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The latest Montana politics, elections and Legislature news.

Montana Lawmakers Study Impacts Of Changing Economy

Montana lawmakers and financial experts met Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021 to discuss the state's changing economy.
Shaylee Ragar
/
MTPR
Montana lawmakers and financial experts met Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021 to discuss the state's changing economy.

Economists and financial forecasters are predicting big changes for Montana over the next decade as the workforce ages and technology transforms traditional workplaces. Lawmakers are concerned with how that might impact the state’s fiscal health.

Financial experts say an aging population, changing population demographics, the rise of remote work and automation, and shifts in natural resource demand are driving economic changes in Montana.

State policymakers met Tuesday to talk about how those changes could affect the state’s budget and what they can do to prevent serious fallout.

Experts, like economist Bill Fox of the University of Tennessee, told lawmakers that Montana’s finances aren’t going to pencil out with its current reliance on income tax of workers who will retire at a faster rate than new workers entering the workforce.

“Now is the time to modernize your tax system for this rapidly changing world,” Fox says.

Legislation passed last spring is requiring the study of the state’s budget needs amid a changing economy.

The committee’s goal is to provide policy proposals for the next legislative session. It has four more meetings scheduled over the next year.