Business as usual?

by Pete Talbot

Some of our city’s development leaders are troubled by a lack of a Missoula “economic identity,” according to a story on the Front Page of Sunday’s Missoulian.

This concern is driven, in part, by a report from the Montana Policy Institute ranking Missoula near the bottom of Montana cities for “business friendliness.”

Of course, the Montana Policy Institute won’t be happy with Missoula until the Clark Fork is running thick with pollutants, we have 1960’s tipi-burner air quality and corporate taxes are back to zero, or less.

The Montana Policy Institute is a far-right “think tank” out of Bozeman funded by, well, no one knows who funds it since its donors are kept secret.

I’m not all that sure that the institute is still in existence.  It’s mostly-blank page on the Internet says, “this website is not updated frequently.”  So, if you want more information, forget about it. There is this on the site: the Montana Policy Institute’s noble goal of “free-market think(ing), dedicated solely to providing policy solutions that promote the liberty, prosperity, and quality of life for all Montanans.” In other words, roll back regulations and taxes.

I applaud Missoula’s economic developers for building partnerships: start ups and entrepreneurs joining with technology resources and government assistance, and linking up with our excellent university and city schools.

We have our economic fits-and-starts here, and it we’d all be happier if our kids could find gainful employment and stay in town. Let’s work on that but not in the way promoted by the Montana Policy Institute.

Most folks aren’t getting rich in Missoula, but we’ve been buffered from the radical boom-and-bust cycle better than many Montana cities precisely because of our diverse economy.  Please keep that in mind and build on it (also, support for a big hike in the minimum wage would be in everyone’s best interest, something you can be sure the Montana Policy Institute is against).

So let’s not pander to the institute’s short-sighted, free-market, non-sustainable model.  We have more going for us than that, and the Missoulian, for credibility, shouldn’t be quoting the Montana Policy Institute anymore.

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  1. Another one being touted by the Montana Chamber of Commerce is reducing the marginal income tax rate, which is the 6th highest in the nation.

    Well, what kinds of companies is that going to bring in?

    I just don’t understand why we don’t have more clean and green high-tech companies and start-ups coming here. People want to drive 5 minutes and be in the middle of nowhere, and we have that here. It’s the greatest resource, and we need to extract people from wherever they are and get them here for that.

    Of course that might anger a lot of people. We don’t like a lot of out of state people coming here, but it seems that’s the only people who’re going to bring business.

    I guess it just doesn’t seem so far-fetched to me since every nickel I make comes from out of state. I then put that all into the local community and pay taxes to the state with it. That’s what the internet can do.

    We can educate people to do that, and we can have more places downtown where people are sitting at computers and doing all kinds of stuff that the older generations will never understand, stuff that makes money, and lots of it.

    I sure hope those making $100,000+ at the university realize this. But then I don’t think they’re offering the classes for this. Those administrators don’t know.

    Folks, the majority of people in management positions don’t know anything, that’s how they got there. They’re “yes” men and women that don’t rock the boat.

    Ha, good luck with that! And we see on the front page of the Missoulian what that attitude and outlook has gotten us.

    • d.g.

      Missoula has “development leaders”? (Would that be TIF-for-hire Ellen Buchanen of the Redevelopment-for-Purchase Department?) The Missoulian has credibility? (Would that be a nuanced oxymoronic double entendre ala Peter?) Are Geoff Badenoch and Peter Talbot and Mr. Rogers (rest his soul) a triumvirate of tapioca? Yes!

  2. d.g.

    Missoula has “development leaders”? (Would that be TIF-for-hire Ellen Buchanen of the Redevelopment-for-Purchase Department?) The Missoulian has credibility? (Would that be a nuanced oxymoronic double entendre ala Peter?) Are Geoff Badenoch and Peter Talbot and Mr. Rogers (rest his soul) a triumvirate of tapioca? Yes!

    • petetalbot

      Having issues with your meds these days, d.g.? I almost took down your comments (actually, the same comment posted twice) but decided that you do a better job, all by yourself, of looking like a fool than I could ever accomplish.

      • Yes, I was hoping we could have a more “productive” discussion on this.

  1. 1 Gentrification is Missoula’s True Economic Identity | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] few days ago Pete Talbot wrote about the front page Sunday Missoulian article examining the perception that Missoula needs to […]




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