are building the leading financial services company in Texas, serving the best clients in our markets. »

Fintech innovations: “Our approach to responding to fintech innovation is less about adapting and more about keeping pace with digital change to meet the needs of our customers. Our hedging model outlined in our strategy is supported by several digital modernization initiatives focused on securing the right to do business with our customers. This means having APIs on key products that are integrated with our customers’ platform of choice, providing advanced analytics and data products that work seamlessly across our customers’ financial lifecycles, and optimizing for high contact and self-service.

“The broader fintech ecosystem is as accessible to us as it is to others. Our strategy to keep pace is to continuously analyze, innovate and/or acquire. We periodically analyze the market for new technologies and have deep insight into the fintech market through our technology banking business We are increasingly active in fintech and the broader tech community, actively partnering and acquiring key technologies that we believe will will help bring value to our customers.

Author

Ben Swanger is the associate editor of CEOthe business title of Magazine D. Ben manages the Dallas 500

Congress Passes CHIPS Act, Flathead Manufacturing Benefits Expected

August 8, 2022

Montana Economy

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President Joe Biden is about to sign into law the CHIPS and Science Act, a $280 billion piece of legislation recently passed by Congress and designed to strengthen the U.S. semiconductor industry and increase the country’s competitive advantage in China. The legislation is a welcome development for Flathead Valley, where Applied Materials, one of the nation’s largest semiconductor makers, operates 350,000 square feet of engineering and manufacturing space in Kalispell.

Applied Materials has been operating in the Flathead since 2009, when it acquired Kalispell-based semiconductor producer Semitool for $364 million, taking over its facilities off West Reserve Drive. Since then, its operations in the area have grown significantly, making it one of Flathead’s largest employers. In addition to the West Reserve Drive site, the company moved to the old Shopko building in Evergreen earlier this year, creating 200 new jobs in manufacturing, engineering and business administration. Today, Applied Materials employs 825 people in Flathead.

The semiconductor maker stands to benefit from recently passed legislation that offers $54 billion in grants for semiconductor manufacturing and research, tens of billions in funding for regional tech hubs and a tax credit that will cover 25% of investment in semiconductor manufacturing through 2026. Congressional architects of the act said passage of CHIPS will result in 300,000 well-paying jobs across the country, as well as significant progress towards a competitive advantage over the Chinese semiconductor industry.

“At a time when semiconductor leadership is more important than ever to the economy,” said Gary Dickerson, president and CEO of Applied Materials, “this crucial legislation will strengthen manufacturing and chip innovation, create jobs and strengthen the semiconductor supply chain in Montana and the United States. states.”

The CHIPS Act has won broad bipartisan support, a notable feat in a Congress that has been largely unable to overcome partisan gridlock in recent months. The Senate passed the bill 64 to 33 and the House, 243 to 187.

Montana Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., voted in favor of CHIPS.

“I fought for this bill to reverse the trend of outsourcing critical manufacturing to foreign countries and instead invest in rural America by stimulating high-tech production at home, strengthening supply chains supply and increasing domestic research and development,” Tester said in a statement. Release.

Daines released a statement echoing similar sentiments. “Investing in U.S. semiconductor production, innovation, STEM education, and R&D is critical to bolstering our national security, strengthening America’s position as a global leader, and winning the race against China.” , said the senator.

Rep. Matt Rosendale was in the minority to vote against the bill. On July 28, Rosendale retweeted a statement from the House Freedom Caucus, a conservative Republican congressional caucus, stating that CHIPS “not only adds $79 billion to the deficit, but is also loaded with crony capitalist papers, climate initiatives from the Green New Deal and Radicals’ woke politicians Worse still, its passage (sic) in the Senate – with the help of 17 Senate Republicans – opened the door to even more runaway spending in the Democrats’ reconciliation deal with $400 billion in spending on Liberal priorities and some $700 billion in tax hikes.

As the United States continues to struggle with a severe shortage of semiconductors, Montana lawmakers hope the CHIPS Act will boost manufacturing across the state, moving supply chains forward while strengthening the national economy. and local.

Montana, where American still works

August 6, 2022

Montana Economy

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I am a lucky American.

Thanks to my wife Colleen’s work as a travel agent, for the past two weeks I have been to Europe and back.

I was able to accompany Colleen, as I often do, when she took a tour group to the French wine region of Bordeaux.

While I was away, things seemed to start looking up a bit at home.

The Biden administration was still doing its best to cripple the economy, bankrupt the federal government, and destroy our energy industry with its senseless green policies.

But the stock market rebounded well.

National gasoline prices continued their slow slide towards $4.25 per gallon (except in California).

And Nancy Pelosi didn’t start World War III by visiting Taiwan.

While I was in Europe, a friend from Pittsburgh, a former journalist named Bill Steigerwald, drove from western Pennsylvania to Montana with his wife and daughter.

It’s a 1,900 mile road trip – one way – but Bill is used to driving across America and meeting strangers. He still thinks it’s fun at 74.

For decades he did what he calls “drive-thru journalism” for the Los Angeles Times (in the 1980s) and two Pittsburgh dailies.

And in 2010, for his book “Dogging Steinbeck,” he carefully traced John Steinbeck’s road trip around the United States in 1960 and turned it into his iconic bestseller “Travels With Charley.”

Bill drove alone, covered 11,276 miles in about 40 days, and met hundreds of Americans from Maine to California. Unlike many journalists, he liked 99.9% of the people he met.

Bill still meets – and, as he puts it, “softly asks” – people all the time when he travels.

This week, in an email from sparsely populated central Montana, he wrote, “Don’t worry too much about the future, Mike.

“Last week, I met half a dozen everyday hard-working people here proving that DC politicians can’t completely destroy America with their bad policies.”

In Lewistown, a population of 6,000, Bill said he met Brandon O’Halloran, a former schoolteacher in his 40s who owns and operates the Rising Trout Café on Main Street.

Brandon and his wife Mariah have three children and live on a small, all-organic ranch and wheat farm outside of town.

Three mornings a week, he comes in around 5:30 a.m., roasts his own coffee, and whips up a stack of cinnamon rolls and breakfast sandwiches.

“He’s optimistic, friendly and apolitical, a wise mix of liberal and conservative,” Bill wrote. “You would never know that the country is in trouble or that its wheat crop failed last year because of the weather.”

Bill is staying in his wife’s family’s log cabin in the dense forest near the thriving former silver mining town of Neihart, now home to around 50 people.

In “downtown” Neihart, on Highway 89, which passes through the mountainous Lewis & Clark National Forest and its few still-active Minutemen silos, is “The Inconvenience Store”.

A co-op, it is run on a shoestring and owned and managed by a dedicated team of colorful and friendly residents.

The invaluable store serves as a morning coffee for elders, a community center and is the only place for many miles where you can buy bread, milk and water.

Almost next door to the Co-op is Bob’s Bar Restaurant & Motel.

The modest combo was purchased about five years ago by a 40-something Indiana entrepreneur named Janice, who even cleans the rooms herself (to make sure they’re done right) .

Her funky bar caters to tourists, locals, skiers and passing bikers and she has just hired a new cook specializing in prime rib and grilled salmon.

Janice has the only gasoline for sale in 40 miles and she knows the locals depend on her.

“She charges $6.50 a gallon,” Bill reported.

“It’s stiff – but fair. When her two old gas pumps stop working due to vapor locks, she pulls out her gear and pumps out what you need herself.

That’s how America has always worked, Bill says — in the middle of Montana, anyway.

Michael Reagan, son of President Ronald Reagan, is an author, speaker, and president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation. Send comments to [email protected] and follow @reaganworld on Twitter.

Cannabis coffee pods are coming to Missouri — Greenway Magazine

August 3, 2022

Montana Economy

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This is the second partnership Missouri’s Own has formed with a non-cannabis company, following the recent launch of Twice Baked Red Hot. ripples with St. Louis-based chipmaker Old Vienna. Like the THC-infused chips, the cannabis-infused coffee pods are a first for Missouri.

“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with a local cannabis company dedicated to high-quality products,” Michelle said. Billonis, CEO of The Coffee Ethic. “We love that these products are sold at local dispensaries and boost our economy.”

ABOUT SHOW-ME ORGANICS

Show-me Organics, based in Springfield, Missouri, is committed to bringing world-class cannabis products to Missouri patients. A product-driven, patient-focused company, Show-Me Organics is the parent company of brands like Vivid, Blue Sage Cannabis Company, and Buoyant Bob. For more information, visit showmeorganics.com.

ABOUT VIVE

Long live combines the precision of modern science with traditional hash-making techniques, bringing products to Missouri that are at the forefront of cannabis innovation globally. Long live The wide range of products stems from the brand’s focus on different cannabis consumers and is based on the understanding that cannabis affects everyone differently. Learn more about vividcannabis.com.

ABOUT MISSOURI’S OWN

Missouri’s Own is an edibles brand from Vivid that launched in March. The brand celebrates Missouri’s vast botanical diversity with flavors inspired by locally grown fruits, such as papaya, raspberry, Concord grape and more. Missouri’s Own also celebrates the flavors of the state by partnering with locally loved brands to create cannabis-infused versions of iconic local foods.

ABOUT COFFEE ETHICS

The Coffee Ethic sources the highest quality coffees and is dedicated to the art and science of brewing. The mission is to serve everyone in the coffee community: growers, suppliers, vendors, customers, employees, our families and the community of Springfield. Founded in 2007, The Coffee Ethic aims to be a sustainable and enterprising company.

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Montana Democrats embrace new party platform ahead of election

August 1, 2022

Montana Economy

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Montana Democrats gathered in their historic stronghold of Butte this weekend for the party’s 2022 Platform Convention, reaffirming support for positions critical to the party’s identity after a year of Republican control of the party. state that saw a rapid advance in conservative policies emerging from Helena.

Amendments to the Democrats’ platform were generally statements of principle. The party, for example, now explicitly supports the right to access abortion and contraception and declares that the planet is in a “state of climate emergency”.

But delegates endorsed several new policy goals, such as restoring the Judicial Appointments Commission, which was eliminated by Republicans last session; the creation of a commission to investigate human rights abuses at the state’s historic residential schools; and supporting support programs for workers “dislocated” through a transition away from fossil fuels, among others.

It was a relatively stable affair, especially compared to the GOP platform’s own convention a few weeks prior, and given the issues Democrats identified ahead of the November election: the loss of two Democratic seats between either legislative chamber could give Republicans a bicameral supermajority, allowing lawmakers to pass constitutional amendment ballots and other measures that require a two-thirds vote without Democratic votes.

There were no stump speeches from top candidates or party luminaries. Monica Tranel, the party’s candidate for Montana’s Western US House District and probably Montana Democrats’ best chance of electing one of their own to Congress this year, given the deep red hue of the state’s Eastern District , was absent. Faction fighting over personality or politics was minimal, or at least private, largely sidelined in favor of technical debates over syntax and semicolons.

“We are united this November,” State Party Executive Director Sheila Hogan said in a statement. “The recent Republican convention revealed internal strife and a radical agenda. This weekend, Democrats presented a very different vision for Montana.

The platform “is extremely important because these are our beliefs and our value statements,” Rep. Mary Ann Dunwell, D-Helena, told the Montana Free Press. “We refer to our values ​​statements when working on legislation. When I again introduce a viable payroll for the Montanans, like I did for four different sessions, it’s in our platform.

As with the GOP convention, language is added to the party platform the same way a bill is amended or passed in the Legislative Assembly. Delegates separate into policy-specific board committees — outdoor recreation, health care and housing, for example — and then present the committee-approved amendments to the full convention. (Democrats’ board committees were open to the press; their equivalents at the GOP convention were not.)

Unlike the GOP platform, which, given the party’s near total control over state government, has a real chance of influencing or even becoming state policy, the Democratic platform is primarily ambitious and a statement of opposition to the conservatism that has come to dominate the state. Politics.

Indeed, the majority party has dominated the debates, with several amendments passed in direct response to bills or Republican votes over the past year.

In addition to new language on abortion and an amendment calling for the reinstatement of the Judicial Appointments Commission, convention delegates also passed an amendment calling for legislation to improve health care for veterans. “suffering injuries from toxic exposure during their military service”. Senator Jon Tester, Montana’s only Democrat to hold state or federal office, was a key driver of federal legislation to achieve this. But the PACT Act, as it is known, stalled in the US Senate last week after 25 Republicans, including Montana Sen. Steve Daines, voted against the measure.

And the Dems adopted language supporting local control and the separation of government powers, the latter a response to a high-profile dispute between legislative Republicans and the judiciary last year, as well as an opposing amendment to the “ filling” of local boards — a response to recent political disputes that have consumed local health, school and library boards across the state.

Along the same lines, delegates voted for plank language against censorship in public schools and libraries. “I know there’s a few tips I’d love to wrap up, but I’m in favor of that language,” joked Art Noonan, a longtime Butte Democrat and former party executive director.

Dunwell was responsible for new language calling for a “just and equitable property tax system” that adequately funds government services while protecting “ordinary Montanans from unaffordable tax hikes”.

It’s one of the few areas where Republicans and Democrats in Montana share common ground, though their respective methods for enacting property tax relief differ. The tax board committee spent much of its energy working on the language of the amendment to emphasize that wealthy Montanese and vacation home owners should not receive relief proportionate to Montanese on fixed incomes. or weak — an effort to distinguish the Democratic board from, say, CI-121, the ballot initiative to cap property taxes backed by Republican state auditor Troy Downing, among others. This initiative was not voted on this year.

“It wouldn’t have been based on your income, so it would have affected everyone, even wealthy homeowners who can pay property tax on a half-million-dollar house,” Dunwell told MTFP. , referring to the CI-121.

The convention also approved language calling for increased investment in housing affordability without giving up on environmental or labor regulations.

Underlying several of the amendments was a broad statement of opposition to any partisan effort to repeal or replace the 1972 Montana Constitution, the state’s guiding document and benchmark for Democrats on issues ranging from abortion to access to public lands to judicial appointments. In particular, Republican efforts to restrict or ban abortion in the state would require the reversal of state Supreme Court precedent tying access to the procedure to the Constitution’s broad privacy protections.

“We are the most protected citizens in the United States thanks to our Constitution,” said Evan Barrett, a longtime Butte Democrat and former director of business development under Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Hunting, Fishing, and Outdoor Recreation Committee delegates have frequently invoked the Constitution when approving language affirming support for Montana’s waterway access law. .

“I want to see fire. I want to see a fight.

Gallatin County Delegate Alex Newby

“You should ask yourself, do you support public hunting opportunities? Do you support public fishing opportunities? Do you support the outdoor economy and the jobs and businesses it supports? said Jayson O’Neill, a public lands activist and consultant for the Tranel campaign who introduced the language, referring to Republican efforts to boost private hunting. “If you do, you should side with the Democrats.”

One of the weekend’s most substantial debates over election strategy arose during the discussion of the outdoor recreation board.

“To me, it’s a problem that Democrats, if we play our cards right, can turn a lot of voters away from Republicans if we just go out and present the bare facts to the people of Montana,” said Alex Newby, a delegate of Gallatin County attending its first convention.

But Democrats, he argued, have taken support on the issue for granted and are not doing enough to send a direct message to conservative voters who might align themselves with the party on access to public lands.

“The assumption on the part of the Democrats that all types of hook and ball are on our side is not true,” said Art Noonan, who chaired the board committee. “It is divided on other issues – how they hunt, where they hunt, the issue of guns. This is a question where we have to say it again and again and again.

Access to public land isn’t the only issue on which Democrats risk ceding ground to Republicans, Newby later told the MTFP. Democrats, he said, have never campaigned in the conservative farming community where he grew up and struggle to connect their messages with the hearts of voters — a pressing concern given the party’s ambition to win at least one Republican-leaning seat in Congress, avoid a GOP legislative supermajority, and ultimately reclaim at least one seat of statewide power.

“I don’t know what the Montana Democrats are doing other than asking me for money,” he added. “I’m like, I don’t have any money and I don’t want to send you money because I don’t really see a lot of results. So stop praising you for the values ​​you stand for. I want to see some fire. I want to see a fight.

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Governor and MDLI chief economist paint rosy economic picture for Montana

July 31, 2022

Montana Economy

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Montana’s economic future looks bright, according to Barb Wagner, chief economist at the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.

Wagner joined Gov. Greg Gianforte at the Montana Chamber of Commerce’s mid-year economic update luncheon in Kalispell to discuss the labor market on July 28. Both offered good news regarding the growth of the state’s economy.

“Last year we had incredible growth,” Wagner said. “In 2021, Montana’s GDP grew 6.7%, which puts us 7th in the nation for GDP growth. In 2021, we added 19,600 jobs at 3.8%. That’s three times faster than our normal growth rate. More jobs in Montana were added in 2021 than any other year we started tracking growth in 1976.”

Among other accomplishments, Gianforte set a goal of creating 10,000 jobs with salaries in excess of $50,000 a year.

“We beat the number by 30% and created 13,000 jobs,” he said.

In the first six months of 2021, 500 new apprentices were added along with 40 new registered apprentice employers.

“We more than doubled the number of apprenticeships in 2021 compared to 2019,” Gianforte said.

Electrician apprenticeship ratios were also changed from two journeyman to one apprentice to one journeyman to two apprentices, quadrupling the number of apprenticeship opportunities.

Gianforte said he is focusing on upgrading infrastructure, expanding broadband, reforming the tax code, removing unnecessary barriers to professional licensing, lowering taxes and strengthening public education systems. and university. To achieve this, it set aside $275 million for broadband expansion and $444 million for critical water and sewer infrastructure.

“We are working with lawmakers to reform, roll back and repeal unnecessary regulations that are a wet blanket for business and make responsible long-term investments in infrastructure because it’s important to grow business and bridge the digital divide” , said Gianforte.

According to Gianforte, Montana is ranked the number one state in which to start a new business.

“We have recovered 146% of the jobs lost since the start of the pandemic. But we still have work to do,” he said. “We will continue to work to make Montana a sanctuary of freedom and free enterprise so Montanans can prosper.”

When the pandemic hit the country, US GDP fell 3.4%. Montana, however, fell only 1.3% and although employment fell 10% during this period due to business closures, Wagner said the state recovered quickly.

“Within 12 months we were back to where we were before,” Wagner said.

Such rapid growth has, however, brought some challenges, including labor shortages and inflation.

“It’s tough on the labor market and the supply chain when the growth is so fast. Even though it’s great, there are negative things,” Wagner said.

In April, Montana’s unemployment rate hit a record low of 2.3% and remains at an all-time low of 2.6%, according to Gianforte. This low unemployment rate, however, means that there are more jobs available than people, which explains the labor shortage. Job openings have also been created by workers who have quit and moved on to potentially higher-paying positions, Wagner said.

“That’s not a bad thing,” she said. “It’s just a hard adjustment to follow.”

Regarding wage gains, Wagner said, “Montana has the 10th fastest growing state over the past year…and has grown 21% over the past two years.” While a quick wage gain can turn into inflation, as higher prices are potentially passed on to consumers, there are other factors to consider. Wagner pointed to federal efforts to mitigate economic shocks from the pandemic as a potential factor.

For example, a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco showed that stimulus packages issued during the pandemic resulted in a 3% increase in the rate of inflation.

“Our stimulus packages were significantly larger than in other parts of the world. Right now inflation is 9% and we would be at 6% inflation if our stimulus packages had been the same size than those in other countries,” Wagner said.

Wagner analyzed age and industry trends in the state of Montana, concluding that “every industry has fully recovered and every age group has recovered its labor force participation rate. “.

“We actually have a higher GDP than if we didn’t have a pandemic,” she said.

Slow, steady growth is the ideal outcome for Montana’s economy, and Wagner believes a downturn is ahead.

“We have a really good cushion that we’ve developed over the last year,” she said. “If our economy slows down, I don’t worry about it. Our economy is getting to a pace where we can grow at a good pace, but not at the breakneck pace we were at before the year.

Montana adds 2,287 cases, six deaths

July 29, 2022

Montana Economy

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As of Friday morning, Montana confirmed 296,599 positive cases of COVID-19. Montana’s COVID-19 case tracking map shows 2,287 new confirmed cases. There are currently 2,654 active cases in the state.

According to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, 1,518,837 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered and 570,384 Montana residents are fully immunized.

In Missoula, 209,818 doses have been administered and 77,695 people are fully immunized. 64% of Missoula’s eligible population is fully immunized, which is the most tied in the state. You can find current case numbers from the City of Missoula Department of Health here.

The number of COVID-19-related deaths in the state rose from 3,467 on July 22, 2022 to 3,473 on July 29, 2022, according to state health officials.

Here are the updated case totals in Montana:

Case of Yellowstone County:
45,806 Total | 332 Newly Reported | 554 Active

Flathead County case:
31,296 Total | 246 Newly Reported | 184 Active

Gallatin County case:
38,035 Total | 246 Newly Reported | 378 Active

Case of Missoula County:
30,647 Total | 238 Newly Reported | 414 Active

Case of Lewis and Clark County:
19,726 Total | 194 Newly Reported | 88 Active

Cascade County Case:
26,962 Total | 172 Newly Reported | 242 Active

Hill County Case:
4,848 Total | 68 Newly Reported | 40 assets

Lake County case:
7,321 Total | 65 newly reported | 54 active

Case of Ravalli County:
7,591 Total | 56 Newly Reported | 74 Active

Blaine County case:
2,251 Total | 45 Newly Reported | 20 assets

Silver Bow County Case:
9,086 Total | 45 Newly Reported | 71 Active

Powell County case:
2,027 Total | 38 Newly Reported | 34 Active

Big Horn County Case:
5,158 Total | 34 Newly Reported | 39 Active

Park County case:
4,744 Total | 34 Newly Reported | 47 Active

Case of Custer County:
3,191 Total | 33 Newly Reported | 49 Active

Case of Rosebud County:
2,775 Total | 32 Newly Reported | 15 active

Lincoln County Case:
5,119 Total | 30 newly reported | 45 active

Case of Glacier County:
4,235 | 27 Newly Reported | 24 active

Madison County case:
2,070 | 27 Newly Reported | 30 assets

Case of Roosevelt County:
3,412 Total | 27 Newly Reported | 29 Active

Valley County case:
1,885 Total | 27 Newly Reported | 42 Active

Case of Deer Lodge County:
2,814 Total | 24 Newly Reported | 12 Active

Case of Dawson County:
2,493 Total | 23 Newly Reported | 26 Active

Jefferson County case:
2,849 Total | 21 Newly Reported | 25 active

Broadwater County case:
1,379 | 17 Newly Reported | 5 Active

Richland County case:
2,755 Total | 16 Newly Reported | 15 active

Carbon County case:
2,216 Total | 14 Newly Reported | 8 Active

Beaverhead County case:
2,290 | 12 Newly Reported | 21 Active

Pondera County Case:
1,302 | 11 Newly Reported | 17 Active

Sanders County Case:
2,264 Total | 11 Newly Reported | 12 Active

Case of Chouteau County:
1,085 | 10 Newly reported | 4 Active

Case of Musselshell County:
966 Total | 10 Newly reported | 14 Active

Case of Teton County:
1,398 Total | 10 Newly reported | 3 Active

Daniels County Case:
414 Total | 9 Newly Reported | 7 Active

Case of Fergus County:
2,621 Total | 8 Newly Reported | 16 Active

Toole County Case:
1,310 | 8 Newly Reported | 10 Active

Granite County Case:
596 Total | 7 Newly Reported | 6 Active

McCone County Case:
404 Full | 7 Newly Reported | 6 Active

Meagher County case:
488 Overall | 7 Newly Reported | 8 Active

Sheridan County case:
779 Total | 7 Newly Reported | 9 Active

Fallon County case:
706 Overall | 6 Newly Reported | 6 Active

Case of the mineral county:
1,215 | 6 Newly Reported | 4 Active

Case of Powder River County:
380 Overall | 5 Newly reported | 4 Active

Stillwater County case:
1,601 Total | 5 Newly reported | 5 Active

Case of Sweet Grass County:
829 Overall | 5 Newly reported | 5 Active

Liberty County case:
441 Overall | 4 Newly Reported | 3 Active

Case of the county of Wibaux:
210 Total | 3 Newly reported | 3 Active

Phillips County case:
1,091 Total | 2 Newly reported | 2 active

Carter County Case:
265 Overall | 1 Newly reported | 1 Active

Case of Judith Basin County:
245 Overall | 1 Newly reported | 2 active

Case of Prairie County:
274 Overall | 1 Newly reported | 3 Active

Garfield County case:
243 Overall | 0 Newly reported | 0 Active

Case of Golden Valley County:
154 Overall | 0 Newly reported | 1 Active

Petroleum County Case:
35 Overall | 0 Newly reported | 0 Active

Case of Treasure County:
139 Overall | 0 Newly reported | 0 Active

Case of Wheatland County:
406 Full | 0 Newly reported | 0 Active

Answers to 25 common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccinations against COVID-19 began being administered in the United States on December 14, 2020. The rapid rollout came just over a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from practical – how will I get vaccinated? – to science – how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to find answers to 25 common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

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The “Cowboy code” guides the governors of the West

July 27, 2022

Montana Economy

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HEART OF NAFTA – The first meeting of the Western Governors Association in three years brought together eight heads of state guided by the “cowboy code”.

They finish what they started, said WGA executive director Jim Ogsbury. When something needs to be done, they do it. It’s not what they say, it’s what they do.

Citing the 1934 novel “Code of the West” by Zane Gray, Ogsbury spoke of “unwritten rules centered on hospitality, fair play, loyalty and respect for the land”.

“For an individual, the Governors who join us for the 2022 WGA Annual Meeting this week personify these principles and carry out their responsibilities in accordance with these ageless ethical principles,” Ogsbury said.

The three-day conference which opened at the Coeur d’Alene Resort on Tuesday saw some of the West’s most influential men sit down for talks and presentations on the challenges facing them and their constituents. , including economy, energy, health, cybersecurity, supply chain issues and drought.

“It will be a very productive meeting here in Coeur d’Alene,” Colorado Governor Jared Polis said at a press conference.

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon said Yellowstone National Park, which recently suffered millions of dollars in historic flood damage, “is open, ready for business and going from strength to strength, and that’s thanks to the excellent neighborly relations that we maintain”.

“Western governors are focused on getting things done and tackling some of the most complex issues facing our country,” he said.

On day one, they heard from Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, Javier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and a five-person panel on the threat of wildfires and the best ways to prevent and fight them. forest fires.

The event hosted by Idaho Governor Brad Little also attracted Governors Doug Ducey (Arizona), David Ige (Hawaii), Greg Gianforte (Montana), Doug Burgum (North Dakota), Spencer Cox (Utah ) and Mark Gordon (Wyoming).

Little said their issues “are somewhat unique, but they’re also somewhat common.”

He said the interdependence of Western states is their “bread and butter”, creating effective partnerships and collaborations to address challenges such as land management, drought and invasive species.

“It’s the chemistry of all of us together and talking about what’s working and what’s not working, what we need to do better and how we need to plan for the future,” Little said.

He said states must leverage their resources to best utilize an aging workforce and address a shortage of affordable housing.

He pointed out that many western states are the fastest growing regions in the country.

“This community you’re in right now may be the fastest growing community in the United States, and we didn’t see it coming,” Little said. “It was a challenge for the state and then a challenge for the local community here. And we hope that some of the solutions to this incredible growth will be discussed here.

The annual meeting continues today with Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, outlining how states and the federal government can work together to help veterans facing homelessness, mental and behavioral health issues and medical needs. of combat service.

There will also be panel discussions on protecting the supply chain and restoring burned landscapes.

How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 is hurting blue states

July 25, 2022

Montana Economy

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) has been touted as a way to reduce the tax burden on the American people and increase the productivity of the American economy. At the heart of the TCJA was the cap on exemptions for the deduction of interest paid on real estate mortgages and the deduction of state income taxes from an individual’s federal income tax. The passage of the TCJA has hurt school funding for so-called blue states since blue states have traditionally had a higher tax rate to support their K1 through K12 school systems. The TCJA hasn’t hurt red states as much since many red states have Sovereign Wealth Wealth Funds (SWFs) that typically fund K1 through K12 school systems and therefore don’t need the additional income of an income tax of the state to fund their education systems.

The TCJA ignored the fact that not all investment income from SWFs is taxable income. The Republican Party designed the TCJA to restrict educational benefits in typically Democratic states, economically punish blue states for their economic choices, and reduce the ability of blue states to fund adequate education for their children. By maintaining tax-exempt status on the investment income of state sovereign wealth funds, the Republican Party has maintained the ability of predominantly Republican states to continue funding their children’s education, rather than promoting economic security. of the American people as a whole.

There are 21 sovereign wealth funds

At the level of the associated States of the Union

While there are 21 sovereign wealth funds at the level of the associated states of the Union, only 20 states have sovereign wealth funds, Texas having two funds.

The first sovereign wealth funds began with the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. The Ordinance of 1875 provided that the western lands were to be surveyed and divided into townships of seven square miles, then divided into 36 sections. For each township, the central lot, described as lot number 16 for each township, should be reserved for the maintenance of public schools in each township.

The Northwest Ordinance was a more formal mechanism by which states could seek entry as an associated state into the Union. Each territory applying for statehood should have an enabling law that would define the specific land grant for maintaining a public school system. These early attempts to set up a public school system did not provide for a legal trust fund, for the maintenance and investment of any income derived from these plots of land. The incoming states also had considerable leeway in deciding what to do with these specific land grants and how to manage them.

Many states immediately sold these plots of land to raise funds for the establishment of the public school system in the new state. It will be necessary to wait until 1835 for the territory of Michigan to establish the first permanent fund. Other states entering the Union followed Michigan’s example, but it was not until 1875 that the federal government specifically explained to territories entering the Union how they should use land for agricultural purposes. public education.

Severance tax funds began to appear in the 1930s when the state of New Mexico began using the concept of taxing the extraction of mineral wealth from state public lands. On March 1, 1937, the state of New Mexico began imposing a severance tax on mineral wealth extracted from state lands. In 2018, New Mexico had a valuation of $23 billion. 75% of the investment income from this fund is allocated to New Mexico’s education system, and the remaining 25% is used for other state obligations.

Many oil companies felt that the departure tax was unconstitutional and began a series of lawsuits. In 1981, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Commonwealth Edison v. Montana that the state of Montana had the right to impose such a tax on oil companies.

States that have a sovereign wealth fund for educational purposes and to offset costs to the state government are listed here:

State Main source of income Date of creation Valuation 10/21* Earnings*

Colorado Oil, coal and gas 1876 $1.321 billion $130 million

Alaska Oil 1976 $79.4 billion $16.1 billion

Alabama Oil and Gas 1985 $3.67 billion $900 million

Idaho Lumber Sales 1890 $3.16 billion $197.0 million

Louisiana Minerals 1986 $6.5 billion Unknown

Minnesota Land 1858 $1.5 billion Unknown

Mississippi Lumber, oil, gas, etc. 1817 $60 million $14.4 million

Montana Oil, Investment, XXXXXX $62 million NA

Pasture, agricultural 1889

Nebraska Ag leases 1867 NA$536 million

Nevada Land Sales, Unclaimed Estates, and Criminal Laws and Fines

XXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX 1917 $365 million $15.8 million

New Mexico Oil and Gas 1958 $34 billion $2.2 billion

North Dakota Oil and Gas 2011 $8.24 billion $564 million

Oklahoma Oil, gas and investments 1906 $1.8 billion Unknown

Oregon Investments 1859 $1.6 billion $149 million

South Dakota Oil, gas and leases 1889 $18.4 billion $2.7 billion

Texas SF Oil and Gas 1854 $58.5 billion $8.6 billion

Texas UF Oil and Gas 1876 $31.9 billion Unknown

Utah Oil and Gas 1896 $2.5 billion $82 million

Washington Wood 1894 $1.1 billion $101.5 million

Wisconsin Unclaimed and XXXXX XXXXXXXXX

Dormant property 1848 $31 million NA

Wyoming Oil and Gas 1974 $7.9 billion $301 million

(* Figures given in this article are based on the best information available to the public. Several of the SWFs are so opaque that it was impossible to provide income even after contacting the SWFs directly. ‘a sovereign wealth fund has not been found, the information used is taken from the article: North American Dream: The Rise of US and Canadian Sovereign Wealth by Dr. Paul Rose published on May 6, 2014 at Moritz College of Law in Ohio State University)

National sovereign wealth funds

And investment income is not taxable

For decades, the so-called red states have campaigned against allowing wealthier blue states to be able to deduct their income taxes and home interest payments from their federal income tax. With the passage of the TCJA, these deductions were removed and a single cap of $10,000 was imposed primarily on blue states. The TCJA did not take into consideration the tax-exempt status of sovereign wealth funds in the United States, nor the profits of sovereign wealth funds, thus making this wealth invisible to the federal government.

When the federal government decides to allocate funds to the associated states of the Union, the main factor in this decision-making is based on need.

ELEMENTS INCLUDED IN ALLOCATION FORMULAS

The elements included in the formulas vary widely among currently active programs. Most programs use one or more of the following:

A direct or indirect measure of need, such as the number of school-aged children living in poverty, the number of overcrowded housing units in an area, or the number of reported AIDS cases.

A measure of an area’s ability or capacity to meet need

state, local or private funds. Typical measures used are per capita income and total taxable resources.

A threshold, which requires a minimum level of need before an area is eligible for funds under the program. In some programs, thresholds are used to target resources to areas of greatest need.

A minimum amount to be received by each state or other jurisdiction.

A disclaimer, which limits decreases in amounts received by areas from one period (usually one fiscal year) to the next.

The inclusion of such particularities sometimes requires the use of relatively complicated iterative procedures to determine the allocation of a fixed total allocation to eligible jurisdictions.

Because the accumulated wealth of sovereign wealth funds is invisible to the federal government when it distributes tax revenues among the associated states, current tax policies punish high-tax states and reward high-tax states. weak. This means that the majority of redistributed federal tax goes from blue states to red states.

Republican states, through their actions in freeing up their sovereign wealth funds and income taxes, and at the same time accessing state treasuries that are needed to provide a good education to their people, are able to have their cake and eat it too.

Keystone Pipeline won’t make gas cheaper – The Journal

July 23, 2022

Montana Economy

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Ever since boycotts began blocking Russian petroleum products, social media has been teeming with memes attributing rising gas prices to “the cancellation of the Keystone pipeline.”

Example: “Oh! Ask a buddy.

Most criticism comes from people who recycle truthfulness. Former Vice President Mike Pence: “Gas prices have gone up nationwide because of this administration’s war on energy – the shutdown of the Keystone pipeline.” Republican Rep. Jim Jordan: “Biden shut down the Keystone pipeline.

Here’s what really happened: No one shut down, canceled, or closed the Keystone pipeline. It is fully operational and delivering 590,000 barrels of tar sands oil daily in Canada to US refineries.

What some pipeline proponents think is that the “Keystone Pipeline” is a 1,700 mile “shortcut” called Keystone XL or KXL. It would have traveled through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast of Texas, delivering 830,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day. Many residents of these states fought fiercely against the pipeline that ran through their territory.

Now, “Build the Keystone Pipeline” has become a social media mantra, as if the United States could decree it. Canadian company TC Energy, formerly TransCanada, officially ended the project after President Biden withdrew his permits.

Even if construction of the pipeline began tomorrow, KXL could not be operational in less than five years.

When President Trump reauthorized KXL in 2017, his own State Department indicated that he would not reduce gasoline prices. The price of oil is set by the world market and certainly not by American presidents.

Let’s not forget either that the extraction of gasoline from tar sands oil, the dirtiest oil on the planet, is much more polluting and energy-intensive than conventional refining. Some of the carbon content is burned off in a process that spews greenhouse gases and generates toxic waste called petroleum coke, which is dumped in the United States in heaps six stories high. Petroleum coke seeps into schools and homes even when the windows are closed.

Bitumen, essentially asphalt, continues to be surface mined from what were once Canada’s boreal forests in Alberta. Too thick to pipe, it is enriched with volatile liquid natural gas condensate and thus converted into a toxic oil sands cocktail called “dilbit”, short for diluted bitumen. The dilbit, sent through the existing Keystone pipeline, contains chloride salts, sulfur, abrasive minerals and acids, and must be pumped under high pressure. It’s a murder on pipes.

In addition to greenhouse gases and petroleum coke, oil sands waste includes lakes, rivers, fish, wildlife and humans. Between 1995 and 2006, as oil sands extraction accelerated, First Nations in Alberta experienced a sudden 30% increase in cancer rates.

KXL, if built, also threatened the largest aquifer in the world – the Ogallala. Parts of the aquifer are now depleted and a major dilbit spill could complete those parts.

In 2011, a pipeline representative named Shawn Howard assured me that driving a dilbit pipe into the Ogallala aquifer would be risk-free.

“Why,” he asked, “would we invest $13 billion in a pipeline and put a product in it that was going to destroy it like these activists trot out? It makes absolutely no business sense.

The existing Keystone pipeline has ruptured 22 times, including spills in 2017 and 2019 that polluted land and water with 404,000 gallons of dilbit. Business acumen, as the oil industry constantly reminds us, is an attribute more often desired than possessed.

Ted Williams is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a nonprofit dedicated to stimulating conversation about the West. He writes about fish, wildlife and the environment.

Workers in red states are quitting their jobs at higher rates and why that may be a good sign

July 21, 2022

Montana Economy

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Employees in Republican states have a higher quit rate than those governed by Democrats, potentially indicating a safer work environment in red states.

Of the top 10 states with the highest quit rates over the past 12 months, eight are Republicans, according to data from WalletHub. This includes Alaska with a 12-month quit rate of 4.18%, followed by Kentucky with 3.74%, Montana with 3.69%, Wyoming with 3.66%, Mississippi with 3.53 %, Idaho with 3.48%, South Carolina with 3.48% and Indiana with 3.42 percent.

The only two Democratic states in the top 10 were Georgia and Arizona in second and tenth place, with 12-month quit rates of 3.86% and 3.37%, respectively.

Employee quit rates tend to be higher when workers are confident of finding another job, which requires a robust economy.

“Higher quit rates are a sign of worker confidence,” Julia Pollak, chief economist at jobs site Zip Recruiter, told MarketPlace in a recent interview.

“When there are more jobs, you’re more likely to pop in and apply for a new one,” she added, according to the outlet.

In a July 5 article, The Wall Street Journal reported that the COVID-19 pandemic “changed the geography” of the US economy as red states recovered economically faster than blue states. Workers moved from the coasts to the central United States and Florida.

The share of jobs in Republican states has increased by more than half a percentage point since February 2020, according to analysis conducted by the Brookings Institution. In May 2022, red states added 341,000 jobs, while blue states lost 1.3 million jobs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a change in the structure of employment, as more and more companies have opted for remote work. This has allowed many employees to move to red states that have cheaper housing, lower taxes, and less traffic.

Business friendliness

Red states are comparatively more conducive to a business environment, according to CNBC’s 2022 “America’s Top States for Business” ranking. The ranking takes into account 88 metrics spread over 10 major categories. Republican states in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains regions are dominated in the “business friendliness” category.

Leading the category was North Dakota, followed by Wyoming, Idaho and Montana in second, third and fifth place. They are all Republican states. Arizona, which placed fourth, was the only blue state in the top five.

“Companies are following the path of least resistance,” CNBC analysts said of the business friendliness metric. “This includes a legal and regulatory framework that does not overburden businesses.”

Regarding the overall employment situation across the country, Colin Corbett, an assistant professor of economics at Bradley University, told WalletHub that young workers have re-entered the labor market at levels almost pre- pandemic.

“Older workers who have retired are unlikely to re-enter the workforce unless there is a dramatic change in economic conditions and the willingness of employers to hire them,” Corbett said.

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Naveen Athrappully is a reporter who covers world affairs and events at The Epoch Times.

CUNA’s Stverak: CUs continue to meet needs in a difficult economy | 2022-07-15

July 15, 2022

Montana Economy

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Credit unions are invested in their communities because they are part of the community, Jason Stverak, CUNA’s deputy advocacy director for congressional relations, said on AM 1100 The Flag this week. Stverak spoke with host Scott Hennan on issues including rising consumer costs, the role of community financial institutions and the business lending climate.

“We don’t see the signs of a healthy, growing economy,” he said, adding that consumers “are increasingly turning to their community financial institutions like credit unions to solve the problem: how are they dealing with these tough financial times?”

Stverak also noted that credit unions continue to find ways to serve members and businesses as costs and interest rates rise.

“Credit unions are working with their members to grow small businesses and keep them open during these difficult times,” he said. “Our figures show that the number of loans granted to credit unions is 8% higher at this time this year compared to last year. So we are seeing a lot more members turning to us to meet their needs.

The show airs from Fargo, ND and reaches listeners across the state, as well as Minnesota, Montana and South Dakota.

State Democrats hope to use $1 billion budget surplus in new proposal

July 14, 2022

Montana Economy

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With the next legislative session still six months away, Democrats in Montana are looking at a state budget surplus of more than $1 billion. They propose investments in affordable housing, child care and mental health care.

State finance experts from the Legislative Tax Division forecast that tax revenue generate an estimated surplus of $1.7 billion. They attribute the windfall to a variety of factors, including a strong stock market and a national economy boosted by federal dollars.

Montana Democratic lawmakers say they have a plan for that money.

House Minority Leader Kim Abbott and other lawmakers presented their proposal outside the state capitol on Wednesday.

“We hear over and over again that it’s hard to live in the community where you work, companies are struggling to hire,” Abbott said. “It’s difficult for people looking to re-enter the workforce who have been hit extremely hard over the past two years to find affordable child care.”

Democrats want to spend $500 million on affordable housing initiatives, $250 million on property tax relief, $125 million to help child care providers and parents in need , and $125 million to expand access to mental health care.

In a statement, Republican Senate Majority Leader Cary Smith said the strength of the state’s economy was due to Republican-backed policies, such as tax cuts. Smith says Republicans “look forward to continuing to be good stewards of Montana’s economy and providing new tax relief to Montanans.”

Gov. Greg Gianforte said in a response to the proposal that he urges Montana Democrats to join President Joe Biden’s call to “stop reckless spending and get inflation under control.”

The Legislative Tax Division says revenue growth is volatile and subject to change given factors it attributes to creating the surplus, such as one-time federal stimulus funds. The analysis predicts that revenue growth will rise and then fall by around 10% in the coming years.

The culture war between states

July 10, 2022

Montana Economy

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For decades, states have competed to attract business by touting local economic advantages in areas such as taxation, development incentives, labor quality and regulatory policy. Sometimes states also presented themselves to companies on more general principles such as quality of life and public investment in schools and infrastructure. Today, the battle for jobs and for the wealthiest residents has taken a new turn, reflecting the increasingly intense culture wars playing out in America. Faced with an increasingly difficult economic battleground, governors of Democratic-led states are launching companies based on social issues: abortion access, transgender rights and election laws. Blue state officials hope to attract companies that oppose red state legislation restricting abortion, overhauling voting practices or banning biological men from participating in women’s athletics. The stakes are high because business and residential migration patterns, and the economic gains that come with them, have shifted overwhelmingly to Republican-led states in post-pandemic America.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has said in the past that his state is forging a new blueprint for “what America is going to look like,” summed up the new Democratic approach. In a provocative and controversial video ad that aired on social media and TV stations over the July 4 weekend, Newsom offensive Florida policies on everything from abortion laws to school curriculum legislation that limit what young students can learn about gender. “Freedom is under attack from Republican leaders in states like Florida. Ban books. Limitation of speech. Make it harder to vote. Criminalize women and doctors,” the ad read. “I urge you all to join us in California, where we still believe in freedom. Freedom of speech. Freedom to choose.” The announcement amplified a message Newsom sent to businesses that left California in recent years. to head to Republican states.”Some businesses may be gone, come back. It’s a point of pride that we welcome you back, we want to celebrate that we have you back,” Newsom said.

That of the Supreme Court Dobbs decision annulling deer v. Wade seems to have played a catalytic role among Democratic governors. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, who recently signed legislation extending legal protections to women who come to his state for abortions, has contacted dozens of companies in states where abortion is banned, inviting them to move to Jersey. In a letter to businesses, Murphy said the Dobbs decision would have a “chilling effect.” . . on your ability to attract and retain top female talent while located in a state that has refused to recognize women’s reproductive freedom. The governor’s office later said of the letter, “Governor Murphy encourages businesses looking to support their employees to look to New Jersey, a state where they can be confident that the rights of women, the LGBTQIA+ community and voters will always be protected. .”

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont issued a similar letter over the July 4 holiday weekend. “There are far-reaching implications for businesses and workers located in states that may significantly limit access to reproductive rights in the weeks ahead,” wrote Lamont, a former business executive. “Customers and employees will be drawn to states that protect reproductive rights for all.” In the letter, Lamont listed other reasons to move to Connecticut, including paid family medical leave, which business groups in the state actually opposed when it was enacted in 2019.

Republicans have hit back at this sensitization. A spokesperson for DeSantis called Newsom’s announcement “pathetic libel” and, pointing to migration figures from California, said people were fleeing “hell”. [Newsome] created in his state to come to Florida. The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, released a statement saying Newsom’s ads “remind Floridians how badly they don’t want to move to California.” Meanwhile, a spokesman for Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said of Murphy’s letter: ‘A sitting governor wouldn’t be spending his time doing this kind of desperate outreach if business was also in full swing. growth in his state. He would celebrate the announcement of multi-billion dollar projects and thousands of new jobs with quality businesses – as Governor Kemp has had the privilege of doing several times this year.

Whether this new twist on corporate outreach pays off remains to be seen, but blue states need to do something to stem their losses. IRS data shows that in 2020, as the pandemic raged and states imposed activity restrictions, residents, businesses and wealth left Democratic-ruled states in droves. New York and California alone collectively lost nearly $40 billion in net wealth leaving the state, while Texas and Florida captured some $30 billion net from residents moving in. The chart should show even bigger gains for 2021. Economic performance, meanwhile, has shifted sharply toward Republican-led states. Moody’s compared states on 13 recent economic metrics and found the best performing places dominated by Republican-led states, while eight of the ten worst economies were in blue states. Republican-run places clawed back all the jobs they lost during the pandemic and added 341,000 more; blue states are still about 1.3 million short.

The offshoring news hasn’t been good for Democratic states either. Hedge fund giant Citadel recently announced it was moving from Chicago to Miami, while Caterpillar is moving its headquarters to Texas from Illinois. Hewlett-Packard, a company synonymous with Silicon Valley, is moving from San Jose to Houston, while hedge funds like Elliot Management and Point72 are moving their headquarters from Manhattan and Connecticut, respectively, to Florida. As these moves suggest, the post-pandemic advantage that red states have on traditional economic and trade issues appears to have widened. The ten states ranked by business executives this year as the best places to locate their businesses were Republican-leaning, led by Texas and Florida, while the ten least favored states by executives are solidly Democratic.

The reaction of certain blue states to the Dobbs decision intensified a growing culture war between the states. So far, this battle has been fought under limited economic conditions — for example, by states banning their employees from going to places with laws that local politicians oppose. Recently, for example, California announced that it would no longer pay for travel for its state employees in four states – Arizona, Indiana, Louisiana and Utah – because they passed laws prohibiting biological males who became female to compete in girls. school sports. California has now enacted travel bans in 22 states that Sacramento officials say have laws that discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, though Newsom has sparked controversy by passing vacation in one of those states, Montana. A handful of other Democratic states — Washington, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Connecticut — have similar travel bans in place for multistate employees.

Democratic governors have been encouraged, it seems, to take the next step. They try to recruit companies based on cultural issues, in part because of the spread of “woke” attitudes in corporate America. Last year, Coca-Cola publicly criticized Georgia’s new election law, sparking a showdown with Republicans in the state, while Disney opposed Florida’s parental rights in education bill. , which limits discussion of gender in the early primary grades.

Even so, one of the hard and fast rules of economic development in the United States, articulated by the late Citicorp Chairman Walter Wriston, has been that “capital goes where it is welcome and stays where it is treated well”. . There is no indication that, in a highly competitive global economy, companies have suddenly decided to revoke this rule.

Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Tourists head to Montana, scenic state parks amid travel boom

July 9, 2022

Montana Economy

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The tourist season in Montana has started with a bang.

Flooding in Yellowstone National Park and nearby communities. Avalanches and a not-yet-fully-open Going-to-the-Sun road in Glacier National Park.

Inflation, of course, plus high fuel prices.

“It’s one shot after another, isn’t it?” Barbara Neilan, executive director of Destination Missoula, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, told the Daily Montanan.

Still, visitors are heading to the Big Sky, and at least for now, economic security is generally strong, said Patrick Barkey, head of the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. Some people might forgo a restaurant meal, for example, in order to keep a trip to Yellowstone on the schedule.

“Consumers have pretty high savings rates, so they have money to deal with some of these higher costs,” Barkey said.

“The damage is catastrophic”:Towns near Yellowstone fear impact of lost tourist season

In 2020, Montana’s state parks saw record attendance, with 3.4 million people, a tally that fell just 1.3% the following year, according to data from Montana Fish, Wildlife. and Parks. In the summer of 2020, the great outdoors felt relatively safe for many people as the coronavirus spread, but tourism this year could slow down a hair’s breadth; the first quarter shows an 8.6% decline in state parks compared to last year, although it is still up from 2019 and 2020.

“I don’t think it’s going to be quite the tear-jerking, roaring year than last year,” Barkey said of tourism in general.

At Makoshika State Park, the state’s largest, park superintendent Riley Bell said it’s still very busy, and while he doesn’t have official numbers yet, he would assume that the numbers so far have either reached about the same level as last year or are down slightly. . Last year, he said Makoshika had a record number of visits, around 150,000 for the calendar year.

This year he sees many foreigners, especially from Minnesota, as well as from California, Washington and Idaho. The landscape and fossils of the park’s badlands attract people from all over the world, and it sees many more tourists from Germany, Sweden and other European countries since COVID-19 blocked the first international flights.

“We’re starting to see a lot more international travellers,” Bell said.

Barkey agreed that the gradual reopening of international travel, which had been dormant, was going to hurt Montana’s economy. On the one hand, he said, it means Montanans can finally make their own trips to Europe, but it also gives foreigners a chance to get here, and he said demand for air flights is always “strong enough”.

“By the way, economically, these international (visitors) are spending more money,” Barkey said.

On the other hand, he said for individual communities, such as Red Lodge and Gardiner, the economic hit is serious this summer, although he said people who have Yellowstone National Park on their to-do list will find a way to get there.

Sherry Weamer, executive director of the Red Lodge area chamber of commerce, said the community again needs through traffic to Yellowstone, but in the meantime, Red Lodge itself is bustling. The July 4 weekend brought a record rodeo, she said, and a Beartooth motorcycle rally will run July 14-17, as will a car show July 22-23.

“Downtown is vibrant and bustling, and everyone is open,” Weamer said. “We just need those visitors to come back and hang out with us and enjoy our mountains five minutes from the outskirts of town.”

She said the city reopened quickly after the historic floods in June and the support of the governor and the president would be helpful. Still, she said she can’t wait for U.S. Highway 212 between Red Lodge and Cooke City to open, though she said travelers can take the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway for a nice drive.

“The flooding and closure will have a major impact on us,” Weamer said. “There is no way to overlook the attraction of Yellowstone National Park, and all this flood coverage has spread across the country. Now it is almost impossible to let people know that we are again open, so that’s another challenge.

In an email, Yellowstone noted that visitor numbers dropped in June because the park closed immediately after the flooding. But the park said a “modified reopening” was underway.

“Numbers will also be affected because only three of the five entrances are open,” the park said.

In western Montana, Neilan said occupancy was up 7% in Missoula in May of this year compared to last year, but June was down about 4%. %. She said it was also an interesting year for tourism in Montana.

“Montana as a whole has somehow been discovered”

On the one hand, the tourism industry is watching to see how much recent spikes in Montana can be attributed to the “COVID bubble,” she said. But Neilan said she believes some of the change is permanent.

“I think Montana as a whole has sort of been uncovered,” Neilan said.

In Missoula, events such as concerts and the Missoula Marathon are returning, and occupancy is around 80%, she said. Some Montana residents are finally flying to New York and San Francisco for vacations, but with inflation, she said others are staying closer to home for “holidays,” and Canadians are also returning to the Montana.

“I think there’s so much pent-up travel that people want to do that it’s not going to stop travel,” Neilan said. “I think what it’s going to do is maybe just change it up a bit.”

Go on the Road of the Sun

In Glacier, the Going-to-the-Sun road won’t open until July 13 at the earliest, said Gina Kerzman, the park’s public affairs manager. It’s later than usual, but visitor numbers so far show some admissions are still up from last year, and the popular West Glacier admission is down, but not a lot.

“Our headline numbers that we just released make it look like we’re starting the season strong,” Kerzman said. “We are on track for another busy year.”

She said Glacier never plans an opening date because the weather was unpredictable, but the plows crossed the Big Drift, and on Tuesday they started digging the gap and digging into the Logan Visitor Center. pass. Glacier saw record attendance in the fall of 2020.

“You get people, you have to have bathrooms. There’s just no getting around it,” Kerzman said.

She said visitors don’t need reservations for the St. Mary entrance on the east side of the park until Going-to-the-Sun Road is fully open. This means that by marking an opening date as close to July 13 as possible, people are assured that if they arrive on July 12, they can still hit the road without a ticket.

Kerzman also said Glacier experienced flooding. Although not as far as Yellowstone has seen it, it does mean hikers should check trail conditions on the park’s website and be prepared to make alternate plans if necessary, or crawl over debris. if a trail is open but messy.

“Some of the trails are badly damaged, so you can walk in mud,” Kerzman said, noting that it’s better to walk a muddy trail than to walk on the side of a path and damage vegetation.

Generally speaking, Barkey said inflation lowers purchasing power and will impact tourism in Montana. However, he said it remains to be seen whether negative forces will push people to stay put or if other factors will drive them away from their homes to gamble.

“It remains to be seen whether they will win,” Barkey said of the constraints on portfolios.

The Daily Montanan is a Helena-based nonprofit media outlet covering statewide politics and politics. It is affiliated with States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers.

Bread prices plummeted after VAT exemption – The Sofia Globe

July 5, 2022

Montana Economy

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Some retail chains in Bulgaria have cut prices by 20% on all types of bread in all cities where they have stores, the country’s economy ministry said on July 5, saying it had been established by a control that he had commissioned from the Consumer Protection Commission. (CPC) to conduct.

The ministry attributed this to the decision taken in the budget revision, approved by Parliament on June 30, to exempt bread from VAT. The same decision also zero-rated flour for VAT.

The statement said the CPC conducted more than 100 checks in 30 cities at stores of varying sizes between July 2 and July 5.

“It is clear from the CPC protocols that some retail chains have reduced prices by 20% on all types of bread in all cities where they have stores. This is not due to a promotion, as it only happens on certain products for a few days. The current discount is for the entire assortment and it is permanent,” the Ministry of Economy said.

Inspection results showed that in some small grocery stores, prices were close to or even lower than chain prices, the ministry said.

“For example, in a grocery store in Vratsa, 700 g of white bread sells for 1.40 leva and 700 g of typical bread for 1.30 leva. In Montana, in a small store, 700 g of white bread costs 1.60 leva, and Dobrudzha bread costs 1.50 leva”.

The statement quotes Economy Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Kornelia Ninova as saying: “Apparently the abolition of VAT on bread is starting to bear fruit.

“All attempts to challenge this measure or maliciously interpret it as a promotion have failed. It is impossible that hundreds of stores across the country can simultaneously advertise a promotion on all types of bread with the same discount,” said Ninova.

The budget revision was published in the Official Journal, putting into effect the zero rate of VAT on bread and flour.

A state program for a discount of 25 stotinki per liter of gasoline also comes into effect from July 9.

However, it will be up to fuel distribution chains and stations to decide whether or not to participate in the discount scheme.

According to a report by the Bulgarian national radio, the main petrol station chains in Bulgaria have declared that they are ready to offer this discount to their customers, with the discount being deducted after presenting the official car document. The scheme applies to passenger cars registered in Bulgaria and not to company or commercial vehicles.

(Photo: Frances Magee/freeimages.com)

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Airport Expansion to Accommodate 20+ Years of Growth

July 3, 2022

Montana Economy

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A $115 million expansion project underway at Glacier Park International Airport is an indication of the area’s growing population and popularity as a tourist destination. And while the Covid-19 pandemic has put the effort on hold in 2020, as air travel resumes and visits to the Valley increase again, the project is advancing rapidly.

The priority of airport manager Rob Ratkowski and his team is to create a more efficient space.

“In 2004, we had 160,000 air passengers. This year we will see 450,000. We take this seasonality and summer peak very seriously, and we make it the design standard for the new space. We want the community to have a good setup.

Current complications at the airport include significant congestion and limited seating in the terminal building, which creates a crowded first and last impression of Flathead Valley for passengers, Ratkowski said. Limited aircraft parking and shared gates are causing delays and logistical issues between carriers, and airlines and non-airlines alike have no leeway to increase revenue.

The expansion project is focused on developing the airport’s core infrastructure and growing functional areas to accommodate over 20 years of growth.

“We’re not just looking for more space,” Ratkowski said. “After that, we can do a fast and efficient expansion of the gate. If we need to start a small gate project of 15 to 20 million dollars, we can build it later.

“We want to dramatically improve the passenger experience,” Ratkowski continued. “He will look great and feel great. We will have a full service bar and restaurant, gift shop, cafe and more vehicle and aircraft parking. Everything will be bigger. »

While it’s typical for the summer season to see an influx of passengers, Ratkowski and his team analyzed a new trend last year.

“Last year summer tourism stabilized and we saw huge off-season gains. In fact, our parking lot overflowed on a random weekend in March,” he said.

According to Ratkowski, the increase in the number of off-season plane passengers reveals a shift in the local economy.

“New residents use the airport during the off-season,” he said.

PICTURES OF the new facilities reveal a quintessentially Montana design with elements of stone, wood, steel and glass that allow natural light and mountain views.

The first phase of the project runs from June 2021 to the summer of 2024. The second phase will overlap in the summer of 2023 and will continue until the fall of 2024.

“We are on budget and on schedule. The first phase is 27% complete,” Ratkowski said. “We should be done in the fall of 2024, unless we get another windfall of federal money that will set the project back.”

With the expansion of the airport, airlines now have the ability to add new routes. Glacier Park International airlines include Sun Country, United, Delta, American, Alaska, Allegiant, and Frontier. However, staff shortages and fuel prices continue to cause problems for carriers.

“Oil is expensive and airlines are always scrambling to get pilots back,” Ratkowski said.

JetBlue recently pulled out of Glacier Park International, dropping two flights to New York. Other direct flights, such as to Atlanta and Charlotte, have also been cut. However, Ratkowski sees carriers reassigning planes to historic trade routes, which they believe will create heavy off-season traffic.

Glacier Park International currently ranks second in the state for passenger traffic behind Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.

“I’m confident our industry will do just fine,” Ratkowski said. “People want to be face to face, and when you need an aircraft, no other tool can satisfy that need.”

Business journalist Summer Zalesky can be reached at [email protected]

Shortage of lifeguards Mountain West pools raise wages

July 1, 2022

Montana Economy

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In southern Nevada, Clark County Pools need more than 100 lifeguards. As a result, Aquatic Supervisor Katie Boehme said on average only six out of 16 pools are open with limited hours.

“No one is happy because the water park is not open enough for families with young children, the pool is not open enough for swimmers and we don’t have enough programs,” Boehme said. .

In response, Clark County raised the hourly wage for lifeguards from $9.50 to $13, and the county now pays for new recruits to be trained, which typically costs $120. Boehme said this has helped the aquatics department recruit about 60 people so far.

In Colorado, Governor Jared Polis recently announced The 2022 Swimming Pools Special Initiative to address the shortage of lifeguards. According to Polis, a recent poll found that only 57% of public pools in the state are fully open.

Thanks to this initiative, lifeguards aged 16 and 17 are allowed to work more overtime. The state has also launched a $25,000 grant program that aquatic centers can use to retain and recruit staff. Aspiring lifeguards can earn $1,000 by completing a week of training before being hired.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana , KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations throughout the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Climate change discussion scheduled for Thursday in Columbia Falls

June 29, 2022

Montana Economy

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A roundtable on climate change is scheduled for Thursday in Columbia Falls.

The event is coordinated by the Flathead County Democratic Central Committee, features local experts and advocates in the search for climate change solutions.

It takes place at 6 p.m. at Glacier Lanes, 307 Nucleus Ave.

Representatives from Climate Smart Glacier Country, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Wild Montana and Our Children’s Trust will be led in the conversation by former Montana State Representative Debo Powers, President of Wild Montana.

“Our planet is getting warmer, and it’s starting to affect our enjoyment of life, our economy, and the natural world around us,” Powers said. “This is the greatest threat facing us and our children and grandchildren, yet our society continues to operate as usual, leaving us frozen in despair.”

“The best antidote to despair is hope and action,” adds Powers. “We still have time to make changes that will mitigate the effects of climate change.”

Climate Smart Glacier Country strives to engage the public in finding local solutions to climate-created challenges to water and food security, public health, and recreation.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby works on national policies by building relationships with elected officials and local media in 580 chapters around the world.

Wild Montana helps communities thrive by building trust, fostering collaboration, and reaching agreements to protect nature, address climate change, and improve access to public lands.

Our Children’s Trust works to ensure young people’s legal rights to a healthy atmosphere and safe climate, based on the best available science.

FCDCC President Lynn Stanley said this and previous events were organized to shed light and stimulate conversation and solutions to some of the most critical issues facing Montana people and local community leaders.

“Solving these problems requires the participation of citizens, Democrats and Republicans, libertarians and independents, all working together,” she said.

The event is free and open to the public.

Participants will have the opportunity to pose questions to the panelists after a one-hour moderated discussion.

End of the Yappy hour? Ruff times for the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park

June 27, 2022

Montana Economy

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A long tradition of loving dog owners in the Asbury Park area seems to be coming to an end. Yappy Hour may not be anymore.

On Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from April to November, on the large terrace and the beach of the Wonder Bar, people are invited to bring their cockapoo (or any other breed) while sipping a cocktail. Yappy Hour is normally 4-7pm, as are many human-only happy hours.

This has been going on for over a decade. That’s over 70 dog years! It raises money for local animal rescues, and director Debbie DeLisa tells NJ.com it also brings the community together.

“We would like to continue this camaraderie by being able to welcome them into a beautiful and safe environment for both the puppies and the people,” she said.

Chances are it’s all going down the drain due to a construction project that may take up the land they need to run Yappy Hour. A residential complex is in sight and the planning shows no impact on the Wonder Bar building itself, but it would eliminate its terrace and much of the sandy area they need to bring in their canine customers.

The developer says it tries to work with Wonder Bar to minimize any impact. Something that could take their deck away from them doesn’t seem like a small thing.

For the loyal doggies of Asbury Park, don’t lose hope. It is only in the phase of the land use approval process and nothing final has been decided. The project would take about two years.

The opinions expressed in the above post are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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Economic Benefit of Montana’s National Parks

June 24, 2022

Montana Economy

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A new report from the National Park Service shows that more than five million visitors in 2021 spent more than $720 million in Montana’s national parks. According to the National Park Service press release, tourist spending has generated more than $1 billion in the state’s economy and more than 11,000 jobs.

The peer-reviewed study by economists from the US Geological Survey and the National Park Service shows that more than 200 million national park tourists have spent more than $20 billion in gateway communities about 60 miles east. exterior of a national park. Visitor spending has helped support more than 300,000 people nationwide, half of them in nearby communities. Accommodation and restaurants in national parks were the biggest spenders for visitors.

Here is a list of national parks in Montana:

  • Glacier National Park
  • Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
  • Nez Perce National Historical Park
  • Little Bighorn National Monument
  • yellowstone national park
  • Ice Age Flood National Geologic Trail
  • Big Hole National Battlefield
  • Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
  • Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site

Follow this link to learn more about all of Montana’s national parks and how the state, along with the National Park Service, is working to preserve these historic sites and maintain environmental conservation.

Sen. Ellsworth: Responding to Montana’s Economic Challenges and Opportunities | Columnists

June 22, 2022

Montana Economy

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SEN. JASON ELLSWORTH

As we begin to approach the 2023 legislative session, workers, families, employers and elected officials in Montana are all facing a unique combination of opportunities and challenges that we have never seen before.

In many ways, Montana’s economy is better than ever. Governor Greg Gianforte recently announced that our unemployment rate remains at an all-time high as more Montanese are working than ever before. The Treasure State’s economy and personal income are growing at the fastest rates in 40 and 15 years, respectively.

This success, along with our status as a freedom-loving state and vast open spaces, has spurred interest in Montana – as a place to start a business, raise a family, retire and buy property. The cost of owning or renting a home has skyrocketed as demand has outstripped supply. The massive inflation created by reckless federal spending and the shortage of workers to fill all the job vacancies are greatly compounding our economic challenges.

As a state, we cannot completely overcome national and international trends on things like inflation, labor shortages, or the possibility of an impending recession. But what we can do at the legislative level comes down to three main categories: reduce costs where possible, enable innovation and protect what we already have.

People also read…

Reducing costs and enabling innovation includes removing red tape that holds back entrepreneurs in Montana, like when we removed barriers to telehealth and direct-to-patient healthcare providers in the last legislative session. Next session, we’ll look at unnecessary housing regulations that drive up the cost of building and buying a home, as well as reducing property taxes. Governor Gianforte’s administration has also embarked on a multi-year effort to cut red tape, and I’m excited to see what proposals his team is putting forward.

Enabling innovation and upward mobility also means both preparing the next generation and making Montana competitive for business. We took many steps in the right direction last year, including passing legislation to increase teachers’ starting salaries, encourage vocational and technical education, reduce taxes on business equipment, and reduce and simplify income taxes. Sen. Steve Daines, Governor Gianforte and business leaders touted these and other reforms at the recent “Montana on the Rise” economic summit.

Going forward, we must build on these early reforms and significant investments. The Legislative Assembly recently brought together all of the major constitutional players in our public education system around one table to discuss next steps to better prepare Montana students for their future careers. We are also in the midst of a historic investment in high-speed internet to bridge the digital divide, give rural communities a fairer footing, and create opportunity in every corner of Big Sky Country. Additionally, Montana’s potential to produce abundant and cheap energy should be unleashed.

Finally, we must protect what makes Montana the last best place, including our traditional values ​​and the rights and freedoms we hold dear. It also means retaining and increasing public access to the great outdoors, like the Legislative Assembly’s investments in the Lower Yellowstone and Somers Beach public access projects last year.

In the 2021 legislative session, we created a solid foundation that is already driving job creation and wage growth. In the 2023 session, I hope Democrats will join us in building on this foundation to continue to make the most of Montana’s opportunities and address the challenges we face. We all recognize these challenges. To deal with it, Republicans will put in place policies to reduce costs, enable innovation and protect what we cherish about Montana. These solutions should have appeal across the political spectrum.

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Senator Jason Ellsworth: Addressing Montana’s Economic Challenges and Opportunities | Columnists

June 21, 2022

Montana Economy

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SEN. JASON ELLSWORTH

As we begin to approach the 2023 legislative session, workers, families, employers and elected officials in Montana are all facing a unique combination of opportunities and challenges that we have never seen before.

In many ways, Montana’s economy is better than ever. Governor Greg Gianforte recently announced that our unemployment rate remains at an all-time high as more Montanese are working than ever before. The Treasure State’s economy and personal income are growing at the fastest rates in 40 and 15 years, respectively.

This success, along with our status as a freedom-loving state and vast open spaces, has spurred interest in Montana – as a place to start a business, raise a family, retire and buy property. The cost of owning or renting a home has skyrocketed as demand outstripped supply. The massive inflation created by reckless federal spending and the shortage of workers to fill all the job vacancies are greatly compounding our economic challenges.

As a state, we cannot completely overcome national and international trends on things like inflation, labor shortages, or the possibility of an impending recession. But what we can do legislatively comes down to three broad categories: reduce costs where possible, enable innovation, and protect what we already have.

People also read…

Reducing costs and enabling innovation includes removing red tape that holds back entrepreneurs in Montana, like when we removed barriers to telehealth and direct-to-patient healthcare providers in the last legislative session. Next session, we’ll look at unnecessary housing regulations that drive up the cost of building and buying a home, as well as reducing property taxes. Governor Gianforte’s administration has also embarked on a multi-year effort to cut red tape, and I’m excited to see what proposals his team is putting forward.

Enabling innovation and upward mobility also means both preparing the next generation and making Montana competitive for business. We took many steps in the right direction last year, including passing legislation to increase teachers’ starting salaries, encourage vocational and technical education, reduce taxes on business equipment, and reduce and simplify income taxes. Sen. Steve Daines, Governor Gianforte and business leaders touted these and other reforms at the recent “Montana on the Rise” economic summit.

Going forward, we must build on these early reforms and significant investments. The Legislature recently brought together all of the major constitutional players in our public education system around the same table to discuss next steps to better prepare Montana students for their future careers. We are also in the midst of a historic investment in high-speed internet to bridge the digital divide, give rural communities a fairer footing, and create opportunity in every corner of Big Sky Country. Additionally, Montana’s potential to produce abundant and cheap energy should be unleashed.

Finally, we must protect what makes Montana the last best place, including our traditional values ​​and the rights and freedoms we hold dear. It also means retaining and increasing public access to the great outdoors, like the Legislative Assembly’s investments in the Lower Yellowstone and Somers Beach public access projects last year.

In the 2021 legislative session, we created a solid foundation that is already driving job creation and wage growth.

In the 2023 session, I hope Democrats will join us in building on this foundation to continue to make the most of Montana’s opportunities and address the challenges we face. We all recognize these challenges. To deal with it, Republicans will put in place policies to reduce costs, enable innovation and protect what we cherish about Montana. These solutions should have appeal across the political spectrum.

Senator Jason Ellsworth, R-Hamilton, is president pro tempore of the Montana Senate. This column was originally published as part of the Frontier Institute’s “Legislative Viewpoint” series.

MT lawmakers debate raising movie tax credit; supporters say it boosts local businesses |

June 19, 2022

Montana Economy

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Kevin Costner was photographed this week browsing Scheels, a sporting goods store in Missoula, as lawmakers in Helena debated whether to extend and increase a tax credit intended to attract movie moguls like him in the state in the future.

On Friday, the Montana Legislature’s Interim Revenue Committee heard a presentation on the economic impact of Montana’s MEDIA Act tax credits. The law, signed into law in 2019, essentially broke even in terms of the revenue it brought in to the state government. Indeed, while the state distributed approximately $20.3 million in tax credits to film production companies, the state tax revenue generated by all film production companies and their expenses was approximately $20.3 million.

The Montana MEDIA Act tax credit was established by the state legislature in 2019 with a cap of $10 million, then expanded to a total cap of $12 million beginning in the tax year 2022. Because this is an incentive for production companies to film in Montana, eligible companies can get a 20% transferable income tax credit for production and compensation expenses during its stay in the state. Businesses can also earn additional credit for reaching various other thresholds.

An economic impact consultant gave a presentation showing how 195 different productions have shot in Montana since the law was created and spent $192 million in the state. Film industry advocates have urged the committee to consider raising the cap to between $50 million and $150 million to allow Montana to compete with other states. They say it’s necessary to encourage the growth of the industry, which they say supports Montana businesses, creates local jobs and doesn’t pollute the state’s precious outdoor spaces.

Two Republican members of the committee, Sen. Greg Hertz and Sen. Mike Lang, both expressed support for the idea of ​​at least possibly introducing a bill in the next session to raise the cap.

“It’s a tough industry,” Hertz said. “There is a lot of competition across the United States. It’s a good clean industry. It helps Montana, it helps a lot of rural communities. The question here is how do we continue to nurture this industry without becoming too excessive and having a big impact on our cash flow? »

Hertz said he believes lawmakers need to look into the matter and the cap may merit further increases.

Senator Brian Hoven, also a Republican, said he opposed the tax credit because the amount of tax revenue generated for the state by the only film companies that used the tax credit was only $7. .8 million. So, according to him, the state is losing money because the tax credit cost it $20.3 million.

“I think the film industry is very glamorous,” he said. “Movie stars are there, they show up, they bring people to rural communities, there’s a lot of money. It’s exciting, it’s great. But unfortunately, it does not bring money to the public treasury.

Hoven said he read articles in the Wall Street Journal that prove movie tax credits are unprofitable. Hoven said the director of the state Department of Revenue under former Gov. Steve Bullock insisted on having a cap on credit because he “knew it would be a drain on the treasury.”

“To invest in this, we pick winners and losers,” Hoven said. “When we start giving to the film industry, we choose them to win.”

However, the impact on state coffers is not a complete picture of the impact of film production on Montana’s economy. A report from the University of Montana found that a single season of Costner’s hit show “Yellowstone” brought in an additional $70 million to the state economy in one year.

Gina Lavery, a consultant hired by the state to analyze the impact of the movie tax credit, said the movie industry has a big “ripple effect” on rural communities and small businesses in Montana. That’s because highly paid staffers at production companies like Paramount Network, which shoots “Yellowstone” in Missoula and Ravalli counties, spend money even on days off.

Lavery also said that not raising the credit cap has hampered Montana’s economic growth and may continue to do so in the future.

She noted that a film production company was willing to build a $20 million studio in Missoula, but backed down when the legislature only raised the cap by $2 million last session.

“This type of investment, just the initial construction, would have generated $34 million for the state and $1.3 million in tax revenue for local jurisdictions and the state,” Lavery explained.

Allison Whitmer of the Montana Film Office said “Yellowstone” is currently filming its fifth season here and will likely film most of its sixth season in Montana. Combined with Paramount filming a new show called “1932” in Butte next year, Whitmer said those two shows alone will spend an estimated $50 million to $100 million in Montana over the next two years.

Hertz concluded that he thinks the Legislature should consider gradually increasing the cap, and he also noted that there may be ways to ensure it benefits rural communities in Montana. Utah, for example, has a film tax credit that only applies if companies shoot in small, rural towns.

The full presentation and discussion can be found fast forward to 10:25 a.m. online at bit.ly/3y0V1qc.

Montana budget on ‘high sugar,’ but expected revenue cuts | State

June 17, 2022

Montana Economy

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Illustration of money (Pxhere.com | Public domain images).

On a “high sugar,” the state of Montana should have plenty of extra cash in store by the start of the 2025 biennium, but revenues are volatile and a shortfall is already forecast for the fight against fires.

At the end of the 2021 legislative session, the closing fund balance was expected to be $157.2 million higher than the operating reserve at the start of the 2025 biennium, but this figure is expected to reach $1.7 billion. dollars, according to a forecast this week from Parliament. Tax Division of the Montana Legislature.

“We probably shouldn’t think about spending it right now because it’s too unpredictable,” Rep. Mary Caferro, D-Helena, said at the meeting.

At a joint meeting of the Legislative Finance Committee and the Interim Revenue Committee, tax analysts presented the outlook for the 2025 biennium ahead of the next legislature. At the meeting and in their report, they warned that it was difficult to make projections given the unpredictable rates of inflation, uncertain demographic trends and changes in labor economics, such as higher wages. and lower labor force participation.

“Strong collections offer a secure start to the 2025 biennial budget process, but economic uncertainty clouds the future,” reads the budget outlook.

Firefighting costs are rising

On the expense side, however, the cost of firefighting has increased and is expected to continue, according to the outlook. The report estimates that the average cost of wildfire suppression has increased by 31%, from $22.3 million per year to $29.2 million per year over the span of a decade.

The report also notes that while the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation is effective against fires, suppressing 96% of burns under 10 acres over the past decade, those that grow ‘account for most of the expense’. .

Going forward, costs are expected to increase given longer fire seasons and higher costs for labor, fuel and supplies, as well as “an increasing number of large fires”, according to the report. The state sets a formula in law for its fire suppression fund, and based on the last 10 years of average income and expenses, Montana could see a shortfall of $14.2 million for the biennial. , and with extreme fires, a shortfall of up to $81.4 million, the report says.


Montana receives major disaster declaration from President Joe Biden


Helena Area Habitat for Humanity is looking to send volunteers to help clean up after flooding at Red Lodge

Revenues fall in advance

At the meeting, at least a few people called the state budget “high sugar,” and one presenter said every other state was in the same boat. The outlook indicates that the large sums of money in savings are due to the federally stimulated economy and a strong stock market in 2021 as well as inflation, but the tide is likely to turn.

“Projected revenue for fiscal 2023 is expected to fall at least 10% but possibly as much as 20% from fiscal 2022,” the report said. “This represents a reduction of $347 million – $721 million in general fund revenue in just one year.”

However, legislative budget analyst and divisional director Amy Carlson warned lawmakers that the possible 20% drop was an alternative estimate and that the drop could be steeper.

“It shouldn’t be considered the worst case scenario,” Carlson said. “It’s just another forecast at the moment.”

The report also says that recent years of high earnings “provide a cushion to absorb the extreme volatility expected in fiscal 2023.”

Cloud forecast

The outlook was dire for staff, who face more financial uncertainties than usual, Carlson said. For example, she said a market forecast indicates that inflation, at around 8%, will slow in fiscal 2023, but that’s not a long-term datum.

“Clearly the Federal Reserve is doing what it can to moderate inflation, and only time will tell if it’s successful,” Carlson said.

She also said this week’s analysis was by no means refined and that lawmakers would receive more budget information in the fall, before the 2023 legislature. She also said her staff generally takes the presentation budget on the road to Montana.

The post-Montana budget on a “high sugar,” but planned revenue cuts appeared first on Daily Montanan.

Daines Slams Democrats Who Killed His ‘Gas Price Relief Act’

June 15, 2022

Montana Economy

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Montana Sen. Steve Daines recently joined Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall in introducing a bill to lower gasoline prices for Americans, called “The Gas Prices Relief Act,” but Bill was killed before exiting the Senate.

Daines appeared on the floor of the US Senate on Tuesday to express his anger and disappointment with senators who opposed the bill. He explained the premises of the bill.

“Madam President, the price at the pump has skyrocketed,” said Senator Daines. “Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. When President Biden was sworn in, the average weekly gasoline price was around $2.30 per gallon. In fact, when we introduced the bill that we’re trying to pass today, the Gas Price Relief Act, on March 31 of this year, the weekly average was $4.02 a gallon . The weekly average is now $4.84. In fact, other studies show it’s now $5 and climbing.

Daines shared an anecdote from his last trip back to Montana.

“We believe these numbers will continue to rise, and most analysts agree,” he said. “We could be facing $6.00 per gallon of gasoline by this summer. I filled up my van in Belgrade, Montana Friday night. My wife and I stopped at a gas station and when the tank was full the price was $138. The pain at the pump Montana families are feeling today is due to the Democrats’ anti-American energy policies.

Daines asked the senators present about a possible solution, referring to what President Biden has already suggested to bring down gas prices.

” What is the solution ? ” He asked. “We hear President Biden turning to foreign dictators for more oil, tapping or oil reserves or pleading with OPEC to increase production. But perhaps the most disconnected solution I’ve heard, he simply suggests that families buy electric vehicles. I can say that won’t work in a state like Montana. The real solution is to unleash American energy and encourage American energy investment.

Daines explained the benefits of the Gas Price Relief Act.

“This bill I have with Senator Marshall was simple,” he said. “This prevents the Biden administration from imposing new rules or regulations that would reduce the production of petroleum gas or renewable fuels, which would therefore increase gas prices for hard-working Montanese. I urge my colleagues across the way to think about the hard working families across the country. How they try to make ends meet, think of their constituents, who depend on affordable gas prices to get to work or drop their kids off at school. I urge my colleagues opposite who say they support American energy development and want to reduce gas costs to support this bill.

The Senate voted this week to kill the bill.

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Sherman Anderson: Correct the ‘Cottonwood’ decision | Columnists

June 12, 2022

Montana Economy

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SHERMAN ANDERSON

With an active wildfire season ahead, state and federal authorities are doing everything they can to protect our communities, wildlife, water resources and forests. One way to do this is to break the impasse in the management of federal forests and allow the implementation of wildfire mitigation projects. Montana senators can help by supporting legislation to correct the “Cottonwood” decision that blocks common sense management of national forests.

In recent years, lawsuits related to the Ninth Circuit’s Cottonwood decision have halted dozens of forest management projects in western Montana. The move created a new layer of government bureaucracy and red tape, necessitating further consultation among federal agencies on forest plans each time a new species is listed under the Endangered Species Act, qu critical habitat is identified or “new information” becomes available.

The decision created numerous anti-management lawsuits, adding years of delays to forest thinning projects that can help reduce the size and intensity of today’s wildfires. In an infamous example, the Cottonwood decision halted the Stonewall Vegetation Project in the Lewis and Clark National Forest. Litigation over the project was not resolved until the Park Creek and Arrastra fires burned unhealthy, overgrown forests that would have been proactively addressed.

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The Cottonwood decision has prevented our public land managers from looking after the land and ensuring that our national forests remain safe and accessible for all Montanese to enjoy. It has also blocked efforts to improve wildlife habitat and protect our watersheds and water supplies. Many of these projects were developed by local collaborations with diverse interests and had already undergone lengthy environmental reviews.

As our forests burn, the ruling has only served to add more duplicate paperwork to our flawed forest management system and added more costs to American taxpayers. It has also hurt our economy by costing family jobs in lumber. We simply cannot afford to lose our ability to manage forests and provide affordable Montana-made wood products.

Senator Steve Daines has tabled a bill that would allow public land managers and wildlife biologists to track the best available science for consultation. This would provide much-needed clarity in current regulations, so agencies can achieve their conservation goals rather than being stymied by anti-forestry lawsuits. The bill is supported by leading wildlife and outdoor conservation groups such as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the National Wild Turkey Federation.

There has been bipartisan support in the past to correct the Cottonwood decision and allow forest management projects to continue. This work began during the Obama administration, when President Obama’s Justice Department sought to overturn the Ninth Circuit’s decision all the way to the United States Supreme Court. While Republicans and Democrats in Congress — including Sen. Jon Tester — have backed legislation to address parts of the ruling, serial litigants are still using Cottonwood to block needed stumpage projects.

There is an urgent need to approve this new solution to the Cottonwood decision, but it is difficult for anything to pass in Congress these days. In a divided US Senate, Senator Jon Tester and Senator Steve Daines have an important opportunity to help advance a bipartisan solution through Congress. Time is running out for another active wildfire season. The time to act is now.

Sherman Anderson is the owner of Sun Mountain Lumber at Deer Lodge. His company is the largest private employer in Powell County and he is dedicated to keeping Montana’s forests healthy and resilient.

Pt. Mayor of Pleasant Beach, NJ offers $192,000 to Ukrainians

June 10, 2022

Montana Economy

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POINT PLEASANT BEACH — Mayor Paul Kanitra has donated nearly $200,000 to two charities supporting Ukrainian refugees who were picked up at a concert.

Kanitra was moved by the coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine to pack five suitcases with supplies and head to the Polish-Ukrainian border and see what he could do to help.

“We’ve volunteered with other groups. We’ve done just about anything and everything, from preparing food, to delivering meals at the border, to shuttling refugees, to by purchasing supplies and distributing them to the refugee centre,” Kanitra said. New Jersey 101.5’s Steve Trevelise in April.

Photo provided by Mayor Paul Kanitra

Photo provided by Mayor Paul Kanitra

A Jersey Shore All-Star Fundraiser

Once back in Point Pleasant Beach, he hosted Concert For Ukraine at Jenkinson’s with an all-star lineup that included Bobby Bandiera, Eddie Testa, Jo Bonnano, Polish rock band Green Secret and Steve Forber.

New York’s Dumka Ukrainian Choir, which appeared on Saturday Night Live, opened the concert with the Ukrainian national anthem.

The gig exceeded Kanitra’s expectations and raised nearly double what he expected. He traveled to the United Nations in New York and Washington to present a check for $100,000 to World Central Kitchen and another for $92,000 to Caritas Internationalis.

“These donations will provide over a hundred thousand meals to desperately hungry Ukrainian refugees. This will help support and protect so many orphans and children,” Kanitra wrote on her Facebook page. “You have all made an incredible difference in the world and you should be so proud.”

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

Click here to contact an editor about a comment or correction for this story.

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Members of the Congressional Western Caucus take a close look at the Snake River dams

June 8, 2022

Montana Economy

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Four members of the US Congress recently took a close look at the Snake River dams in Washington.

The four members of the Congressional Western Caucus, which Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Washington, chairs, watched the fish travel through various passageways at the Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River. A boat trip also took them through the lock system near the Tri-Cities.

Representatives Bruce Westerman, R-Arkansas; Cliff Bentz, R-Oregon; Matt Rosendale, R-Montana; and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, joined the tour.

From left to right, U.S. Representatives Dan Newhouse, R-Washington; Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa; Bruce Westerman, R-Arkansas; Cliff Bentz, R-Oregon; and Matt Rosendale, R-Montana. Representatives visited the Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River near Pasco, Washington.

Congressional Western Caucus

Newhouse is a strong supporter of the region’s hydroelectric system. He said bringing other congressional Republicans to the roadblock was part of his strategy to promote Washington.

Congress could eventually decide whether to approve a decision to remove or modify the four controversial Snake River dams, Newhouse said.

“The dams are attacked. I think the more members of Congress who can come and see first hand exactly what is involved when we talk about hydroelectric dams and the benefits we get from them – I think the better off we are,” he said. declared.

However, environmental groups and the Nez Percé Tribe continue to press for the removal or modification of the four dams in an effort to protect the endangered salmon.

“Nothing has been more devastating to these species than four dams impeding a 140-mile section of their migration on the lower Snake River,” EarthJustice lead attorney Todd True wrote in a statement. Press. “Scientists have been saying for years that breaking these dams is the best thing we can do to restore these fish.”

But, Newhouse said further study is needed into court-ordered increases in spills over dams, which he says increases dissolved gases in the water, posing a threat to water bodies. Pisces. Moreover, he stated that the increased spillage wastes potential energy.

“It could go through turbines to generate power to boost our economy. The cost of energy is literally exploding. It’s really hard to see all that potential energy being literally wasted,” Newhouse said.

However, environmental groups have said the increased spillage is helping young salmon migrate out to sea, calling the increased spillage a crucial protection for juvenile salmon.

“The science is clear and for many years the spill has increased the survival of migrating juvenile fish. And while the increase in dumping has been helpful, it remains insufficient if we are to save these fish and prevent their extinction,” said Joseph Bogaard, executive director of Save Our Wild Salmon.

Man shot at NJ Transit New Brunswick station

June 3, 2022

Montana Economy

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One person was fatally shot at the New Brunswick NJ Transit station on Sunday evening, according to Rutgers police in a statement released Thursday.

The person was approached by four men who struck her with a “blunt object” around 8:30 p.m., according to Rutgers police.

The person who was hit pursued the assailants but was shot in the lower limbs. The four men fled and were last seen in the area of ​​Somerset Street and College Avenue, one block from the train station.

Police were only informed when the victim sought medical treatment for the gunshot wound which is not life threatening.

A spokeswoman for NJ Transit said no arrests have yet been made in the case and the investigation is ongoing.

It was the second incident at the NJ Transit station that week.

NJ Transit’s Red Bank station on the North Jersey Coast Line

NJ Transit’s Red Bank station on the North Jersey Coast Line (Carl Schellenberger)

A man was found dead on the incoming platform of NJ Transit’s Red Bank station on Tuesday afternoon, according to the spokesperson. His identity has been confirmed as Gabriel Aparicio-Hernandez, 27.

Red Bank Police Captain Mike Frazee told Patch there were no signs of trauma or foul play. The spokeswoman would not divulge additional information about the case citing the ongoing investigation.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

Click here to contact an editor about a comment or correction for this story.

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Municipal tax bill for every city and town in NJ, filed

Just under 30 cents of every $1 of property taxes collected in New Jersey supports municipal services provided by cities, townships, boroughs, and villages. Statewide, the average municipal tax bill alone in 2021 was $2,725, but that varied widely from over $13,000 in Tavistock to nothing in three townships. In addition to the $9.22 billion in taxes for municipal purposes, special tax districts that in some locations provide municipal services such as fire protection, garbage collection or economic development collected 323, $8 million in 2021.

Deb Haaland to Boost Clean Energy Generation on Public Lands

June 1, 2022

Montana Economy

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Interior Secretary Deb Haaland traveled to Las Vegas on Tuesday to announce new efforts to support the growing clean energy economy and green jobs in Nevada and the Southwest.

Climate change poses an existential threat to our environment, health and economic well-being, according to Haaland.

In Las Vegas, Haaland announced two new developments to aid renewable energy efforts. One is a new policy to reduce rents and fees charged for wind and solar projects on public lands by 50% for existing and new projects.

“This will inspire industry to partner in responsible solar and wind development and help encourage and inspire to invest and compete in the clean energy economy,” she said.

A second development is the creation of five new Renewable Energy Coordination Offices to manage the growing number of requests by wind, solar and geothermal developers through the Bureau of Land Management.

Coordinating offices include a national office at BLM headquarters, state offices in Arizona, California and Nevada, and a regional office in Utah.

Both projects are part of the Biden administration’s goal of a net-zero economy by 2050.

“The Bureau of Land Management continues to take bold steps to attract renewable energy investment to public lands in an environmentally responsible manner,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “This will help support our clean energy economy by creating well-paying jobs, increasing our energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana , KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations throughout the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The photo included in this story is licensed under a Creative Commons Flickr license.

Car parking: Missoula debates current needs, future trends

May 30, 2022

Montana Economy

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A man pays to park in downtown Missoula. (Current Martin Kidston/Missoula file)

Some say a large apartment complex proposed for Midtown Missoula does not have enough parking spaces, with only one space per residential unit. Others say it has too much, creating a sea of ​​asphalt that could be put to better uses.

The parking debate with new developments is perennial in Missoula, where land is both limited and expensive. Using it to park cars is expensive and could fall out of use as carpooling and public transport expand to provide new mobility options.

As one reader suggested, “many developers discourage car ownership or provide residents with a small fleet of vehicles. There are alternatives to huge car parks.

In downtown Missoula, Ian Ortlieb, director of the Missoula Parking Commission, said the Covid-19 pandemic “sent everything into a tailspin” around the parking lot. Demand dried up as people stayed home and the economy slowed.

Now that the restrictions have been lifted, many companies have turned to new work models like telecommuting or a hybrid schedule. If the trend continues, this could reduce downtown parking demand in the long term.

“As we monitor what’s happening — the recovery process in Missoula — we’re paying close attention to parking demand,” Ortlieb said. “But I think it’s early at this point to really understand what’s going on.”

Urban planners in big cities have already started to rethink how people get around and what the future of mobility will bring. At some point, they predict, self-driving vehicles will transport passengers to any location, reducing the need for personal cars while making large parking lots obsolete.

A parking attendant patrols the street in downtown Missoula. (Current Martin Kidston/Missoula file)

Already, ride-sharing like Uber and Lyft are offering new transportation options, and new developments in other cities now include drop-off areas in hard-pack parking. Missoula also has a convenient transit system at Mountain Line, which is set to expand services to make the system more convenient.

But this will require more density in some parts of the city, which is difficult to achieve when parking takes up so much space.

“Looking into the future of the area we’re managing in, the density is only going to increase,” Ortlieb said of downtown. “So how can we increase parking supply without necessarily increasing our footprint with parking lots? You can install many more parking spaces in a garage on surface land.

According to the Washington Post, cities like Cincinnati and Los Angeles have new parking lots with flat floors and higher ceilings. This allows them to be converted into apartments or offices if parking demand drops.

In downtown Missoula, the need for parking is uneven and varies by area, Ortlieb said. The city offers approximately 1,200 spaces on the street, including short-term, long-term, and metered parking. It offers an additional 1,300 parking spaces in its rental program, including surface lots and garages.

“We don’t get the complaint that there’s too much parking,” Ortlieb said. “Just about everywhere, there are localized shortages. But some areas seem a bit narrower than others.

Another measure of demand may be the revenue brought to the city by parking. In 2021, Ortlieb said, the Missoula Parking Commission brought in $2.4 million in overall revenue. In the first three quarters of this fiscal year, it has already grossed over $2.1 million.

Nationally, the 25 largest U.S. cities raised about $1.5 billion in total from parking, according to “Special Report: How Self-Driving Vehicles Could Limit City Budgets.”

“We expect a little more than the previous year. Hopefully this is a sign of recovery from the pandemic,” Ortlieb said of this year’s parking revenue.

Outside of downtown, Missoula city and county codes require a set number of parking spaces based on a project. This month, however, the city council began exploring potential incentives for developers in exchange for more affordable housing.

The Casa Loma project on South Avenue would dedicate the majority of the property to parking.

One would allow a developer to reduce parking by up to 50% in exchange for a fixed percentage of affordable housing. Parking supply is expensive and drives up development costs, so reducing the number of parking spaces could lower construction costs.

It could also free up land for better building design and other uses — something members of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency noted in a recent proposed apartment project on South Avenue.

As presented, the Casa Loma project would create 132 new housing units. It would also provide 132 parking spaces in a large car park located within the development. Some say it’s not enough parking while others argue it’s too much. A similar debate is taking place around the great Ravara project on Scott Street.

“It would be nice to see some innovative thinking in a parking grid that isn’t all asphalt – asphalt being a heat sink,” said MRA Commissioner Nancy Moe. “Given that temperatures are going to rise, it would be nice to see something on the sustainability side.”

Nate Richmond, a member of the Casa Loma development team, didn’t disagree. Surface parking isn’t ideal, he says, although the options cost money.

“One of the things we assessed for our construction estimator is to consider doing underground parking so we can reduce the size of that surface lot,” he said. “It’s something we’d like to accomplish, but obviously the cost is significant with that.”

Soaring Fertilizer Prices Compress Midwest Farmers | national news

May 28, 2022

Montana Economy

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(The Center Square) – Things are getting tougher for the country’s breadbasket, a difficult situation that will likely affect the country’s economy.

In addition to 40-year high inflation and new records being set almost daily at the gas pump for the past two weeks, the price of some agricultural fertilizers has skyrocketed as much as 60% above last year.

“An average 2,500-acre corn and soybean farm has seen its fertilizer bill increase by $175,000 in the last year alone, from $250,000 to $425,000,” said economist Loren Koeman. Chief/Manager of Industry, Conservation, and Regulatory Relations for the Michigan Farm Bureau. Center Square.

This is very bad news for farmers, but also for grocery store customers who buy basic foods like meat, dairy and bread.

The Michigan Legislature has sent a message to lawmakers in Washington to help reduce agricultural fertilizer costs. Rep. Steve Carra, R-Three Rivers, is the author of House Resolution 205. The resolution urges the U.S. Congress, federal agencies and state departments to immediately address the continuing fertilizer price increases and shortages that are severely affecting Michigan farmers.

The Michigan House of Representatives approved the resolution and sent it to the US Congress.

“Farmers play a vital role in Michigan’s history, as well as in today’s culture and economy,” Carra, a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, said in a statement. “There are approximately 10 million acres of farmland in Michigan, and we are home to over 47,000 farms. There are millions of acres of farmland that need to be fertilized.

According to Koeman, the main factors driving up fertilizer prices are:

The war in Ukraine has impacted the supply of fertilizers from Russia and Belarus due to sanctions.

Rising energy prices have a direct impact on nitrogen fertilizers, which are made from natural gas.

Higher shipping costs due to both rising energy costs, labor costs, and limited ship and rail availability. Fertilizers are bulky and often have to be shipped long distances from where they are extracted to where they are used.

Consolidation in the fertilizer industry. For example, just two companies control more than 90% of the US potash market. Fertilizer producers are making record profits. For example, Nutrien’s profits for the last 12 months are almost 10 times greater than the profits for 2020.

Modern farmers have increased the efficiency of fertilizers, optimizing the use of technologies such as GPS to test soils and manage individual crop areas in fields, Koeman explained. It is therefore difficult to further reduce fertilizer use without reducing yields.

In the short term, farmers’ profits are reduced by high fertilizer prices. In the long run, farmers need to make a profit to stay in business, so higher fertilizer costs will have to drive up food prices, Koeman said.

It’s not all bad news for farmers.

“This year, farmers were largely able to offset the higher cost of fertilizers with higher crop prices, due to the supply disruption in Ukraine,” Koeman said. “Farmers are concerned, however, that fertilizer prices will remain high even if crop prices fall back to more normal levels, squeezing profits.”

Michigan Farm Bureau industry relations specialist Theresa Sisung agrees with Koeman.

“With high crop prices, farmers hope to offset some of their additional input expenses with higher selling prices and good yields,” Sisung told The Center Square. “Farmers are sharpening their pencils and being diligent in crop sales, and with the help of Mother Nature, it is still possible to have a positive income this year. There is more concern about future profitability if input prices remain high and we see crop prices start to decline. »

Local South Jersey restaurant donates thousands of meals

May 25, 2022

Montana Economy

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Foodie Hall in Cherry Hill has only been open since March, but they’ve already donated 7,200 meals through their Meals 4 Meals program. For every meal ordered at Foodie Hall, the company donates a meal to Feeding America, which supports food banks nationwide.

They are on track to deliver 50,000 meals by the end of the year.

It’s not just a whole new food company, but a new takeaway concept. There are seven kitchen brands and types in a 2,000 square foot kitchen. You can get Asian, Mexican, and Italian dishes, as well as a full chicken menu and vegan options.

Photo Dennis Malloy

Photo Dennis Malloy

Yes, they also do great pizzas.

See more here. They plan to add three more full menus to their electronic restaurant variety.

Their culinary direction is a master chef whose list of accomplishments is as long and varied as their menus.

It’s all under the culinary direction of chef Georgeann Leaming, who along with owners Dan Goldberg and Nick Ballias knew they were going to feed a lot of people.

Through Feeding America, Foodie Hall donates meals for every meal ordered from its online restaurant. Feeding America is the largest hunger relief organization in the United States, with 200 food banks and 60,000 pantries and thriving meal programs.

Photo Dennis Malloy

Photo Dennis Malloy

Feeding America serves 40 million people, including 12 million children and seven million seniors nationwide.

Foodie Hall is thrilled with the response to its new premium takeout and delivery concept, and its ability to give back by donating so many meals to those in need. They plan to open more locations in New Jersey as the Cherry Hill location expands.

Based on how many meals they’ve already served their customers and donated to Feeding American, it could happen sooner rather than later.

The views expressed in the above post are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.

You can now listen to Dennis & Judi — On demand! Listen to New Jersey’s favorite Best Friends anytime, anywhere, and any day of the week. Download the Dennis & Judi show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen now.

Click here to contact an editor about a comment or correction for this story.

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‘She’s Assignment’ Still Impacting NJ Women in Workforce: Report

May 22, 2022

Montana Economy

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Unlike other recessions, the downturn caused by COVID-19 has hit women harder than men economically.

And a new report from Rutgers suggests that women are struggling to regain their status in the workforce, and could continue to do so for some time.

Female unemployment, which peaked at 18.4% in April 2020, has exceeded that of men through the end of 2021, according to the Rutgers Center for Women and Work report.

Most of these women are back at work, but not necessarily back to normal – making significant sacrifices related to the way they work, usually due to childcare issues.

“It’s the part of the ‘She-cession’ that nobody talks about,” said Debra Lancaster, the Center’s executive director. “Thousands of women are sacrificing full-time jobs, higher wages, health insurance and other benefits for the ability to care for young children and aging parents.”

In the last six months of 2021, despite the return to in-person school instruction, 23.1% of families experienced childcare disruptions, according to the report. Women of color and those with low incomes have shouldered the greatest burdens.

At the end of 2021, 5.2% of women held multiple jobs, compared to 4.1% of men, the report notes. In 2018, 4.4% of men held more than one job, compared to 4.3% of women.

“We’re also seeing people cut back on their working hours or having to watch their kids while they work,” said Sarah Small, the report’s co-author and an economist at the Center. “The child care crisis has never gone away for many low-income families.”

The report also highlighted the gender pay gap among those in front-line positions and showed how policies such as federal stimulus payments and the child tax credit have helped families low income – those who received the payments – to afford the essentials in times of uncertainty.

The report makes a number of recommendations to improve conditions for women and their families in New Jersey, such as ensuring the longevity of the child tax credit, strengthening housing protections, improving access and affordability of child care and improving access to mental health services.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

Click here to contact an editor about a comment or correction for this story.

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Republican candidates in the final debate for the US House District 1 seat | ABC Fox Missoula

May 21, 2022

Montana Economy

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WHITE FISH, Mont. – Like your hometown election Headquarter, we are counting down to the primary elections in June. RRepublican candidates or the seat of the United States House district in Congress discussed issues affecting ranchers and farmers during their final debate at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center this Friday night.

Each contestant was asked to answer questions about various issues affecting farmers and ranchers in Montana, one of them being mental health.

In one question, candidates were asked how they would address this lingering crisis among farmers and ranchers, especially in rural Montana.

Here’s what they had to say.

“We in the room can do better on the scene, the political scene, the economic scene, we can do better and I also think when you go into the economy they face an economy that we never have been faced before. if they go to a school and work at the job for 10 years, that job may never exist, which actually creates more tension and questions, they go to bed more anxious than ever before,” said Matt Jette, (R)House District candidate.

“It’s a crisis on every level and it comes out of desperation and so it comes down to education and I think again when an individual is cross-trained and self-sufficient they can be successful in another area if a guy company is closing down. they have one backup and go to another,” said House District (R) candidate Mitch Heuer.

“As the only physician in the state legislature for the past 8 years, my role was to push, shoot, kill and carry bills that supported suicide prevention and education that worked on substance abuse and mental health. What we’re learning is there’s a lot we can do at the state level, but the big issue comes down to reimbursement,” said district candidate Al Olszewski. of House (R).

“When they’re told they have to do things with their bodies, I think that’s wrong, it’s overreaching government and we need to look at the bigger picture to find out why the suicide rate is so high. and I really think it’s because of government-reach and people have to go back to managing their own lives, managing their own issues and not being dependent on government,” said Mary Todd (R) House District candidate.

To see the answers to all the questions posed to candidates, you can head to our streaming news channel.

NJ AG warns of price gouging and fraud involving infant formula

May 19, 2022

Montana Economy

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On Thursday, New Jersey Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin clarified what the state of emergency Governor Phil Murphy declared on Tuesday due to an ongoing shortage of baby formula means for merchants who may want to increase their profits with this coveted and essential item.

In a statement, the attorney general’s office said Murphy’s order enforces the state’s predatory pricing law, prohibiting for the duration of the state of emergency and 30 days after any increase in price higher than 10% of what the price was before. urgency.

The OAG said the state Consumer Affairs Division has received “approximately” 16 consumer complaints about the infant formula price hike to date, about half of them in less than three days since publication of the decree.

Each individual sale is considered a separate violation, according to the OAG. A first offense carries a civil penalty of up to $10,000, with the fine increasing to $20,000 for the second and subsequent offenses.

Violators may also be subject to the payment of restitution to consumers, as well as attorney and investigation fees, according to the statement.

The OAG said specific scams to watch out for include offering or selling expired infant formula, or any transaction that requires a wire transfer.

As the state Poison Control Center also suggested earlier Thursday, parents should consult with their baby’s pediatrician before changing the formula.

Price gouging of infant formula in New Jersey can be reported by filling out an online form or by calling 1-800-242-5846 to request a complaint form by mail.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]remedia.com

Click here to contact an editor about a comment or correction for this story.

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US States Struggle to Replace Tax Revenue from Fossil Fuels | News, Sports, Jobs

May 17, 2022

Montana Economy

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AP Photo/Jeri Clausing, File Oil rigs sit in the Loco Hills field along US Highway 82 in Eddy County near Artesia, NM, one of the busiest areas in the Permian basin.

SANTA FE, NM (AP) — Government budgets are booming in New Mexico: Teacher salaries are up, residents can go to state college tuition-free, mothers will get medical care for a year postpartum and criminal justice initiatives are funded to reduce urban violence.

The reason behind the spending spree – oil. New Mexico is the second largest producer of crude oil among US states and the top recipient of US remittances for fossil fuel production on federal lands. But a budget filled with oil cash has a side effect: it also highlights how difficult it is to turn state rhetoric about fighting climate change into reality.

State governments in key regions of the country for oil, natural gas and coal production have by far the highest per capita reliance on fossil fuels – led by Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska and the New Mexico. Revenue funds essential public services, from road maintenance to prisons. In Carlsbad, New Mexico, property taxes on oil infrastructure are securing a high school performing arts center, expanded sports facilities and elementary school renovations.

None of this would be possible without oil revenue, said schools superintendent Gerry Washburn.

“We can’t slow down on this and what we’re doing to fund schools until we have a legitimate replacement” for oil and natural gas revenues, he said. “Whether you’re in the middle of the oil patch or in an area with no oil and gas drilling, these policies will impact the revenue of every school district in the state.”

Federal, state and local governments receive about $138 billion a year from the fossil fuel industry, according to a study by nonpartisan Washington-based economics group Resources for the Future, which does not advocate energy policies. This equals the annual spending of New York State and Texas combined.

Cash flow is dominated by retail taxes on gasoline and diesel in each state, but energy-producing states are most dependent on fossil fuel revenues through a range of taxes, levies, rental and fee sales. Because these revenues help pay for government services, they tend to tax residents less, said Daniel Raimi, a fellow at Resources for the Future and co-author of the study.

“It’s a really difficult dynamic if you’re thinking about moving away from fossil fuels,” he said. “They are going to be faced with the question: are we going to increase our taxes on our residents or do we have to reduce the level of services that we provide? »

In New Mexico, oil and gas make up 42% of state government revenue, a share rising amid war in Ukraine and record oil production in the Permian Basin that stretches across southeastern New Mexico and western Texas. Additional oil revenues are paid into a new interest-bearing trust for early childhood education.

Skyrocketing profits from the fossil fuel industry have also given the Democratic-controlled New Mexico Legislature a chance to try to tackle the nation’s highest unemployment rate and the persistence of a high poverty. Lawmakers gave $1.1 billion in tax breaks and direct payments of up to $1,500 per household to offset inflation.

At the same time, lawmakers have balked this year over climate initiatives that could curb oil production. They rejected a bill to limit pollution linked to global warming in the production and distribution of transportation fuels, a measure taken by West Coast states. New Mexico also avoided a state constitutional amendment for the right to clean air.

Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, re-elected in November, said her administration was working to contain methane pollution from oilfields and diversify the economy. New mandates provide for the production of electricity from solar, wind and other renewable sources. But she warned the federal government against deep restrictions on oil exploration and production, which are still the cornerstone of the state budget.

“We can work very effectively with oil and gas producers to meet clean energy standards…while managing some pretty incredible fossil fuel exploration to meet the world’s current energy demands,” the governor said in April.

Preserving revenue from oil, natural gas or coal production while acting on climate change can be especially tricky in blue states where Democrats often campaign to fight global warming.

Colorado Democratic Governor Jared Polis is pursuing an ambitious clean energy plan while trying to preserve $1 billion in annual tax revenue from oil and gas production. To justify air pollution restrictions, Polis cited real-time evidence of climate change, drought and fires.

But Polis, a wealthy tech entrepreneur, threatened last year to veto a proposal that could impose a per-tonne emissions fee on polluters. William Toor, executive director of the governor’s Colorado Energy Office, said the state is not targeting fossil fuel production, only emissions from industry.

On the plains of northeastern Colorado, Weld County Commission Chairman Scott James said state regulations are stifling new drilling needed to support production and government revenues, especially for the schools. The county is centered on a vast oil field stretching from the Denver area to Wyoming and Nebraska.

“I agree with the overall mission to reduce greenhouse gases, but there is an environment that exists in the State Legislature where we have to electrify everything, we have to mandate it, we have to do it now”, said James. “And these technologies are not ready for prime time yet. We just don’t have the capacity to do that.

Rural and economically isolated communities may have a harder time adjusting to a low-carbon economy, said Kristin Smith, a Montana-based Headwaters Economics researcher and economist who studies public finance in the Bakken oil region. , North Dakota. She anticipates “Very difficult decisions” on cuts to areas like public health care and policing.

Some major oil-producing states are moving forward with their climate programs.

Pennsylvania in April became the first major fossil fuel state to adopt a carbon pricing policy, joining an 11-state regional consortium that sets a falling price and limits on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s move comes without the approval of the Republican-controlled legislature in the nation’s No. 2 state for natural gas production — and a major exporter of gas-generated electricity. A per-well drilling royalty on the booming Marcellus shale gas industry has rained cash on rural counties and municipalities for nearly a decade.

South of Pittsburgh, Washington County has raised more than $100 million over the past decade. This equates to $500 per capita — a “game changer,” said County Council Chairwoman Diana Irey Vaughan. The manna paid, among other things, for the improvement of parks and bridges.

Democratic State Representative Greg Vitali, an advocate for stronger action on climate change, said local governments dependent on gas drilling money will simply have to use traditional tools such as property taxes to make it out.

Republican-dominated Wyoming, the top coal-producing state, has bold goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions to below zero, even though fossil fuels make up more than half of its revenue.

This vision hinges on eventually capturing carbon dioxide from coal and gas-fired power plants and pumping it underground, possibly to increase oil production in aging fields in the center of the state. Wyoming leaders are also turning to alternative fuels like hydrogen and nuclear power, using reactors that produce less waste.

Meanwhile, a decade of declining demand for coal has sapped government revenue. Republican Gov. Mark Gordon signed a coal tax cut in March, giving up about $9 million a year to help the coal industry remain economically viable.

The state – one of only two that does not tax personal income, corporate income or gross receipts – must eventually come to terms with its dependence on fossil fuel money, said Jennifer Lowe, executive director of the Equality State Policy Center, a government watchdog group.

“At some point, there is going to have to be a time for Jesus to come,” Lowe said.



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Common Ground of New Jersey helps those who lose a loved one

May 15, 2022

Montana Economy

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No one can deny that the past two years with the pandemic have caused major disruption and upended our lives for what seemed like an eternity. Our hospitals were full and some of our patients succumbed to the virus and died.

It was reported this week that the death toll from the covid virus has soared to 1,000,000. That’s an incredible number.

Tero Vesalainen

Tero Vesalainen

The Common Ground Grief Center located in Manasquan provides support in a safe place where grieving children, teens, young adults and their families can come together and share their experiences as they begin the grieving process. They have many programs that provide this support and volunteers to help those grieving a death.

Common Ground provides just that, common ground for those who have experienced death close to them, and their programs offer the opportunity for those who are grieving to share and discuss their inner thoughts with others going through similar pain. It is necessary therapy.

Most of us have experienced the loss of someone very close to us and often when we hear of the death our friends or associates say, “I know how you feel”. After the funeral and the celebration of life, it becomes awfully quiet and lonely without the loved one who has passed away. That’s when Common Ground is needed and they provide the help needed to cope.

You can help Common Ground continue to provide these necessary programs. On Thursday, 6/16/22, Common Ground will hold its
2nd Annual Clam Cook with music provided by the very talented Eddie Testa Band taking place at Martell’s Tiki Bar from 5:30-9:30pm. It will be amazing food, raffle prizes and a cash bar. The food is awesome.

Help Common Ground Grief Center help those in need when they need it. You can buy clam cooking tickets or donate here:
commongroundgriefcenter.org and click on News and Events
As always thank you for your support.

The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. All opinions expressed are those of Big Joe.

WATCH: States with the most new small businesses per capita

Visit Big Sky shifts focus from marketing to management

May 13, 2022

Montana Economy

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By Gabrielle Gasser ASSOCIATE EDITOR

BIG SKY – On the eve of another busy tourist season in Big Sky, the marketing and community management organization is shifting from relentless efforts to sell the destination to educating visitors on how to enjoy their Stay responsibly.

Today at the annual Visit Big Sky Marketing Outlook luncheon, presenters discussed the growth of Big Sky’s and the state’s tourism economy, and how that growth can be responsibly managed. About 60 business owners from a variety of industries came together to hear five speakers on topics ranging from how to use social media to drive business, what the state of Montana is doing to attract tourism, and how Big Sky can improve the visitor experience.

Brad Niva, CEO of the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce and VBS, shared in his presentation that in order for VBS to move away from marketing efforts, he plans to invest in projects to manage Big Sky as a destination and to improve the visitor experience.

Niva shares a quote from John Muir to kick off her presentation. PHOTO GABRIELLE GASSER

“As Big Sky has grown, we’re having a capacity issue,” Niva said. “All our hotels are full, our restaurants are full [and] lift lines are longer. …our change… does not mean that we stop marketing, but we must continue to communicate with our visitors and thus educate them on how to be a good visitor.

Some of this communication will take the form of new wayfinding signage which Niva says is being updated, as well as the new “Love Big Sky Like a Local” education campaign which gives tourists advice on how to be respectful. He also announced that VBS was part of an effort to update Google Street View in Big Sky, which currently uses photos taken in 2015. Over three days in the first week of June, the 32-mile route of Big Sky will be recaptured to help visitors find their way around today’s Big Sky.

To support local businesses, Niva said it is working on a new website and tourism industry newsletter that will be distributed monthly to businesses and provide them with up-to-date Big Sky data to help inform staffing decisions.

In an effort to create visitor services and to more firmly play the role of destination manager rather than marketer, VBS in its FY23 application made a request for $333,600 to the Big District Council Sky Resort Area to get funds to build new public restrooms in Fire. Pit Park in the city center.

“We don’t use any resort fees for traditional marketing,” Niva said. “It will only serve the infrastructure and betterment of our community. »

After Niva’s presentation, Haley Walter, campaign director for Visit Montana, said the state is seeing record numbers in bed tax collections as well as growth across all regions.

The state’s goal based on that growth, Walter said, is public education and spreading the “responsibly recreate” messages.

Additionally, Walter said Visit Montana is working to promote the spread of tourists throughout the state to relieve pressure on high-traffic areas. The state will also transition to an “always on” marketing model, intended to support visits during the shoulder seasons.

Big Sky is the largest collector of the 4% lodging facility use tax in the state, according to data from the Montana Office of Tourism, raising a total of $4,948,727 million in 2021 , Bozeman in second place by raising $4,455,700.

Big Sky has “enough visitors,” Niva said, and now is the time to step back from marketing and focus on communicating with those visitors.

Niva said the Big Sky community has already done a good job of marketing and managing it as a destination and he wants that to continue in the future.

“It’s our job,” he said, “to continue to inspire people to take the time to work on their business and work on our experience, make sure our visitors leave here saying: ” I can not wait to return “.”

Resilient Butte program sees potential for green energy in mining town

May 11, 2022

Montana Economy

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BUTTE – The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is partnering with Montana Tech and Butte-Silver Bow County to bring renewable energy ideas and solutions to the impacts of climate change.

“We’re going to work with experts across the country who know climate trends and climate projections to say what issues Butte is facing? So we can be tough on Butte going forward,” said NCAT Director Steve Thompson.

The Resilient Butte program creates a plan to stimulate local business development, develop green energy, and protect the community and its natural resources from the impacts of climate change. This includes health and environmental issues such as drought, forest fires and rising temperatures.

“A lot more wildfire smoke, most summers we get more wildfire smoke. It’s a health concern for particularly vulnerable people,” Thompson said.

The plan also involves investing in new clean energy sources such as solar, energy storage systems or green hydrogen industries.

“One of the opportunities we have in Butte is to put solar panels on the mining lands and that would be really cool, and it’s such an interesting and specific project for Butte,” said Resilient Butte coordinator Rylie Yaeger. .

Some city officials see it as preparing Butte for a new economy.

“How do we adapt as a community to future energy, power, water needs, whatever it is, we have to come up with a plan for that,” Butte general manager JP Gallagher said.

The group is soliciting community feedback with a poll on the Resilient Butte website.

Broadband Champions Needed to Combat Barriers and Boost Public Funding, Panelists Say: Broadband Breakfast

May 6, 2022

Montana Economy

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HOUSTON, May 4, 2022 – Those considering using public funding opportunities should communicate with all levels of stakeholders and worthwhile partnerships to get the most out of the Infrastructure Investment Act funding and the ‘job.

Funding plans live or die by stakeholder involvement, said Tom CoverickCEO of Keybanc Capital Markets.

“Every project needs a champion,” he said during the Broadband Breakfast’s Digital Infrastructure Investment mini-conference at the Broadband Communities Summit on Monday. “We are looking at higher interest rates and [rising] labor costs. Without local champions, these local projects would have a hard time moving forward.

“The reality is that these champions in local regions will know everyone who needs to be involved, and if they don’t know, they’ll find out how it is pretty quickly,” Coverick said.

“Some communities are ahead of others,” said Illinois Broadband Office Manager matt schmit mentioned. “There are a lot of great role models across the country who have [created] community engagement and outreach programs.

Schmit used Illinois’ “Accelerate Illinois” partnership between the state and Heartland Forward. He explained how this program has helped guide communities who are committed to obtaining public funding for broadband, but who may not have concrete goals or a vision of how to achieve them.

“[These communities] haven’t had this inclusive conversation at the community level, or they may not know exactly how to prepare a grant application, or [how to] find the ideal private supplier partner.

Schmit also emphasized the importance of communication and emphasized a three-legged stool for access, adoption and use. “Be available [to community leaders – to that local champion –] is really important,” Schmit said. “It’s going to make or break a lot of our investment in the United States.”

CEO of the California Emerging Technology Fund Sunne Wright McPeak said communication should be encouraged from all stakeholders, from top to bottom. She spoke in particular of state leaders informing local community leaders of the opportunities available to them through grants.

Part of this coordination helped generate intermediary investments to connect eligible communities, she said.

“It is essential to systematically contact the public bodies that must approve the projects and give the permits, and those who will develop the project and apply for the financing[essential”saidMcPeak[iscritical”McPeaksaid[estessentiel”adéclaréMcPeak[iscritical”McPeaksaid

“People who are really on the ground in adoption are what we call trusted messengers,” she added. “It’s the community organizations that can do outreach – in language and culture – and increase that turnout.”

“Where there is a will, there is a way”, said the CEO of UTOPIA Fiber Roger Timmerman. “If you have elected officials or community groups or leaders and you want to solve the broadband problem in your area, you need to organize that effort and find good partners.”

Information on the presentations made during the “Public Funding” panel is available on the Digital Infrastructure Investment page.

Visit Montana celebrates the future of travel

May 3, 2022

Montana Economy

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National Travel and Tourism Week highlights the Collective strength of the travel industry in the United States

HELEN, Mont., May 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Montana joins tourism partners across the state to celebrate the travel and tourism industry – the state’s second largest industry – during National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTT) May 1-7, 2022.

“Tourism plays a vital role in from montana economy,” said Scott Osterman, director of the Montana Department of Commerce. “This week celebrates the work of the hospitality industry across the state and the thousands of local Montanese employed in various travel industries.”

Celebrated the first full week of May each year, this year’s theme is The future of travel and focuses on workforce, sustainability, connection building and more as the industry looks to future growth and success after the challenges of the past two years.

A key driver of the state’s economy, tourism has a huge impact on Montanawith data from the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (ITRR) showing an impact that includes:

  • Montana welcomed about 12.5 million non-resident visitors in 2021
  • Non-resident visitors spent approximately $5.22 billion in 2021
  • that spending by non-resident visitors supported $4.42 billion of economic activity in 2021
  • Travel, tourism and hospitality supported 68,630 jobs and contributed $2.038 billion in employee compensation

Montana is a place that remains at the top of the wish list of many travellers,” said Jan Stoddard, bureau chief of the Montana Tourist Board. “Year after year, we see the positive impacts of non-resident traveler spending as it touches every community across the state.”

Destination Analysts reports that nearly 90% of Americans have a trip planned for 2022, with family travel, solo travel and meeting travel being a high priority.

“NTTW takes on special significance this year as the travel industry looks to a bright future,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the US Travel Association. “This NTTW is an opportunity to recognize the collective strength of the travel industry in the United States and how we are rebuilding ourselves to be more vibrant, innovative, sustainable and inclusive in the months and years to come.”

For more information on from montana tourism industry and marketing efforts, visit MarketMT.com.

About Visit Montana
To visit Montana markets from montana spectacular untouched nature, vibrant and charming small towns, breathtaking experiences, relaxing hospitality, and a competitive business climate to promote the state as a place to visit and do business. For more information, visit VISITMT.COM.

SOURCE Visit Montana

You decide: How well has North Carolina handled COVID-19? – The Coastland Times

May 2, 2022

Montana Economy

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By Mike Walden

Even if COVID-19 continues with its variants, medical experts hope the virus becomes less deadly and disruptive. In other words, we learn to live with it.

As a result, it should come as no surprise that an increasing number of studies are being published on how we coped with COVID-19 and what we can learn if we face another pandemic. One way to do this is to compare how states perform during COVID-19 on a number of important metrics.

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A recent study was written by three economists and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). The NBER is not a national agency. It is a non-partisan, non-profit research organization founded in 1920. It is one of the most prestigious economic “think tanks” in the country. So when the NBER publishes a study, I pay attention.

While there have been numerous federal government policies, programs, and funding to combat the pandemic, our federal system has enabled all 50 states and Washington, D.C.. customize some of their own policies, including masking, closures, school operations, and vaccine availability. Therefore, there were 51 different localities (50 states plus Washington, DC) that the authors had to compare for their results in the fight against COVID-19.

The authors focused on three categories of outcomes: economy, education, and deaths. For the economy, the authors used two measures: the total number of months of unemployment per worker in the state from April 2020 at the start of the pandemic through the end of 2021, and the depth of the recession caused by the pandemic.

The impact of the pandemic on education was measured by the percentage of public education in each state that took place in person at schools rather than remotely. This measure was used because many experts and parents argued that remote learning for children during COVID-19 was not as beneficial to students’ academic outcomes as in-person learning.

For deaths, the per capita death rate over the past two COVID-19 years was used, but only after adjusting the figures for age and health factors, such as the prevalence of diabetes and obesity in the state.

So what did the study find, specifically for North Carolina? On both economic measures, North Carolina ranked 17and on measuring unemployment and 19and for the depth of the COVID-19 recession, where higher ranking means better performance. Translated, the results mean that among the 51 states plus Washington, D.C..North Carolina had the 17and the lowest total number of months of unemployment per worker and the 19and mildest COVID-19 recession. Montana had the best unemployment performance and South Dakota had the least severe recession. At the other end of the spectrum, New Jersey had the worst unemployment performance and Connecticut had the deepest recession.

North Carolina’s ranking on in-person student teaching was not as impressive. State ranked 34and, meaning 33 other states had a higher percentage of students receiving in-person instruction during the pandemic. Wyoming had the highest percentage of in-person instruction, while Washington, DC had the lowest percentage.

North Carolina’s highest ranking was in age- and health-adjusted COVID-19 deaths per capita, where the state ranked 7and, meaning only six states had lower adjusted COVID-19 deaths per capita. The best performing state for deaths was Hawaii, while the worst performing state was Arizona.

The authors also combined the individual rankings for each measure into a single overall ranking. North Carolina’s overall ranking was 13andmeaning the state had the 13and best performance during the pandemic among the fifty states and Washington, DC using all measures developed by the authors. Utah placed first in the combined standings and New Jersey came in last.

With 51 locations, North Carolina’s 13th place ranking puts the state in the top 25%. Among North Carolina’s immediate neighbors, only South Carolina ranked 12th. Georgia placed 19th.andTennessee was at 24and position and Virginie placed 36and.

As the economy progresses, ranking state performance during the pandemic can become very important. Rankings could become a major factor in business and household location decisions. It will take years, if not decades, for the memories of the COVID-19 pandemic to fade. Households and businesses will be motivated to move to states that have weathered the pandemic well compared to other states. The study published by the NBER strongly suggests that North Carolina is in the “coping well” category.

Economists agree that the future economy will go through major changes in what businesses do, how people work, and how and where people live. Being in a state that has handled the pandemic better than most other states should give that state an edge in dealing with these changes. Is North Carolina such a state? You decide.

Dr. Mike Walden is William Neal Reynolds Professor Emeritus at North Carolina State University.

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How have states handled the COVID-19 crisis? New analysis shows Utah, Nebraska and Vermont were the best with Montana and Florida close behind

April 30, 2022

Montana Economy

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The Committee To Unleash Prosperity (CUP) has released the most comprehensive analysis to date on how states have handled the COVID-19 crisis. These results were also published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Picture/CUP

The State Report Card measures and compares state performance on three metrics: economy, education, and virus mortality. It answers the question: how have states managed to balance the health of their citizens, keep their economies functioning and limit job losses, and keep their schools open so that the children of school age do not suffer long-term educational setbacks.

Each of these three measures was weighted equally. The states that received an F grade were New Jersey, New York, California, Illinois and Washington, DC. These states scored poorly on every measure. They had high age-adjusted mortality rates; they had high unemployment and large GDP losses, and they kept their schools closed much longer than almost any other state.

The top performers were Utah, Nebraska and Vermont with Montana and Florida close behind.

The study verifies other studies that found the lockdown of businesses, stores, churches, schools and restaurants had almost no impact on health outcomes in any state. States with strict lockdowns performed almost no better on Covid death rates than states that remained mostly open for business.

The study also found that keeping schools closed had almost no impact on child or adult death rates, but had serious implications for students’ academic progress.

Learn more about CUP

You can read the full study here: https://committeetounleashprosperity.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Which-States-Handled-the-Covid-Pandemic-Best.pdf

A political record in Sri Lanka as the economic crisis deepens

April 28, 2022

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sherry Fonseka joined millions in 2019 to elect President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a military strategist whose brutal campaign helped end Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war 10 years earlier.

Now he is among thousands of people who for weeks have protested outside the president’s office, calling on Rajapaksa and his brother, Mahinda, who is prime minister, to step down for leading the country into its worst economic crisis since his independence from Great Britain in 1948. .

With the island on the verge of bankruptcy, Fonseka, who owns a small garment business in the capital, Colombo, has had to spend her own savings to pay the salaries of her 30 employees. But he knows he will have to let them go soon and knows clearly who is to blame.

“We all thought we made the right decision (to elect Rajapaksa), but we realized we were wrong. We should have the backbone to tell people and the world that we made a mistake,” he said. he declared.

In recent weeks, protests have erupted across the country demanding that Rajapaksa step down.

The protests highlight the dramatic fall of the Rajapaksas from Sri Lanka’s most powerful political dynasty in decades to a family seeking to retain power. Despite accusations of atrocities during the civil war, Gotabaya and Mahinda, who previously served as president, remained the heroes of much of the island’s Buddhist-Sinhalese majority and were firmly entrenched at the pinnacle of Sri Lankan politics. Lankan before the revolt of former supporters like Fonseka.

“The pendulum has swung from ‘it’s all about the Rajapaksas, it’s the people who saved this country’ to ‘it’s because of the Rajapaksas that the country is now ruined,'” said Harsha de Silva, economist and MP of the opposition. .

Rare admission of errors

The collapse of the Sri Lankan economy was rapid and painful. Imports of everything from milk to fuel have plummeted, leading to severe food shortages and power cuts. People were forced to queue for hours every day to buy basic necessities. Doctors have warned of a crippling shortage of lifesaving drugs in hospitals, and the government has suspended payments on $7 billion in foreign debts due this year alone.

“The Rajapaksas, like an octopus, have clung to every aspect of public life in Sri Lanka,” de Silva said. “They ruled it like it was their kingdom. They wanted it and they did it – it was like that and the people were with them.”

President Rajapaksa has defended his government, partly blaming the pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine. “This crisis was not created by me,” he said in a speech last month, adding that his government was working hard on solutions. They include the approach of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to get help, after repeated calls for it.

But as protesters seethe, the president and prime minister have changed tact in recent weeks. They have admitted mistakes they have made which have exacerbated the crisis, such as the introduction of a short-lived ban last year on the import of chemical fertilizers which has seriously harmed farmers and the admission that they should have requested a bailout sooner.

Influential Buddhist monks have urged Rajapaksa to form an interim government under a new prime minister, signaling a further decline in the family’s image as protectors of the country’s 70% Buddhist-Sinhalese majority. Some observers say it is too early to gauge how much support for the Rajapaksas has dropped among their hardcore base, but for many their response has been too weak and too late.

“The government now recognizes several missteps, but this one comes at a huge cost to the people,” said Bhavani Fonseka, senior fellow at the Colombo-based Center for Policy Alternatives.

Tax cuts spur credit downgrades

The Rajapaksas were a powerful landowning family who for decades dominated local elections in their rural southern district, before taking the helm of national politics in 2005 when Mahinda was elected president. He remained in power until 2015, overseeing the end of the civil war against Tamil rebels in 2009, before losing to opposition led by his former aide.

The suicide bombings that killed 290 people on Easter Sunday in 2019 paved the way for the return of the Rajapaksas, this time as Gotabaya launched an acute nationalist campaign that sparked outrage and disillusionment with the previous government over the attacks.

He vowed to return to the tough nationalism that had made his family popular with the Buddhist majority, and also to lift the country out of an economic slump with a message of stability and development.

Tourism had fallen sharply after the bombings and Sri Lanka badly needed to boost its revenue to service a series of foreign loans for splashy infrastructure projects. Some involved Chinese money and were commissioned during his brother’s presidency, but failed to create profits, instead collecting debts.

Just days into his presidency, Rajapaksa imposed the biggest tax cuts in Sri Lanka’s history to boost spending, even as critics warned it would squeeze government finances. According to Nishan de Mel, executive director of Verité Research, Sri Lanka’s tax base has fallen by 30%.

“When you do something like that, you have some sort of internal analysis or document that shows why those cuts might help the economy. There was nothing like that,” de Mel said.

The move triggered an immediate sanction from the global market as creditors downgraded Sri Lanka’s ratings, preventing it from borrowing more money as its foreign exchange reserves continued to dwindle. Then the coronavirus hit, further crushing tourism as debt snowballed.

The middle class takes to the streets to demonstrate

Analysts say the Rajapaksas’ response to economic challenges has underscored the limits of their strongman politics and their family’s virtual monopoly on decision-making, relying heavily on the military to enforce policy and enact laws to weaken independent institutions.

Three other members of the Rajapaksa family were in Cabinet until early April, when the Cabinet resigned en masse in response to protests.

“Their whole political ideology and credibility is in serious crisis,” said Jayadeva Uyangoda, a seasoned political scientist.

But many fear that things will only get worse before they get better. A divided and weak opposition without a majority in parliament kept the Rajapaksas in power. An IMF bailout could see austerity measures intensify hardship for people before there is relief.

Meanwhile, the focus remains on protests, which attract people of all ethnicities, religions and social classes. For the first time, middle-class Sri Lankans took to the streets in large numbers, Uyangoda said.

Among them, Wijaya Nanda Chandradewa, who joined the crowd outside the president’s office on Saturday. A retired government worker, Chandradewa said he succumbed to Rajapaksa’s promise to rebuild a Sri Lanka scarred by the 2019 attacks.

“He said there would be a country and a law – now there is neither the law nor the country,” Chandradewa said, adding that the only option now is for Rajapaksa to step down.

“He showed us a fairyland and deceived and misled us,” he said. “We have to fix our mistakes and build a system to bring in the right leader.”

Copyright 2022 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Asian stocks rise on the back of Wall Street rally | national news

April 26, 2022

Montana Economy

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Asian stocks were mostly higher on Tuesday after U.S. stocks turned from steep losses to post solid gains.

Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul advanced while Sydney fell.

Shanghai retreated on renewed concerns over pandemic shutdowns that could further weigh on the world’s second-largest economy and hamper global economic growth.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.9% to 2902.46, giving up early gains. On Monday, it fell 5.1%.

China’s capital, Beijing, has started mass testing of more than 3 million people and restricted residents of part of the city to their compounds, raising concerns about a wider lockdown similar to Shanghai. This city has been closed for more than two weeks and this has already prompted the International Monetary Fund to revise downwards its growth forecasts for the Chinese economy.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, which lost 3.7% on Monday, was trading up 0.7% at 20,000.69.

The Kospi in Seoul gained 0.5% to 2,669.41 after the government announced that South Korea’s economy grew at an annual rate of 3.1% in the first quarter of the year, up from 0.7% compared to the previous quarter.

Economy rebounds from pandemic woes as government lifts COVID restrictions as case numbers dwindle after surge of omicron variant.

“This should lead to a rebound in downtrodden parts of the service sector. And a further decline in precautionary savings should provide an additional boost to consumption,” Alex Holmes of Capital Economics said in a commentary. “With private consumption still well below pre-pandemic levels, it there’s plenty of room for a rebound,” he said.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.4% to 26,700.11 and India’s Sensex gained 1.2% to 57,254.49.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.9% to 7,331.30.

WE. Benchmark oil gained 92 cents to $99.46 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost $3.53 to $98.54 on Monday.

Brent crude, the standard for international oil pricing, gained 1.23 cents to $103.39 a barrel.

The dollar slipped to 127.89 Japanese yen from 128.14 yen on Monday night. The euro fell from $1.0713 to $1.0727.

On Monday, the S&P 500 climbed 0.6% to 4,296.12 after erasing an early 1.7% loss. The rally was led by shares of internet-related companies, including Twitter, which jumped 5.7% after agreeing to let Tesla CEO and tweeter extraordinaire Elon Musk buy it.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.7% to 34,049.46, while the Nasdaq composite rose 1.3% to 13,004.85.

The S&P 500 is coming off a three-week losing streak, plagued by concerns over the Federal Reserve’s plans to accelerate interest rate hikes to rein in high inflation.

Gains in several large tech-related stocks were the strongest forces to lift the S&P 500 on Monday, including a 2.4% gain for Microsoft and a 2.9% rise for Class A shares of the Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

Both are expected to release their latest quarterly results on Tuesday.

Wall Street is in the midst of one of the most important periods of earnings season. Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and parent company Google are all on deck to report this week. As they are among the largest companies by market value, their movements have the most influence on the S&P 500.

Concerns are also high about a sharp slowdown in the US economy or even a recession due to the large interest rate hikes the Fed is expected to impose.

Besides their bottom line, investors are also looking for a better view of how big companies in technology, manufacturing and retail are handling rising inflation and supply chain issues. .

Inflation remains a major concern for investors. Investors are worried about whether the Fed will be able to raise rates enough to stifle inflation, but not enough to cause a recession. The Federal Reserve Chairman indicated that the central bank may raise short-term interest rates to double the usual amount at upcoming meetings, starting next week. The Fed has already raised its overnight rate once, the first such hike since 2018.

Wall Street will also receive key economic data this week. The Conference Board will release its consumer confidence measure for April on Tuesday. The Commerce Department will release its first-quarter gross domestic product report on Thursday.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Bitcoin miners go green

April 24, 2022

Montana Economy

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HELEN, Mont. – Over the past year, a company that “mines” cryptocurrency had what seemed like the perfect place for its thousands of power-thirsty computers working around the clock to verify bitcoin transactions: the lands of a coal-fired power plant in rural Montana.

But with the cryptocurrency industry under increasing pressure to limit the environmental impact of its massive electricity consumption, Marathon Digital Holdings made the decision to pack up its computers, called miners, and move them to a wind farm in Texas.

“For us, it comes down to the fact that we don’t want to run on fossil fuels,” said company CEO Fred Thiel.

In the world of bitcoin mining, access to cheap and reliable electricity is paramount. But many economists and environmentalists have warned that as the still largely misunderstood digital currency rises in price – and with it in popularity – the mining process that is central to its existence and value is becoming increasingly more energy-intensive and potentially unsustainable.

Bitcoin was created in 2009 as a new way to pay for things that would not be subject to central bank or government oversight. Although it has yet to widely catch on as a payment method, it has seen its popularity increase in speculative investing despite volatility that can swing its price wildly. In March 2020, one bitcoin was worth just over $5,000. This hit a record high of over $67,000 in November before dropping to just over $35,000 in January.

The core bitcoin technology is the process by which transactions are verified and then recorded on what is called the blockchain. Computers connected to the bitcoin network race to solve complex mathematical calculations that verify transactions, with the winner earning newly minted bitcoins as a reward. Currently, when a machine solves the puzzle, its owner is rewarded with 6.25 bitcoins, with a total value of around $260,000. The system is calibrated to release 6.25 bitcoins every 10 minutes.

When bitcoin was first invented, the puzzles could be solved using an ordinary personal computer, but the technology was designed so that the problems became harder to solve as more and more more miners work there. These mining operations today use specialized machines that have no monitors and look more like a high-tech fan than a traditional computer. The amount of energy used by computers to solve puzzles increases as more computers join in the effort and the puzzles become more difficult.

Marathon Digital, for example, currently has around 37,000 miners, but hopes to have 199,000 online by early next year, the company said.

It is difficult to determine the amount of energy used by the industry because not all mining companies report their use and some operations are mobile, moving storage containers full of miners across the country in search of energy. Low cost.

The Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index estimates that bitcoin mining has used about 109 terawatt hours of electricity over the past year, nearly the amount used in Virginia in 2020, according to US Energy. Information Center. The current usage rate would be 143 terawatt hours over a full year, about the amount used by Ohio or New York State in 2020.

The Cambridge estimate does not include the energy used to mine other cryptocurrencies.

A key moment in the debate over bitcoin’s power consumption came last spring, when just weeks after Tesla Motors said it was buying $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and would also accept digital currency as a medium. payment for electric vehicles, CEO Elon Musk joined critics in calling out the industry’s energy use and said the company would no longer take payment.

Some want the government to intervene with regulation.

In New York, Governor Kathy Hochul is under pressure to declare a moratorium on the proof-of-work mining method — the one bitcoin uses — and to deny an air quality permit for a power plant project. modernized coal-fired electric that runs on natural gas.

A New York state judge recently ruled that the project would not affect the air or water of nearby Seneca Lake.

“Refueling or expanding coal and gas plants to make play money in the midst of a climate crisis is literally insane,” Yvonne Taylor, vice president of Seneca Lake Guardians, said in a statement.

Anne Hedges of the Montana Environmental Information Center said that before Marathon Digital arrived, environmental groups expected the coal-fired power plant in Hardin, Montana to shut down.

“It was a death watch,” Hedges said. “We received their quarterly reports. We were looking at how well they worked. We saw it continue to decline year after year – and last year that totally changed. It would have disappeared without the bitcoin. The cryptocurrency industry “needs to find a way to reduce its energy demand” and needs to be regulated, Hedges said. “That’s all there is to it. It’s unsustainable.” Some say the solution is to switch from proof-of-work verification to proof-of-stake verification, which is already used by some cryptocurrency companies. currencies. With proof-of-stake, the verification of digital currency transfers is left to computers, rather than having them compete. Individuals or groups who bet more on their cryptocurrency are more likely to get the job – and the reward.

Although the method uses much less electricity, some critics claim that proof-of-stake blockchains are less secure.

Some companies in the industry recognize that there is a problem and commit to achieving net zero emissions – without adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere – from the electricity they use by 2030 by signing a crypto climate accord, modeled after the Paris climate accord.

“All crypto communities should work together, as a matter of urgency, to ensure that crypto does not further aggravate global warming, but instead becomes a net positive contributor to the vital transition to a low-carbon global economy” , states the agreement.

Marathon Digital is one of many companies pinning their hopes on harnessing excess renewable energy from solar and wind farms in Texas. Earlier this month, Block-stream Mining and Block, formerly Square, announced they were opening a small off-grid mining facility in Texas using solar panels and Tesla batteries.

“This is a step to prove our thesis that bitcoin mining can fund zero-emission power infrastructure,” said Adam Back, CEO and co-founder of Blockstream.

Companies say cryptocurrency mining can provide an economic incentive to build more renewable energy projects and help stabilize power grids. Miners give renewable energy producers a guaranteed customer, making it easier to get financing for projects and produce electricity at full capacity.

Mining companies are able to contract for cheaper power because “all the power they use can be shut off and returned to the grid at any time,” Thiel said.

In Pennsylvania, Stronghold Digital is cleaning up hundreds of years of coal waste by burning it to create what the state classifies as renewable energy that can be sent to the grid or used in bitcoin mining, depending on demand. of electricity.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is a partner in the work, which is using relatively new technology to burn coal waste more efficiently and with fewer emissions. Left alone, piles of coal waste can ignite and burn for years, releasing greenhouse gases. When wet, waste coal releases acid into local waterways.

After using the waste coal to generate electricity, what remains is “non-toxic fly ash,” which is state-registered as clean fertilizer, said Stronghold Digital spokeswoman Naomi Harrington. .

As Marathon Digital gradually moves its 30,000 miners out of Montana, it leaves behind tens of millions of dollars in mining infrastructure.

Just because M a – thon no longer wants to use coal power doesn’t mean there won’t be another bitcoin miner to replace it. Thiel said he assumed power plant owners would find a company to do just that.

“No reason not to,” he said.

When bitcoin was first invented, the puzzles could be solved using an ordinary personal computer, but the technology was designed so that the problems became harder to solve as more and more more miners work there.

‘Mistake’ to limit opening hours at border ports as economy suffers

April 22, 2022

Montana Economy

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HELENA — U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) says he may not have the medical skills, but sees the continued economic impact along the border of the pandemic restrictions.

He is once again calling for U.S. border crossings to resume full service. Tester has been pushing for a return to normal border operations over the past year, citing diminishing COVID-19 concerns that forced the United States and Canada to restrict crossings in 2020.

As traffic resumed with an ever-changing list of requirements, U.S. border crossings continue to limit hours of operation, which Tester said is hard to fathom.

“I’m a land farmer. I’m not a doctor, but I’ll tell you, for people who’ve been vaccinated, it doesn’t make a difference,” Tester said. “And for those who haven’t been, go out and get vaccinated and open the border.”

Noting that Montana had nearly $700 million in Canadian exports in 2018, Tester says full reopening is essential for agriculture and tourism.

“All of these things have impacts. They have economic impacts. They have impacts,” Tester said. “Be able for businesses to succeed. And I just think if we really want to get the economy back on track, and it’s going pretty well right now, but making sure those ports are open is really important. “

It is important for individuals as well. Eureka’s Brandy Carvey sent us photos of her family trying to enjoy an Easter Sunday gathering at Lake Koocanusa, roasting hot dogs through the barbed wire fence. The tester says reopening would help ease the ongoing financial and emotional pinch for residents living “across the border”.

“I think it’s the right thing to do, especially if you want to do certain things to try to influence inflation,” Tester said. “Because the supply chain is a major cause of the inflation we are currently experiencing.”

There have been past fights with Customs and Border Patrol over cutting operations at some of the remote border crossings. The tester says he’s not concerned about this, but he offered a warning.

“If you want to talk about closing ports or permanently reducing hours, let’s have this debate. We’ve had this before. We’ve won. And we’ll have it again, and we’ll win again.” the tester. “But the main thing is to close the ports to keep the hours down because the pandemic, I think, is a mistake.”

Tester also opposes efforts to lift the immigration provisions of “Title 42” without having a better staffing and security plan along the northern border.

Public education is a national birthright

April 21, 2022

Montana Economy

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Located directly between Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, Montana residents are proud to recognize our land of natural splendor as the “last best place” in the country.

Our pride is justified, even if it is not of our making. One idea, however, which is a creation of the human mind and which is of incalculable importance, is our historically unique system of public education.

Early in our development as a free people, Thomas Jefferson observed that freedom and self-governance depended on an educated and free-thinking society.

In keeping with Jefferson’s vision, Congress has repeatedly renewed national support for public education. Examples are the Land Grant Act which provided significant support to Montana State University as well as the University of Montana and Montana Tech; the Enabling Act which established Montana’s statehood and, in doing so, struck down Sections 16 and 36 of each township within state boundaries for the support of common schools; and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which since 1965 has provided broad federal support for public education in all states. In Montana, a coordinated system to provide a base of support for all Montana public schools has been in effect for three-quarters of a century.

Undoubtedly, there has been a firm and ongoing recognition both in our nation and in our state that education is a human right. In no other part of the world has such a commitment been made.

Free, public education was one of the main reasons why millions of European immigrants fled a hopeless existence of ignorance and poverty in the old world to seek opportunities in the new world. The key to opportunity here was public education. The booming American economy of the 1800s had an overwhelming need for literate workers. Those who could cipher and read the language were much more productive than those who could not. They would soon become not only the backbone of the American labor force, but also the creators of countless private enterprises that resulted in perpetual job creation, and thus a continuous cycle of opportunity and prosperity.

This land of the American dream could not have existed without the universal opportunity for education. Most of the old world elite hated the concept of public education. Prosperity there was reserved for the heirs of wealth and power. The privileged classes alone enjoyed the possibility of learning. If the masses were educated, they feared, the resulting questioning spirits within the working class would pose a direct threat to the perpetual domination of the ruling class.

As an alternative to the competition for the wealth and power that an educated workforce would inevitably create, the European nobility decided to create a welfare state, the prototype of which took place under the leadership of the German “Iron Chancellor”. Otto Von Bismarck. By providing for basic human needs at state expense, Bismarck concluded that the masses would have little reason to overthrow the existing system as they had done in Europe since the guillotine days of the French Revolution.

The concept of public welfare has been adopted to some extent in much of the rest of Europe. It is no accident of history that systems of public education producing social ascent only appeared there after the upheaval of the two world wars.

Although we have our inequalities and “the American way” remains a work in progress, Americans retain our autonomous freedom to adapt and reform. We have a high standard of living and a “social safety net”. Our productivity generates tax revenue, which makes our public services possible. The foundation of it all – universal public education – has made creating and sharing the American Dream a tangible reality for those fortunate enough to live here.

Particularly isolated from a less fortunate world, we Montananese have more than most humans to be grateful for. Our happy circumstances are due in large part to our continued commitment to public education. On May 5, we will have the opportunity as free people to renew our commitment to our time-tested educational birthright once again by supporting our public schools.

Bob Brown is a former Montana Secretary of State and President of the State Senate. He lives in Whitefish.

Live Updates | Russians strike 8 Ukrainian cities and hit a depot | national news

April 16, 2022

Montana Economy

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KYIV, Ukraine — Russian forces shelled an oil refinery in the Ukrainian city of Lysychansk on Saturday and a major fire broke out, a regional governor reported.

Lugansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said it was not the first time the refinery had been targeted and accused the Russians of trying to “exhaust” local emergency services. He pointed out that there was no fuel at the refinery at the time of the attack and that “remnants of oil sludge” were burning.

Ukraine’s presidential office reported on Saturday that missile strikes and shelling in the past 24 hours have occurred in eight regions: Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkiv in the east, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava and Kirovohrad in central Ukraine and Mykolaiv and Kherson to the south. The strikes underscored that the whole country remained under threat despite Russia’s pivot to mount a new offensive in the east.

In Kharkiv, nine civilians were killed and more than 50 were injured on Friday, while in the wider region two were killed and three injured, the report said.

The southern Mykolaiv region was beaten on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s airstrikes left five people dead and 15 injured, according to the presidential office. The president of the regional legislature, Hanna Zamazeyeva, said on Saturday that 39 people had been injured in the past 24 hours.

Zamazeyeva said the targets included several residential blocks “where there are no military installations”.

The besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol still holds, but the situation there is critical.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIAN-UKRAINE WAR:

— War in Ukraine far from over as Russia renews strikes in kyiv

— “We pray for you”: Ukrainian Jews celebrate Passover, if they can

— The Ukrainian port of Mariupol resists against all odds

— War Crimes Watch: The Woman Who Would Make Putin Pay

– The pain of a Ukrainian mother watching her daughter’s funeral on the phone

— Go to https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine for more coverage

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

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KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a televised address on Saturday that 700 Ukrainian soldiers and more than 1,000 civilians – more than half of them women – are currently being held captive by the Russians.

Vereshchuk said kyiv intends to swap the captive soldiers, since Ukraine holds roughly the same number of Russian soldiers but demands the release of the civilians “without any conditions”.

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ROME — Italy is banning all Russian vessels from its ports from Sunday, as part of expanded EU sanctions announced earlier this month. Ships already in Italian ports must leave immediately “after completing their commercial activity”, according to a notice sent to port authorities across the country.

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BERLIN — Peace activists took part in Germany’s traditional Easter marches on Saturday, calling for an end to the war in Ukraine but also, in at least some cases, opposing helping Ukraine defend itself with weapons .

An event in Berlin drew 400 people and one in Hanover 500, the dpa news agency reported, citing police. Marches took place in cities such as Munich, Cologne, Leipzig, Stuttgart and Duisburg. The banners included “End the war in Ukraine” and “Whoever sends arms reaps war”.

The country’s Vice Chancellor, Green politician Robert Habeck, warned protesters against sending the wrong message, saying “there will be peace only when Putin stops his war of aggression”. He said in an interview with the Funke media group that it was “clear who the aggressor is and who defends himself in an emergency and who we must support, also with weapons”.

Ukrainian officials said Germany had sent anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons as well as night vision equipment, body armor and machine guns.

Locally organized peace marches date back to the Cold War era and focus on issues such as disarmament and the abolition of nuclear weapons.

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KYIV, Ukraine – Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said one person died and several others were injured in Saturday morning airstrikes on the capital’s Darnytsky district as Russian forces resumed scattered attacks on the capital in the west of Ukraine.

“Our air defense forces are doing everything they can to protect us, but the enemy is insidious and ruthless,” Klitschko said on the Telegram messaging app.

The attacks, which the Russian Defense Ministry said targeted an armored vehicle factory in the Ukrainian capital, were a searing reminder to Ukrainians and their Western supporters that the whole country remains under threat despite pivoting Russian forces towards the east, where a new offensive is to be feared. .

Klitschko urged Ukrainians not to return to Kyiv just yet in televised remarks on Saturday, warning that strikes on the capital were likely to continue and its suburbs were packed with explosives. “We do not rule out further strikes on the capital,” Klitschko said. “We cannot prohibit, we can only recommend. If you have the opportunity to stay a little longer in the cities where it is safer, do so.

The mayor of Kyiv added that because of the mines, Kyiv residents are not allowed to visit the parks and forests of the northeastern regions that border the liberated territories once occupied by the Russians.

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MOSCOW — Russia has banned the British Prime Minister and a dozen other senior British officials from entering the country in response to British sanctions imposed on Russia for its military operation in Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced the decision on Saturday targeting Boris Johnson, a number of British ministers and former Prime Minister Theresa May.

The ministry statement cited “unprecedented hostile actions by the British government, expressed, in particular, in the imposition of sanctions against senior officials” in Russia.

“The Russophobic course of the British authorities, the main objective of which is to stir up a negative attitude towards our country, the reduction of bilateral relations in almost all areas is detrimental to the well-being and interests of British residents. Any attack on sanctions will inevitably backfire on their initiators and receive a decisive rebuff,” the statement said.

On Friday evening, the ministry announced the expulsion of 18 European Union diplomats from Moscow, in retaliation for the bloc’s declaration of 19 diplomats from the Russian mission to the EU and the European Energy Community. atomic persona non grata.

The European Union said the expulsions were groundless and that the EU diplomats targeted were working within the framework of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

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KYIV, Ukraine – Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said in an online post that Kyiv was struck early on Saturday in Darnytskyi district in the eastern part of the capital, saying there were “explosions “.

He said rescuers and paramedics were on the scene and details of the victims would be released later.

Klitschko urged residents to heed air raid sirens and warned those who fled the capital not to return just yet for their safety.

Thick smoke rising from the site on the east side of Kyiv could be seen from parts of the city center near the Dnipro River.

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WASHINGTON — Ukraine is sending top officials to Washington for next week’s spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, where discussions will focus on the Russian invasion and its impact on the global economy.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko and Central Bank Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko will attend the rally, according to a World Bank official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the visit had not not officially announced.

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KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Friday that existing sanctions against Russia were “painful” but not yet enough to stop the Russian military.

Zelenskyy called on “the democratic world” to ban Russian oil. As US lawmakers and US President Joe Biden have enacted such a ban, Europe is becoming more dependent on Russian energy supplies and the US is working to prevent India from ramping up its use of Russian energy.

“In general, the democratic world has to accept that Russia’s money for energy resources is actually money for the destruction of democracy,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address to his nation.

He also said: “The sooner the democratic world recognizes that the oil embargo against Russia and the complete blockade of its banking sector are necessary steps towards peace, the sooner the war will end.”

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TIJUANA, Mexico – A Russian man and a Ukrainian woman have married in the Mexican border town of Tijuana after being unable to travel to the United States together

Daria Sakhniuk was allowed to enter the United States as a Ukrainian refugee, but her partner, Semen Bobrovsky, was unable to travel there after Russia invaded Ukraine. They left Ukraine at the start of the war.

Bobrovski told El Sol de Tijuana that he thinks Thursday’s wedding will boost his chances of entering the United States with his new wife. The United States only allows Russian nationals with family members in the United States to enter the country.

“Without it, we cannot cross because, again for the official US government, we are strangers to each other,” he said.

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KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he discussed the fate of the beleaguered port city of Mariupol during a meeting on Friday with the country’s military chiefs and heads of its intelligence agencies.

“Details cannot be made public now, but we are doing everything we can to save our people,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address to the nation.

Elsewhere in southern Ukraine, he said Russian troops occupying areas around Kherson and Zaporizhzhia were terrorizing civilians and searching for anyone who had served in the army or government.

“The occupiers believe this will make it easier for them to control this territory. But they are very wrong. They are wrong,” Zelenskyy said.

He added: “The problem with the occupiers is not that they are not accepted by certain activists, veterans or journalists. Russia’s problem is that it is not accepted – and never will be accepted – by all Ukrainian people. Russia has lost Ukraine forever.