October 2012 EYE on Business - Montana Chamber of Commerce


October 2012 EYE on Business - Montana Chamber of Commerce

The Montana Chamber of Commerce is the advocate of business in Montana and the driving force in promoting a favorable business climate

ong>EYEong> ON


ong>Octoberong> ong>2012ong>

“Montana Manufacturing Council” represents the diverse and

changing landscape of companies that are…..

Direct and related industries in the business of converting materials, components, or parts into

finished goods that meet a customer's expectations or specifications.

Read More Inside

Chamber of Commerce

Montana Chamber Annual Meeting will Promote Manufacturing

ahead of ‘Compete Smart’ Manufacturing Conference

Jay Timmons (photo left), President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers

(NAM) will keynote the Annual Meeting closing luncheon of the Montana

Chamber of Commerce/Montana ManufacturingCouncil this ong>Octoberong> 11 in Missoula

at the Hilton Garden Inn. The luncheon will also serve as the opening of the

‘Compete Smart’ Manufacturing Conference held beginning the afternoon of ong>Octoberong>

11 through ong>Octoberong> 12. Thank to our sponsors of the annual meeting who are: Blackfoot

Telecommunications Group, Waste Connections, BlueCross and Blue Shield of Montana, First Interstate Bank,

Liberty Northwest, Montana State Fund and NorthWestern Energy. For information about both events go to


Tami Christensen, Chair of the Montana Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Bill

Woody, Chair-Elect will open the ong>2012ong> Annual Meeting which will include election of new

leadership for the Chamber and the Council, along with

Tami Christensen

Bill Woody

*Tami Christensen, Chair

Tri-County Implement-Sidney

*David Brown, Past Chair

Wyo-Ben, Inc.-Billings

*Webb Brown, President/CEO

Montana Chamber of Commerce-Helena

*Bill Woody, VP Gov’t Relations

Montana Health Services-Missoula

*Don Chery, VP of Membership

Glacier Bancorp, Inc.-Kalispell

*Greg Hertz, VP of Finance

Moody’s Market-Polson

Dan Bartel

ACE Hardware-Lewistown

Ed Bartlett

Attorney at Law– Billings

Jeff Billman

Billman’s-Cut Bank

Julie Burnett

Liberty Northwest-Portland, OR

Rick Burt

NorthWestern Energy-Billings

Gene Buxcel

Way Out West Consulting-Savage

Kelly Cresswell

Student Assistance Foundation-Helena

Don Cowles

Wild West Shirt Company-Bozeman

Mike Frank

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Montana

Aimee Grmoljez

Crowley Fleck-Helena

Rick Reid, President


Kelly Cresswell. Vice President

Student Assistance Foundation-Helena

Webb Brown, Executive V.P


Montana Chamber of Commerce-Helena

Karen Olson Beenken

Blue Rock Companies-Sidney

Tami Christensen

Tri-County Implement-Sidney

Kathy Boelter Hildebrand

Arrow Solutions-Billings

David Brown

Wyo-Ben, Inc.-Billings

Karen Campbell

CommuniBiz, Inc.-Billings

2011-ong>2012ong> Board of Directors

(* Executive Committee)

Arvid “Butch” Hiller

Mountain Water-Missoula

Steve Holland

MT Manufacturing Extension Center-Bozeman

Greg Kohn

Rocky Mountain College-Billings

Ray Kuntz

Watkins & Shepard Trucking-Helena

Steve Malicott (MACE Representative)

Great Falls Chamber of Commerce

Richard Miltenberger

MountainWest Benefits-Helena

Cindy Ognjanov

Glacier Park, Inc.-East Glacier

Todd O’Hair

Cloud Peak Energy-Helena

Mary Oliver

First Madison Valley Bank-Ennis

*Rick Reid


Jeff Ruffner

Kella Enterprises, LLC-Butte

Pete Simonich

PPL Montana, Billings

Betty Stone

Cottonwood Inn-Glasgow

Jim Strauss

Great Falls Tribune-Great Falls

Greg Thayer

Montana Milling-Great Falls

Lance Trebesch


2011-ong>2012ong> Foundation Board of Directors

Kim Champney

Electrical Consultants, Inc.-Billings

Sherry Cladouhos


Rick Edwards

NorthWestern Energy-Butte

Greg Kohn

Rocky Mountain College-Billings

Kelly Kuntz

D.A. Davidson-Helena

Chamber Staff/Contacts

Frank McAllister

Stillwater Mining Co.-Billings

Jim Oliverson

Kalispell Regional Medical Center

Russ Spika

Spika and Bantz, CPAs-Lewistown

Webb Brown CAE, President/CEO 442-2405, ext 101

Pete Burwell, Membership Director 442-2405, ext. 103

Leah Weaver, Office Manager 442-2405, ext. 102

Jessica Nolan, Administrative Assistant 442-2405, ext. 100

Jon Bennion, Government Relations Director 442-2405, ext. 104

Kim Weisert, Health Benefits Director 442-2405, ext 105

Josh Dupler, Membership Coordinator 442-2405, ext 109

Kerry Schaefer, Communications/ Montana Chamber 463-2370

Foundation Director/High School Business Challenge, Governors’ Cup Manager

All Staff Emails are: “first name”@montanachamber.com

The ong>EYEong> ON BUSINESS is published monthly by the

Montana Chamber of Commerce-P.O. Box 1730 Helena, MT. 59624

(406) 442-2405 (406) 442-2409/fax or (Toll Free-1-888-442-MONT (6668)

Year-end Wrap-up

by Webb Brown


Montana Chamber of Commerce

September 30 marks the end of our fiscal year, so

ong>Octoberong> 1 obviously begins the next. We’ll be

marking that transition with our Annual Meeting ong>Octoberong> 10-11

in Missoula. Please join us as we thank Tami Christensen of Tri-

County Implement in Sidney for a great year as Chair and welcome

Bill Woody of Home Health Care in Missoula as ong>2012ong>-

2013 Chair. We’ll also thank some departing Board members

and welcome new Board members. We’ll look back at the past

year and announce plans going forward into the next.

Finally, we’ll wrap up by hearing from Jay Timmons, Pres/CEO

of the National Association of Manufacturers. He’ll be the keynote

speaker at our Concluding Luncheon on the 11th, which

coincides with/serves as the Opening Luncheon of the biennial

Compete Smart manufacturing conference.

The Montana Manufacturing Council of the State Chamber

serves as the manufacturing association in the Treasure State. As

you’ll see in the article inside, this effort is growing in size and


As I look back on the past year, we have much to be thankful

for. Our economy continues to outperform other states, thanks

to the hard work and dedication of our businesses. We also want

to make sure we give credit to the success of our products – energy

and natural resources – for leading that recovery.

However, we still have much work to do. We will bring a lot of

common-sense solutions to the next Legislature, especially in the

areas of legal reform and business regulation. Our Montana

Business Agenda (MBA) tour around Montana will take place the

three days before Thanksgiving, what we’re calling our “Giving

Thanks” tour for your support of Montana’s leading business

advocate. Watch for details of times and places soon.

Please continue that support going forward. We are only as

strong as you make us. Please communicate any thots, concerns,

issues you have that will continue our success. And keep up the

good work!

Catch the Chamber on the ‘Web’

Material included in this magazine does not necessarily reflect

the position of the Montana Chamber of Commerce

The Montana Chamber of Commerce is the advocate of business in Montana and the driving force in promoting a favorable business climate

Montana Chamber Delivers on

Business Equipment Tax Relief

by Jon Bennion

Government Relations Director

Montana Chamber of Commerce

In the 2011 Session of the Montana Legislature,

lawmakers passed new business equipment tax

relief for Montana businesses. As the lead champion of

this bill, the Montana Chamber furthered its goal of reducing

this burdensome tax that penalizes economic development.

If you pay business equipment taxes, you

should start to see the relief on your tax bills.

SB 372 (Tutvedt – Kalispell) provides for the reduction

of the class 8 property tax rate from 3.0% to 2.0% for

the first $2 million of market value of class 8 property

owned by an individual or business. The $2 million tax

bracket threshold is raised to $3 million and the tax rate

is reduced to 1.5% the first tax year after corporation

license and individual income tax collections exceed the

prior year’s collection by more than 4.0%, starting in FY


Business equipment taxes, also called “personal property”

taxes, include machinery, livestock and all other

property that is not included in any other class of property

is not subject to a fee in lieu of a property tax and is

not specifically exempted by law. If the Department of

Revenue determines that the statewide aggregate market

value of an individual’s or business entity’s personal

property is $20,000 or less, the personal property is exempt

from the tax.

Here are a few business equipment tax calculation examples.

It’s important to note that different depreciation

schedules and different mill levy rates in various tax districts

will produce diverse results for taxes owed. No one

company is the same as another when it comes to These

illustrations are meant to be examples only, and should not be used

to calculate individual taxes owed:

Example #1:

Acquired cost of equipment: $25,000

Value after applying appropriate depreciation schedule:


Total Tax Liability: $0.00 (Adjusted value falls below

$20,000 threshold)

Example #2:

Acquired cost of equipment: $250,000

Value after applying appropriate depreciation schedule:


Taxable value after applying current tax rate (2%):


Tax after applying mill levy in district where the

property is located (estimated 0.5%): $1,500

Savings provided by SB 372: $750 annually

Example #3:

Acquired cost of equipment: $2,500,000

Value after applying appropriate depreciation schedule:


Taxable value after applying current tax rate (2% on

first $2,000,000, 3% on the rest): $47,500

Tax after applying mill levy in district where the

property is located (estimated 0.5%): $23,750

Savings provided by SB 372: $10,000 annually

The bill provides for full reimbursement, from the general

fund, for the reduction in tax base caused by this

bill, to local governments and TIF districts through entitlement

share payments; school districts through school

block grant payments; and the university system.

At present, 18,360 Montana businesses pay this tax. SB

372 provides around $14 million in annual tax relief for

Montana businesses. For more than two decades, the

Montana Chamber has successfully reduced this tax on

business equipment by cutting the tax rate from a maximum

of 12 percent to its present levels.

In the 2013 Legislature, the Montana Chamber will once

again lead the charge in raising the exemption level and/

or reducing the rate.

Testimonials on Montana Chamber’s Efforts to pass

Business Equipment Tax Relief:

“Passing the business equipment tax cut took a great

team and no member was more influential than the

Montana Chamber. The Montana Chamber was SB

372’s lead advocate in making sure we had solid testimony

and had the momentum to get the bill passed and

signed into law when other efforts had failed.” – Senator

Bruce Tutvedt (R-Kalispell), sponsor of SB 372.

3-ong>EYEong> on Business, ong>Octoberong> ong>2012ong> www.montanachamber.com

ong>Octoberong> is

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

by Kim Weisert

Health Benefits Director

Montana Chamber of Commerce

This month has been designated as an international

health campaign to raise awareness of Breast Cancer and

raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis,

treatment, and cure. This month also reminds

women to be aware and remember that early detection is


There are various factors that affect your risk of getting

breast cancer. In fact, the causes of breast cancer are not

fully known. However, researchers have identified many

risk factors associated with a person’s chances of getting

the disease. A risk factor does not cause the disease but

may put you at a higher risk. Some risk factors include:

being a woman, getting older, a family history of breast

or ovarian cancer, and never having children, to name a


Some ways to offset these risk

factors is to make healthy lifestyle

choices. A few examples of

healthy lifestyle choices are to

maintain a healthy weight, add

exercise to your routine, limit

alcohol intake, limit postmenopausal

hormones, and breastfeed

if you can. Physical activity

not only burns calories but

helps lower your risk of breast


Breast self-awareness is also extremely important. It is

important to know your own risk factors. Make sure you

get screened on a regular basis. There are two types of

Member Programs

by Pete Burwell

Membership Director

Montana Chamber of Commerce

Greetings! Here at the Montana Chamber,

we rely on memberships to continue to do

the work we do in the Legislature. I would like to thank

all of our members for helping us to be proactive in

bringing positive ideas for improving our business climate

to the legislature. Without the support of the

1,500+ members we have, we could not achieve the success

we have the last couple of years.

We need your help in growing the organization into an

even stronger business advocate. Encourage your peers,

vendors, friends and anyone else who is in business world

to join the voice for business. The cost for membership

is well worth the results the Montana Chamber produces

each year. With the programs on Workers’ Comp and

Health Insurance, the Office Depot savings card, and the

HR discount from Personnel Plus!, we are a great value.

Go to our website and check out all the things we do

( www.MontanaChamber.com ). Thanks for the help.

breast cancer screening tests. The first is a Mammogram.

A Mammogram is recommended for women age 40 and

older once a year. The other screening test is a clinical

breast exam which is recommended for women age 20-

39 at least every three years (www.komen.org).

Montana Chamber Choices is a big supporter of prevention

practices. That is why we offer many preventive

benefits to our members. Chamber Choices provides

100% of the allowable fee on preventive screens such as

mammograms and colonoscopies. So be aware this

month and go and get your screening!

Fight the Flu Early This Year!

Flu season is upon us, as hard as it is to believe! The flu and cold season takes its toll across Montana each year, resulting

in time-loss hours, absenteeism and work-flow disruption. Flu season can start as early as ong>Octoberong>, making

it extra important to get vaccinated early. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the yearly flu vaccination

should start in September or when the vaccine is available and should continue until peak season (December


Who Should Get Vaccinated?

Pregnant Women

Children younger than 5, but especially babies younger than 2 years.

Health Care Workers

People of high risk populations (chronic health conditions, asthma, diabetes, etc.)

People 65 or older

Montana Chamber Choices offers many preventive benefits- including the flu vaccine! If you are on Montana

Chamber Choices Health Insurance get your flu shot today!

4-ong>EYEong> on Business, ong>Octoberong> ong>2012ong> www.montanachamber.com

Montana Manufacturing Council

by Webb Brown


Montana Chamber of Commerce

It really isn’t big news to Montanans that our manufacturing landscape is changing. Gone is the

dominance of the wood products element of manufacturing, with the near extinction of the sawmills

and pulp plants I used to deal with as a logger in my former life.

Existing manufacturers are adapting, re-tooling and reaching out to find new ways to continue to grow, or simply

stay in business with the challenging economic conditions we face in our country today. Montana’s entrepreneurial

spirit (celebrated in a US Chamber study) has created many new small manufacturing businesses. And Montana is

welcoming new business citizens from other states and countries as they look for new opportunities in Big Sky


The manufacturing sector is as diverse as any that we work with at the Montana Chamber of Commerce. But the

diversity is misleading, as we find great similarity of business issues, challenges and opportunities.

The Montana Manufacturing Council continues to demonstrate that manufacturers have more in common than

they think. The Council serves as the state’s manufacturing association, following the old Montana Manufacturing

Association of the last century. Under the Montana Chamber’s umbrella, the Council now boasts over 200 members.

Council members enjoy the same benefits Chamber members do, plus some additional sector-specific communications

and ties to the National Association of Manufacturers. The Council is the state affiliate (not subsidiary)

of the NAM.

The Montana Manufacturing Council has already done great things to help manufacturers in The Last Best Place,

from business equipment tax and work comp changes over the past decade to the Chamber Choices group health

and Safety Choices group work comp insurance programs, to international trade promotion. The High School

Business Challenge even uses a theoretical manufacturing business to teach young folks business principles.

The Council will continue to be a powerful force to sustain and grow manufacturing opportunities. This is the

very reason we have scheduled the Montana Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting just ahead of the Montana

Manufacturing and Extension Center’s bi-annual Compete Smart Conference in ong>Octoberong>. And that is why the

Montana Manufacturing Council is a major sponsor of that conference.

It is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed as we get to know each other even better and we hope you will join

us at both events. We also hope you will spread the word to all manufacturers and their supporters that the Montana

Manufacturing Council is a leading business organization for them to join in the future. For more information,

go to: www.MontanaManufacturingCouncil.com.

Rim Rock Wind Project Holds Opening Ceremony

Recently NaturEner, USA held a opening ceremony on the wind farm developed by

the company north of Cut Bank and Shelby, Montana. The wind farm is near completion

awaiting final construction of the Montana-Alberta Tie-Line (MATL) by

Enbridge, Inc. of Alberta, Canada. The project will supply wind energy through the

MATL line to customers and will produce enough electricity to power 10,000


NaturEner officials told the audience the complex wind project spanned a number

of years in development and involved local, state and federal officials as well as important

state and federal legislation. The success of the project came about only

with construction financing from New York banking institutions, wind power tax

credit legislation allowing investments by California electric companies, the MATL

line construction, a working relationship with environmental groups and local land

owners. NaturEner applauded the support from the local communities and work

done by local and statewide sub-contractors and workers hired to work on construction


NaturEner executives told those attending that several future opportunities exist to

expand the project as well as related energy projects in the region.

NaturEner officials held a

opening ceremony, Friday,

September 14, ong>2012ong> north of

Cut Bank. Pictured are two

of the 140-1.5 megawatt

turbines in the project.

5-ong>EYEong> on Business, ong>Octoberong> ong>2012ong> www.montanachamber.com

Montana Chamber of Commerce Renewing Members-September ong>2012ong>

Absaroka Emergency Physicians PC, Bozeman

Allegra Print & Imaging, Helena

Allen Landscaping & Nursery, Dillon

AlphaGraphics of Bozeman

Altos Photonics, Bozeman

American Stagecoach Inc, Columbus

Anheuser Bush Companies, Helena

Baker Commodities Inc., Missoula

Bank of Montana, Missoula

Bozeman Ford Lincoln Mercury

Capital Development Inc., Billings

Career Training Institute, Helena

Celebrate Event Party Rentals, Whitefish

Christian Center 1st Assembly of God, Bozeman

Dannenberg Ranch, Rapelje

Dick Irvin Inc., Shelby

DirecTV, Missoula

Eli Lily Inc., Indianapolis

Ennis Chamber of Commerce

Excel Electric, Billings

Fisher Water Service, Billings

Flathead Business & Industry Assn., Kalispell

G&B Motors Inc., Havre

Gallatin Valley Botanical Inc., Bozeman

General Mills Inc., Great Falls

General Motors, Detroit

Glacier National Park Fund, Columbia Falls

Gowers Automotive Group LLC, Great Falls

Grand Lumber, Billings

Grand Union Hotel, Fort Benton

GT Advance Technologies, Missoula

Hagen Construction, Belt

Hayden Truck Repair, Billings

Kelly Supply LLC, Sidney

Laurel Golf Club Inc., Laurel

LHC Inc, Kalispell

Mechanix Unlimited Inc, Great Falls

MITS, Helena

Monroe’s High Country Travel Plaza, Helena

Montana Internet Corp, Helena

Montana Neurobehavioral Specialists, Missoula

Montana Vistas LLC, Kalispell

Mystery Ranch, Bozeman

New Customer Service Companies, Great Falls

Precision Dental Prosthetics, Helena

PrintingForLess.com, Livingston

River Rising Bakery, Hamilton

Rob Kern Ranch, Pryor

Rod’s Auto & Align Inc. Hamilton

S & S Sports, Ronan

Service Corporation of Retired Exec, Helena

Shafer Commodities, Ennis

St. Peter's Hospital Foundation, Helena

Sweet Life Chocolates, Great Falls

The Briarwood, Billings

The Neighborhood Office, Helena

Vision Net, Great Falls

Wood’s Powr Grip Inc., Laurel

New Montana Chamber Members for September

New Members:

Venture Motor Inn

1015 W. 9th St.

Libby, MT 59923


Petersen Brands

611 Miller Creek Road

Missoula, MT 59803



Western Spindle

3254 Canyon Ferry Rd

East Helena, MT 59635



Western Energy

PO Box 99

138 Rosebud Lane

Colstrip, MT 59323-0099



McDantim Inc.

3730 N. Montana Ave

Helena, MT 59602



Nabors Well Services Co.

2048 Overland Ave. Suite 101

Billings, Montana 59102


Border States Industries Inc

PO Box 2179

Billings, MT 59101



Budget Game Processing Inc

4110 Thorpe Road

Belgrade, MT 59714




Buffalo Hill Golf Club

PO Box 1116

Kalispell, MT 59903



Veltkamp Agency Inc.

2620 West Main

Bozeman, MT 59718



John MacDonald Consulting LLC

512 Clarke St.

Helena, MT 59601


7-ong>EYEong> on Business, ong>Octoberong> ong>2012ong> www.montanachamber.com

Taking Montana to the World

by Josh Dupler

Membership Coordinator

Montana Chamber of Commerce

I will be going on the 4 th “Montana Goes To China” trip

ong>Octoberong> 8-17. I’m looking forward to making new

friends and memories in the “Middle Kingdom”. Then

in ong>Octoberong>, the State Chamber has another group visiting Cuba. These

trips allow travelers (business and leisure) to go places they might not

otherwise have the opportunity to visit. It’s the power of

the Chamber to assemble large enough groups to get

screaming deals.

Rest assured, we always encourage folks in these destinations

to visit Montana, if they can, promoting reciprocal

trade. Another international trade factor not known to a

lot of folks is international students. Montana universities

charge a lot for the quality education kids from other

countries desire. And all of this adds more money to the

economy to boost international trade even further.

Besides these group tours, the Montana Chamber is very

active in international trade. This summer we hosted

trade delegations from Australia, Brasil, Canada, Colombia,

South Korea, and Vietnam. We co-hosted webinars

on a variety of topics to help exporters. We pushed Congress

to establish Permanent Normal Trade Relations

(PNTR) with Russia. We’re cooperating on a tourism

trade mission to Canada with US Sen. Max Baucus.

And we provided Certificates of Origin (COs) to Montana

companies already exporting. Many countries require

these documents for international trade. Basically

chambers guarantee where products come from. A lot of

chambers won’t do these anymore, because of the liability

associated with them. However, we do (with proper

verification)! COs are another service the Montana

Chamber provides to our members.


Safety Training Workshops


Montana High School Business Challenge Simulation

ong>Octoberong> 3, ong>2012ong>


Montana Goes to China Tour

ong>Octoberong> 8-17, ong>2012ong>


Montana Chamber Annual/Fall Meeting

Missoula, ong>Octoberong> 10-11

Montana Goes to Cuba Tour

ong>Octoberong> 25-November 2


Montana Goes to Israel Tour

December 2-10


Business Days at the Capitol

January 7-8. 2013

2013 Governors’ Cup Golf Tournament

August 1-3, Flathead Valley


Check out our website


for the latest Montana business

and political news updates

HSBC Enrollment Milestone

by Kerry Schaefer

High School Business Challenge Coordinator

Montana Chamber Foundation


The Montana High

School Business Challenge fall semester

business education competition

begins ong>Octoberong> 3, ong>2012ong> in what we

hope will be a milestone year for enrollment.

The High School Business Challenge (HSBC) was first

offered to students in Montana schools the fall semester

of 2000. In the ong>2012ong>-13 school year. we hope to hit the

milestone of 10,000 students who have participated

since the inception of this program.

Businesses, foundations and individuals have sustained

and helped the Montana Chamber Foundation grow the

HSBC program into the premier high school business

education tool that it is today. The Montana Council on

Economic Education (MCEE) in Bozeman has continued

to administer HSBC to the growing number of

schools who participate annually as our partner.

If you are not currently a sponsor of HSBC, I would be

pleased to visit with you about the details. Contact me

at 406-463-2370 or kerry@montanachamber.com.

Contact me if your company needs a Certificate of Origin

or wants to be more engaged in international trade. I’d also be happy to fill you in on future trips we’re thinking of

taking. Feel free to contact me at 888-442-MONT (6668) ext. 109 or josh@montanachamber.com.

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