Montana is creating the most entrepreneurs per capita

Ennis, Montana
Witold Skrypczak | Getty Images
Ennis, Montana

Editor's note: This commentary was written before the release of the Top States 2015 data. The governor did not have knowledge of the rankings or the comprehensive data.

People across the nation know Montana as "Big Sky Country" or the "Last Best Place" thanks to our stunning landscapes, blue-ribbon trout streams, and welcoming communities. Fewer people recognize that Montana has one of the most competitive business climates to go along with our exceptional quality of life.

Montana is consistently listed as one of the top ten states for our business tax climate and was recently honored with having the most equitable tax system of any of the 50 states. The pioneering spirit is alive and well in Montana as we have more entrepreneurs per capita than any state. People and businesses are increasingly recognizing the simple fact that Montana is one of the best places to live, work, and invest.

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The Montana economy continues to flourish with solid foundations in agriculture, natural resource development, and tourism. While the importance of these anchor industries should not be underestimated, Montana's economy continues to diversify and jobs are being created in manufacturing, healthcare, agricultural processing and many more.

Montana is home to one of the highest concentrations of photonics companies in the world and our manufacturers produce some of the highest quality outdoor equipment available. My administration is focused on continuing to grow our economic foundation while ensuring emerging industries have the infrastructure and workforce they need to succeed in the global economy.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock
Source: Office of the Governor
Montana Governor Steve Bullock
"I tasked my cabinet and all state of Montana employees to review existing regulations and administrative rules. ... to date, we have repealed or streamlined more than 700 rules and regulations that were unnecessary, unwarranted or stood in the way of economic growth."

Under my administration Montana has, for the first time, made state investments in our Carnegie-level research facilities through our university system and created new scholarships focused on encouraging students to pursue STEM degrees. This is in addition to Montana being ranked as the best in the nation for keeping higher education affordable. Never before have we had this unprecedented level of coordination between trainers and businesses. For example, by bringing together state agencies, the Montana University System and a private precision steel fabricator, we were able to create, fund, and form a specialized training program creating hundreds of high paying jobs.

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Early in my administration, I tasked my cabinet and all state of Montana employees to review existing regulations and administrative rules. From the outset, we have focused on ensuring more predictability and fairness to Montana's businesses. I'm proud to say that to date, we have repealed or streamlined more than 700 rules and regulations that were unnecessary, unwarranted or stood in the way of economic growth.

But predictability goes further than regulations. Businesses in Montana rest easy knowing their tax burden won't be rising thanks to the State of Montana's sound fiscal management. We have no public pension funding shortfalls like many other states. We have low debt burdens, cash in the bank, and no revenue shortfalls. And we were recently named the most fiscally prudent state in the nation by JPMorgan.

I'm personally committed to improving Montana's economic future. My administration will continue to engage the private-sector to increase economic opportunities and look for ways to improve our already top notch business environment.

By Montana Governor Steve Bullock