In fiscal year 2017-18, Envision 2026 laid the foundation for the long-term success both of Envision 2026 and our state’s economy. The Montana Chamber Foundation embarked on its most aggressive year of research in its history. The Montana Chamber and Chamber Foundation formed new relationships with a wide variety of groups such as Youth Entrepreneurs® and the Council on State Taxation. Finally, the Montana Chamber reached out to Montanans to educate the public — two efforts of note include a statewide tour during Infrastructure Week and an Economic Update Series focusing on entrepreneurship.
This work is needed now more than ever. In 2017, Montana’s Gross State Product only grew by 0.6 percent compared to a national average of 2.1 percent — dropping our ten-year average national ranking from 8th to 26th. In good news, wages continue to grow in Montana — especially in high-skill, high-wage sectors. Montana’s year-over-year per capita personal income growth was 3.59 percent — fourth highest in the nation. You already see the fruits of Envision 2026 in many road and bridge projects in the state, thanks to the Chamber’s integral role in facilitating the Montana Infrastructure Coalition.