MTPR

Headwaters Economics

Two trends are converging in large wildland states like Montana — more frequent and severe wildfires and rapid home development in wildfire prone areas. A conference this week examined how homes burn and how to protect them.


Montana’s working lands, wildlife, state parks and trails face tens of millions of dollars in unmet funding needs, according to a new report commissioned by a Montana coalition that’s advocating for more public funding for recreational public lands.

House Bill 300, introduced in the 2019 Montana Legislative session, called for a 2.5 percent sales tax and the elimination of certain property taxes.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Montana lawmakers will take a comprehensive look at state and local tax policy over the next two years. Legislators say a changing economy and increasing population means Montana should consider new ways of collecting taxes.

House Bill 300, introduced in the 2019 Montana Legislative session, called for a 2.5 percent sales tax and the elimination of certain property taxes.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

A 2.5 percent sales tax and the elimination of certain property taxes is under consideration by the Montana Legislature.

It’s a proposal that could swing the source of billions of dollars in state revenue; create new regional commissions to recommend how public dollars are spent; and shift the burden of taxes across Montana.

The 2017 Lolo Peak Fire plume as seen from Florence
Eric Whitney

There’s been a change in the response to global climate change. Journalist Andrew Revkin, who’s been writing about the issue since the 1980s for outlets including the New York Times highlights the new response in a recent story for National Geographic.

Wildfire resistant home construction cost comparison.
Headwaters Economics

A study released this week finds new wildfire resistant homes cost roughly the same as more traditional home construction. The finding is potentially significant given growing public awareness as fire seasons lengthen and mega-fires, like California's devastating Camp Fire, increasingly displace people from their homes.

One-third of American homes are now located in the wildland-urban interface, that zone where homes are built near, or in, undeveloped wildlands susceptible to fire.

Counties With The Most Homes Built In WIldfire Hazard Areas, 1990-2016.
Headwaters Economics

A new study says the number of homes constructed in areas with high wildfire risks has doubled in western Montana since 1990, outpacing development rates in areas with low fire hazards.

Panelists at the Montana Water Summit in Helena, MT, March 7, 2018. From the left: Leon Szeptycki, Marco Maneta, Patty Gude, John Tubbs.
Nicky Ouellet

More than 300 people from across Montana met in Helena this week to talk about big changes the state is seeing in water —  from when it falls, to how and where it’s used, to the way Montanans value it.

The state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation hosted Montana’s first Water Summit, which Chief Earl Old Person of the Blackfeet Tribe kicked off with a blessing.

New Report Gives Tips for Future Fires

Sep 27, 2017
Wildland Firefighters working on fire line on the West Fork Fish Creek Fire in 2015.
Inciweb

Future fire seasons in Montana don’t have to be as bad as this one, a new report says, if people here can learn lessons from other states and better use existing tools. 

Mandy Mohler started Field Guide Designs after spending a week in the Bob Marshall photographing items she found in the Spruce Park Cabin. She says her business wouldn't be possible if it weren't for Montana's public lands.
Nicky Ouellet

For the past two decades, Montanans have been making more money, creating more jobs and  increasing investment and retirement income in the state. What’s the cause for all this growth? Ray Rasker of Headwaters Economics Research says it has to do with the best asset in the last best state: public lands.

"Rural counties around the West that have a lot of federal land have faster growth in population, faster growth in employment, and faster growth in personal income," Rasker says.

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