For the fourth year in a row Montana ranks as the state with the highest number of business startups. That’s according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The group says Montana leads the pack among the nation’s 25 least populated states.
Andy Shirtliff is Democratic Governor Steve Bullock’s Small Business Ombudsman.
"If you lump in entrepreneurs who don’t usually make a wage, you lump in agricultural producers and retirees that brings the entire average down. Remove them from the category of wage earners we’re actually in the middle of the pack. Our economy is strong. You can see that here today, again being the fourth time we’ve been rated the number one place to start a business."
Bullock's Republican challenger, Greg Gianforte sees it differently. His campaign points to several studies detailing Montana’s chronically low wages.
In an emailed statement to MTPR, campaign spokesman Ron Catlett says, “Arguably, no one has done more to boost Montana's tech sector and mentor Montana entrepreneurs than Greg Gianforte ... For a career politician like Bullock to try and take credit for high tech and entrepreneurs in Montana is a little bit like Al Gore trying to take credit for inventing the internet."