Being a native Montanan and an advocate for a successful business environment for my home state I am especially heartened by the recent article I read in our Missoulian newspaper.
The link below also includes a map titles “2015 State Business Climate Index” produced by the Tax Foundation.
Here are some selected quotes from the article:
Montana has the sixth-best business tax climate in the U.S., according to a report from the Tax Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit think tank.
According to the report, the absence of a major tax is a common factor among many of the top 10 states. Property taxes and unemployment insurance taxes are levied in every state, but several states do without one or more of the other major taxes. Wyoming has no corporate or individual income tax, and Montana has no sales tax.
Indiana and Utah rank in the top 10 while still levying all the major taxes, but they do so with low rates on broad population bases.
Montana ranks 18th for corporate taxes and 20th for individual income tax. However, the state placed 3rd for sales tax, 18th for unemployment insurance tax and 8th for property tax.
New Hampshire, like Montana, has no sales tax and finished 7th.
The study’s authors claim that “evidence shows that states with the best tax systems will be the most competitive at attracting new businesses and most effective at generating economic and employment growth.”
The authors admit that factors like raw materials, infrastructure and a skilled labor pool all matter to business owners, but “a simple, sensible tax system can positively impact business operations with regard to these resources.”
The report states that tax competition is an unpleasant reality for state revenue and budget officials, but it is an effective restraint on state and local taxes
Here are some observations on my part:
First, I’m so proud that Montana has moved to a much more “Pro-Business” stance on taxation. I could elaborate on the reasons but suffice it to say that it is about time. These changes have taken a while, have been done rather quietly and are to the credit of unsung visionary leaders who deserve our thanks.
Second, I notice that we are bracketed by Wyoming and South Dakota, two States that have been even more progressive and “business friendly”. While I’m glad for them it is Montana’s economy that I am fighting for. Look out you two! Were following your lead.
Third, although things are improving, Montana has other “non-tax” barriers that need to be removed or lowered so that our State continues to attract the kind of businesses that we can be proud of.
Fourth, existing Montana businesses benefit from a more business friendly tax structure. “That’s a very good thing.” (Martha Stewart).
Fifth, I’m surprised that we rank better than Texas at #10.
Montana is a great place to live and find business success. Pass it on.