OFFICE OF GOV. STEVE BULLOCK

HELENA – Gov. Steve Bullock announced on Nov. 19 that Montana saw record general fund revenue collections during the first quarter of this fiscal year. Montana’s revenue collections, bolstered by strong private-sector job growth and higher wage earnings, are 7.18 percent higher than the previous record.

“Montana has rebounded from the downturn in record fashion due to strong private-sector job growth and higher wage earnings,” Bullock said.

In addition to total general fund record revenue, first quarter personal income collections were the highest ever recorded, totaling 6.44 percent ahead of the previous record. During the last legislative session, Bullock put an emphasis on education, workforce training, and infrastructure projects to expand the workforce and increase wages.

The unemployment rate in Montana has continued its downward trend at 4.6 percent in September after shaving 0.7 percent since January. “More people are in the labor force, earning wages and growing the economy,” Bullock said.

Montana has the fairest tax policy in the nation according to WalletHub’s 2014 Tax Fairness Survey of 50 states. The state was also rated as having the eighth lowest property tax level by the Tax Foundation in 2014.

Bullock submitted his executive budget on Nov. 17, in advance of the upcoming legislative session. The budget makes investments in early childhood education, freezes tuition at Montana’s colleges and universities, expands Medicaid to cover 70,000 working Montanans, and makes infrastructure investments across the state.

Montana rankings

• No. 1 for growth in start-ups per capita for the second consecutive year (Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity)

• No. 5 for cost of doing business – America’s Top States for Business (CNBC)

• No. 6 for long-term job growth (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

• No. 6 for business tax climate (Tax Foundation)

• No. 7 per capital income growth (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)