Billings Makes Top 10 in America’s Best Affordable Places 2011

31 05 2011

America’s Best Affordable Places, 2011 | LinkedIn.

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Montana Legislature | Some Big Wins

6 05 2011

The Billings Chamber/CVB staff just learned that according to Tourism Matters to Montana: Governor Brian Schweitzer vetoed House Bill 316 at a Whitefish Chamber of Commerce event this afternoon. This is huge news for Billings’ area tourism as this means there will be no cut in promotional dollars for Montana.

Meantime, the 2011 Legislative Session has officially ended.  Everyone has gone home, and the halls at the Capitol are eerily quiet.  All that is left to be done will be in the office of the Governor as he reviews the last of the bills and decides which one he will sign, which will get his veto, and which will move quietly into law with no formal action taken on his part.  With any bill veto, the legislature will have one final chance to overturn it with a 2/3 majority vote by both the House and the Senate to do so.  Rarely is legislation that has been vetoed ever overturned.

The session saw some significant benefits for our membership as well as some disappointments, however overall the business community fared well.  The most significant victory is Workers Compensation Reform. This will impact the bottom line of most, if not all, businesses.  Workers Compensation rates are expected to go down from 25% to 40% over the next three years. The estimated savings will be in the neighborhood of $100 million dollars.

The next substantial gain for many businesses is the revision of the Business Equipment Tax.  This tax will be reduced from 3% to 2% and the exempted amount will increase from $25,000 to up to $2 million. There is also the potential of further reductions depending on future economic indicators.

Our greatest disappointment was the bonding bill.  This bill had building projects throughout the state of Montana equaling almost $100 million dollars.  Since a dollar usually turns 2.3 times before it leaves a community, the total impact was well over two hundred million dollars. It also would have been a stimulus for a building industry that has seen a severe downturn in activity in recent years.

Pleasant surprises came from the Governor when he announced that the Marijuana bill will be allowed to become law without his signature.

Now, over the next several months we will assess the impact that legislation passed in this session will have on the business community and begin to develop our strategic positions for the 2013 session.  In addition, we work on candidate recruitment.

While I was in Helena on a part time basis, our lobbyist, Ed Bartlett deserves kudos for all of the hard work he did on our behalf.  It is the personal connections he makes with each and every legislator that allows us to be effective.

Finally, the Montana Chamber prepares a comprehensive scorecard on the session.  When we receive it, we will get it out to you.

The 2013 session is only 593 days away!

Bruce MacIntyre

Director, Government Affairs

Billings Chamber of Commerce/CVB

Office: 869-3723

Cell: 855-5801

bruce@billingschamber.com





What’s the Most Popular Price Range in Billings, Montana?

3 05 2011

What is your guess?





Bi-weekly Real Estate Market Update | Early May 2011

26 04 2011

I know it’s hard to read, but if you click on it, and then click on it again, it’ll zoom in for you 🙂

You can compare this to the older stats post from Late JanuaryEarly FebruaryLate FebruaryEarly March, Late March, Early & Late April for Part 1 & Late JanuaryEarly FebruaryLate FebruaryEarly March, Late March, Early & Late April for part 2.

AND, just now realizing I missed Early April, so here’s that one for ya 😉





GO BILLINGS! | What the Press Has to Say

19 04 2011

Our identity lies in not what we say, but in what others say:

Beartooth Highway was ranked #1 as the best motorcycle rides in the United StatesAmerican Motorcycle Association – April 2011

Billings  is ranked in the top 20 greatest places to live in the westAmerican Cowboy, May 2010

Billings is ranked as one of America’s best getaway CitiesDaily News Entertainment, March 2011

Billings is ranked #2 out of 10 Cities with the strongest economiesParenting Magazine, July 2010

Billings is ranked at the 37th most bicycle friendly community in the USBicycling Magazine, 2010

Billings was named in the top 38 cities for unpolluted airState of Air Report, 2010

Billings is named in the top 83 must see Cities in the west – Old West Destinations, April 2010

Billings is named as the 4th greenest small city in the USOrganic Gardening Magazine,  February 2008

Billings is AWESOME!  Robert  (age 9) – Billings Visitor Information Center log book, August 2010

Thanks, Joan at the Billings CVB for the compilation 🙂





What does the NY Times think Billings has in common with Honolulu and Santa Barbara?

18 04 2011

America’s best getaway cities include Honolulu, Santa Barbara, with emphasis on sunshine, outdoors – New York Daily News.

Read on to page two to see Billings.  We just keep getting more and more press.  I think it’s awesome!  We are lucky to call this amazing spot home 🙂





Small Business Community of the Year | Awarded by the Small Business Association

6 04 2011

YAY Billings! 🙂  Yet another feather in the cap!








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