Business development and living wages go hand in hand with growing a strong economy. A living wage is the hourly pay needed to cover the cost of housing, food, utilities and other expenses, including modest savings. According to a 2014 report "Families Out of Balance" produced by the Alliance for a Just Society, a living wage in Montana ranges from $14.40 per hour for a single adult to $25.82 for a single adult with two children.
The legislature should promote private/public partnerships through tax incentives designed to advantage these business partnerships. Adequately funding infrastructure, education and training programs, and setting sound economic growth policies, will create and sustain quality jobs crucial to fostering a robust economy. Montana is primed for economic growth. Aging infrastructure -- bridges, roads, sewer, water, power lines, high-speed internet -are all in need of modernization/replacement. In addition, Montana has an abundance of clean energy development opportunities, from wind to solar to geothermal. Montana State University's Montana Manufacturing Extension Center is available to help businesses find new markets, increase production capacities and reduce production costs.
Businesses in all sectors face numerous challenges including inadequate: work force talent, access to capital, and knowledge about sales and marketing. In addition, our work force is aging, and matching jobs to that work force will require intentional steps and coordination between the public and private sectors.
Funding science and technology centers, along with Montana's universities and colleges, will help educate the workforce of the future. Supporting such programs as the new apprentice program, which provides tax credit of $750 to $1500 if a veteran owns the businesses, will help to grow the economy.