Entrepreneurs Over 50 Growing Trend

Entrepreneurs over the age of 50 are one of the fastest growing groups of new business owners in the nation. For age 50 plus individuals, entrepreneurship offers an opportunity to use your knowledge and experience that you’ve gained during your career toward creating a new business that can be rewarding in many ways.
This is an exciting area, especially when you consider that there are 76 million people over the age of 50 in the United States. For the new Summer of Encore Mentoring initiative, SBA district offices and AARP state offices nationwide will offer events specifically designed to help encore entrepreneurs-those age 50 and older who want to start or grow a small business. The Summer of Encore Mentoring builds on 2012’s successful Mentor Day, which grew into successful Mentor Months in 2013 and 2014. The Region VIII Summer of Encore Mentoring training webinar is scheduled for August 17. More encore events may be offered throughout the last five months of 2015. With a special focus on entrepreneurs over the age of 50, we’ll be matching up “encore entrepreneurs” with successful business mentors and business experts for advice and assistance.

Read more: Entrepreneurs Over 50 Growing Trend

This time it’s the FCC’s oppressive Internet rules...

As reported by the Wall Street Journal on March 29, one single bank has been created since 2010 – the year Dodd-Frank was enacted. In three decades prior to the law “an average of more than 100 new banks a year opened,” according to the article, which looks at Dodd-Frank’s impact on small financial institutions.

SBE Council chief economist Ray Keating also reported on the issue in a recent Capital & Credit analysis. Keating noted the prospect of more consolidation among small banks, higher costs, and the fact that regulation post Dodd-Frank has posed a bigger survival challenge than the financial crises itself.

This is what happens when regulation targeting the big guys is outsized in proportion to the “market failure” it is supposed to fix. Big regulatory initiatives always end up harming the little guy – that is, the small businesses and entrepreneurs who spark innovation and vibrancy in every sector of the economy. Even when efforts are put forth to protect small businesses from the ill effects of “direct regulation” more often than not there is no escape. Moreover, the indirect impact of regulation can be as equally devastating.

Read more: This time it’s the FCC’s oppressive Internet rules...

After 32 years, 76-year-old Exec Still Waits on Feds

When Sidney Longwell submitted an application for a permit to drill on federal land in northwest Montana in 1983, Ronald Reagan was in his first term in office, Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” was at the top of the pop charts and John Elway was a rookie quarterback for the Denver Broncos.
Now, 32 years later, Longwell is 76, living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and still waiting for the federal government to make a decision.

Read more: After 32 years, 76-year-old Exec Still Waits on Feds

New Rule Not Good For Montana

The White House just approved an Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers’ rule that could give the agencies vast new power over water. The impact of this will be felt by every farmer and rancher in Montana.

The new rule defines the waters of the United State so expansively that the federal government could apply the decades-old Clean Water Act to creeks, small ponds and even streambeds that are dry much of the year. The Clean Water Act was supposed to govern navigable waterways, not every place where water could possibly flow or pool.

House Resolution 1732 would stop the rule, and kudos to Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke for voting in favor of it. Now Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester need to act to protect small business, either by supporting similar legislation or by including language in the appropriations process that could halt the rule from moving forward.

Compliance and enforcement could put several family agricultural businesses in the poor house. Even before the new rule, the average cost of a Clean Water Act permit cost $270,000 and daily fines for violations can reach up to $37,000.

There really isn’t a small business out there that can afford these costs. “This has the potential to bring local development to a stop and make it much more difficult for small businesses to make even minor improvements to their properties,” said Dan Danner, president and CEO of America’s largest small-business association, the National Federation of Independent Business. “It gives the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers new power to regulate local projects and local businesses, and it creates for the trial lawyers and the environmental activists a whole new class of potential defendants.”

The way EPA and the Corps went about it was sordid. “The process was rigged in favor of the agencies,” said Dan Bosch, NFIB’s senior manager of regulatory policy. “They simply decided that they didn’t even need to consider the effects on small business. That analysis is required by law. It’s not optional.”

The new rule even drew rare public opposition from another government agency in the same administration. Last fall, the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy wrote to the agencies expressing its concerns. The chief counsel for the office wrote that the waters rule could cost small businesses tens of millions of dollars. He asked them to withdraw it.

Recently, the Senate Small Business Committee held a hearing on the rule. A witness from the Office of Advocacy again called for the rule to be halted. He said that refusal to conduct small business analysis was a violation of federal law and that there might even be room to sue the government if it isn’t done correctly. Beth Milito, NFIB’s senior executive counsel, testified at the same hearing and told senators that the uncertainty of federal regulation could lead many owners to forgo development.

Small businesses employ half of all Americans, but it’s regulations like this that make it hard for more people to find a job. Do we want business owners using their limited resources on red tape, or on growing their business? When a manufacturer builds a new facility or a farmer grows more crops, there are many who benefit. When the government makes it hard to do these things, we all lose out.

“The state’s do a much better job of balancing environmental protection with economic development because they need both,” said Danner. “This [new rule] tips the scale in favor of distant regulators and ideologues who won’t have to live with the consequences.”

The new rule is wrong on many counts and deserves to be stopped.


Riley Johnson is Montana state director for the National Federation of Independent Business.

It should be policy not politics that fuel public land debate


 As avid sportsmen, we recognize the value of our public land in Montana.  But we also recognize our responsibility as citizens to see that our public lands are properly managed.  It’s simply not enough to just “keep it public”.

Unfortunately, many on the political left have decided they aren’t interested in improving the management of public land in Montana.  They would rather perpetuate a boogey-man argument that claims our public lands are somehow “for sale”.  It’s politicking at its best; policy at its worst.

The argument against reassigning federal land management responsibilities to the state is riddled with false claims intended purely as scare tactics to advance a political agenda.

“They want to sell the land off to out-of-state billionaires.”

“The State would go bankrupt if we had to manage all that land.”

“The federal government manages the land just fine, so why burden the state?”

These are just a few of the patently false statements perpetuated by the environmental groups who would prefer we manage Montana’s public land from Washington, DC instead of at the state level.  But the real reason for their opposition?  They know that once the public realizes that their argument is purely about politics and not about policy, these groups lose the fear factor that they depend on.

If you look at our national forests dead from beetle kill, and hillsides blanketed red and white from knapweed, it’s evident that federal land management can be improved.  And there is no doubt we would improve the management of our federal land by reassigning management responsibility to the state.   But unfortunately those who have little interest in improving land management would rather raise red-herring arguments than defend why they believe the federal government is better suited to manage public lands than our state land management agencies are. 

The resources to manage federal land in Montana already exist, and are funneled from the federal coffer in D.C. to various agencies within the US Department of Interior and Department of Agriculture.  As the resources are already there to manage these lands, it would be simple to work out a deal with the federal government to funnel those resources to state based agencies, such as the Montana Department of Natural Resource Conservation. 

It may take some time to build up the state agencies to the point where they could adequately address the management needs of Montana’s federal land, so the changes would have to be incremental.  But this level of management reassignment would allow the state of Montana much more control in how we care for our federal land.  And that will mean improved economic opportunity and improved public access.

 And on the concern of privatization, the state Senate is considering a bill to prevent the state of Montana from selling off public land to private landowners.  And guess who testified against it.  That’s right, the very same groups who use the threat of privatization to raise money.  If that’s not hypocritical, we don’t know what is. 

 We are thoroughly convinced that the vast majority of Montanans want to “keep it public”.   And if you are paying even half attention to this debate, it’s pretty obvious that those leading the opposition to land management reassignment are just using the issue for fundraising and political cheap shots. 

It’s wrong to vilify fellow Montanans for trying to improve our state just for a few quick political points.  And the hypocrites who are profiting from preventing better management of Montana’s public land are standing in the way of progress that will benefit all Montanans.  So, if you’re a person who really cares about our public land in Montana, let’s have an open and honest discussion about how we can all be better stewards of our federally-owned lands.

Senator Eric Moore is a rancher and feedlot operator from Mile City, and serves as Senate President Pro Tempore for the 64th legislative session.  Representative Kerry White is a small business owner from Bozeman, and serves as the House Natural Resources Committee Chairman for the 64th legislative session.


Want to Boost Ag Sector? Build New Pipelines

Agriculture relies on affordable energy to stay competitive. The cost of crude oil and natural gas directly impacts farmers’ ability to maintain a healthy bottom line, driving the costs of necessary expenditures like diesel fuel, irrigation, fertilizer, lubricants and more.
In the past five years, crude oil production in the U.S. has skyrocketed, bringing a surge of economic activity. Our country will surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s most prolific producer of fossil energy in 2015. For the first time in decades, the once vaporous concept of American “energy independence” is within reach.

Read more: Want to Boost Ag Sector? Build New Pipelines

Montana Taxpayers Deserved Tax Simplification and Tax Relief

By Jane Egan, Bob Story, and Glenn Oppel

Governor Steve Bullock had an opportunity earlier this month to provide hardworking Montanans with modest income tax relief while also simplifying Montana’s complicated income tax system. He chose not to by vetoing Senate Bill 171. It appears that the state needs your money more than you do.

Senate Bill 171, sponsored by Senator Bruce Tutvedt of Kalispell, was supported by organizations such as the Montana Society of CPA’s, the Montana Chamber of Commerce, and the Montana Taxpayers Association. It was designed to make it easier for Montana taxpayers to file and pay their income taxes - a worthy goal in light of the time and costs associated with tax compliance for businesses and individuals.

Montana’s income tax system is much more complicated than those of other states. For example, Montanans have to consider 50 separate line items that are additions or subtractions to federal taxable income in order to arrive at Montana taxable income. These line items require 48 pages of instructions. To deliver Montanans from this annual compliance headache, Senate Bill 171 simply proposed to start Montana taxable income with Federal taxable income.

Read more: Montana Taxpayers Deserved Tax Simplification and Tax Relief

Continued Rail Accidents Underscore the Risk of Rail Transport

A fiery train derailment that scattered freight-rail tank cars carrying crude oil and forced the evacuation of hundreds of families in West Virginia has revived the ongoing debate of pipelines vs. railroads.

“That argument has been there for quite some time,” said Bob Schulz, professor with the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary.

It’s also drawn into the fray the long-running battle over the Keystone XL pipeline.

Read more: Continued Rail Accidents Underscore the Risk of Rail Transport

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