United Way of Yellowstone County has received a $2.5 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund—the largest gift in the organization’s history. The grant is aimed at helping the homeless in Billings.

This is the sixth round of annual Day 1 Families Fund grants, which recognize organizations doing work to help families experiencing homelessness secure housing and achieve stability. The fund, created in 2018 by Jeff Bezos, former CEO and founder of Amazon, is part of a $2 billion commitment to such organizations throughout the country. This is the sixth round of grants, bringing the total awarded to $639 million.

According to Kim Lewis, president and CEO of United Way of Yellowstone County, the one-time grant will support United Way of Yellowstone County in serving children and adults in families experiencing homelessness, who represent more than a quarter of the homeless population nationally. Lewis explained that the funds will increase access to services and “empower coalitions.”

United Way of Yellowstone County will use The Day 1 Families Fund grant to divert families from homelessness and rehouse families.

What do The Rolling Stones, NFL star Tyreek Hill, and Maryland millionaires have in common? They all moved because of taxes.

You may not be a famous musician or a pro athlete, but you too may have considered taxes in deciding, “should I stay, or should I go?” Or maybe not. While high-profile stories abound, what do the data tell us about taxes and migration? Do people—regular people—really move because of taxes?

The answer is complicated, but one thing is clear: Americans are moving from higher-tax states to lower-tax states. This alone doesn’t prove anything, but the most recent IRS data seem to show a connection between taxes and migration:

* Nine of the top 10 states with the largest population gains from 2019 to 2020 have no or low individual income taxes (the most visible of all the tax types, and highly connected to where you live).

* Of the states that saw more income tax filers move in than out, nearly 80 percent had below-average state and local tax collections per capita in fiscal year 2020, while half of the states that experienced more filers moving out than in had above-average collections per capita.

* Similarly, 19 of the 28 states with more people moving in than out had a top marginal income tax rate below the national median, while 16 of the 22 states plus D.C. with more people moving out than in had above-median top income tax rates.

* Among the 25 best-ranking states on the 2020 State Business Tax Climate Index, 20 states gained taxpayers between 2019 and 2020. Among the 25 worst-ranking states on the Index, 17 lost taxpayers to interstate migration.

Of course, correlation does not equal causation, so how do we know taxes play a role in people’s location decisions?

One clue: most studies have found that state and local taxes affect migration, and the effect seems to have become stronger over the years—probably because technology has made it easier for people and businesses to move.

Another clue: survey data. An annual Census Bureau survey asks people who moved why they did it. Though it doesn’t ask about taxes directly, respondents’ answers reveal the indirect influence of taxes. For example, in 2017, 16 percent said they “wanted [a] new or better home,” 11.5 percent said they moved “to establish own household,” and 8.3 percent “wanted cheaper housing,” all of which are influenced by property taxes. And the 9.9 percent who moved for a “new job or job transfer” likely took into account income taxes and benefited from the job opportunities related to the state’s economic competitiveness.

Though people move for many different reasons, the evidence suggests taxes are at least one factor—both directly and indirectly. All things being equal, people prefer lower taxes. They also favor many of the things that a well-designed tax code helps facilitate, like a strong job market and a reasonable overall cost of living.

When people move out of a state, they take their earning power with them. IRS data from 2019 and 2020 shows that most states that lost people to interstate migration also lost adjusted gross income (AGI). Conversely, most states that gained people also gained AGI.

For example, in 2021, California and New York lost $29 billion and $25 billion in AGI, respectively, while Florida gained $39 billion.

And less income in the state means less tax revenue. In 2021, California lost $343 million while New York lost $300 million.

Evidently, people’s migration decisions can affect a state’s economy and budget.

While experts generally agree that taxes play some role in people’s decisions about where to live and work, they disagree over the significance. Some argue that the influence of taxes on migration decisions is so small, policymakers shouldn’t even consider it when designing tax policy.

But policymakers only have so many tools at their disposal to attract people. Not every state can offer warm weather and nice beaches. But they can control their taxes. Prioritizing structurally sound tax policy with low rates will not only lower people’s tax burdens—which clearly attracts some people—but also produce economic growth, increasing the job opportunities and wages that attract others.

A company in Bozeman, MagDrive Technologies, has revealed that oil and gas refineries can reduce their emission footprint by 62% through the adoption of magnetically actuated valves.

This innovative technology presents a significant leap in the industry’s efforts to meet climate regulations. MagDrive claims the technology will bring true zero emission components to industries like oil and gas, energy, nuclear, aerospace, and cryogenics.

MagDrive CEO, Nick Runyon, will present the team’s groundbreaking findings at the Conference of the Parties in Dubai on December 3.

Runyon’s presentation will showcase the crucial role of advanced technology in achieving the government’s ambitious global climate goals. The timing of the technology aligns with the need for rapid changes that will be necessary to meet the time restraints being called for to limit greenhouse gas emission to 1.5 degrees centigrade.

MagDrive is licensing its patented valve designs to qualified manufacturers, which will facilitate widespread availability of zero-emission valves to the oil and gas industry.

As a leader in zero-emission valve technology, MagDrive Technologies is committed to providing innovative solutions that address environmental challenges by reducing industrial emissions.

Wind turbines and a growing population are posing new issues of concern regarding Montana’s underground nuclear missile silos. As a consequence the Air Force is asking Congress for help, especially because of “towering wind turbines, which are growing in number and size and are edging closer to the sites each year,” reports the Associated Press (AP).

The Air Force wants Congress to pass legislation to create a 2-nautical-mile buffer zone around each site. Underground silos are located in Nebraska, Colorado, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

“…underground nuclear missile silos are rarely disturbed by more than the occasional wandering cow or floating spy balloon,” notes the AP.

In general the silos are “almost undetectable” located on private farmland, appearing as a small rectangular plot marked only by an antennae, chain-link fence and a flat 110,000 ton concrete silo blast door.

Increasingly, sometimes, stretching for miles, wind turbines tower in proximity, hundreds of feet high, with long, sweeping blades with “parts so large and long they dwarf the 18-wheeler flatbed trucks that transport them to new sites.” They pose a danger for military helicopter crews. “When an alarm triggers at a site, the UH-1 Huey crews fly in low and fast, often with security teams on board.” The turbines not only pose physical obstacles but create turbulence.

Some of the modern turbines have towers as tall as 650 feet, or nearly 200 meters, , “which is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty.” Of the 450 sites, 46 are “severely” encroached upon, which the Air Force defines as having more than half of the routes to the launch site closed due to obstructions

Wind energy advocates are supportive of the restriction, according to AP.

Language to create a setback was included in the Senate version of the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, but would need to be negotiated into the House version of the bill.

But the service acknowledges the difficult position it is in. The farmers who have allowed it to use their lands for decades benefit from the income from the turbine leases, and the service does not want to appear to push back on environmental energy alternatives, they are nevertheless concerned about the safety for helicopter and nuclear security operations.”

The Center Square

Getting married – or divorced – was a more common reason for moving in 2022 than the year before while looking for better housing became less common, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau on why people move.

The Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement asks respondents who lived in a different place the year before their primary reason for moving. The 20 specific reasons fall into four general categories: housing-related, family-related, employment-related, and other. 

The most often-cited general category for moving in 2022 was housing-related reasons, which accounted for 41.6% of movers, according to the survey. That’s similar to other recent years. 

A newer, larger or better place to live was the most common specific reason cited for moves in 2022 and in 2021. That was followed by establishing one’s own household. Even so, the percentage of movers reporting upgrades declined.

“This decline suggests reversal of a boom in housing demand that happened in 2020, early in the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the report. 

The share of movers seeking better housing increased from 14.6% in 2020 to 17.2% in 2021. It fell back to 14.4% in 2022, about the same as the 2020 pre-pandemic baseline. The share of movers who reported wanting a better neighborhood or less crime had a similar decline after a jump early in the pandemic, according to the report. 

Some 26.5% of movers reported family-related reasons, the second most often-cited general reason for moving in 2022 and in recent years. 

Family-related reasons include a change in marital status and establishing one’s own household, according to the report.

“An increase in the share of people who moved due to a change in marital status between 2021 and 2022 may be the result of people resuming plans they had put on pause during the height of the pandemic,” according to the report. “Many couples decided to postpone wedding ceremonies and large gatherings during COVID-19: an estimated 12% fewer marriages and divorces took place in 2020 than researchers expected.”

Employment-related reasons were reported 16.1% of the time, the first time since at least 2017 that moving for employment was not cited more often, according to the report. 

By Brett Rowland, The Center Square

The U.S. population is projected to reach a high of nearly 370 million in 2080 before falling back to 366 million in 2100, according to the latest projections from the U.S. Census Bureau. 

By 2100, the total U.S. resident population is projected to increase 9.7% from 2022. The Census Bureau projections provide possible scenarios of population change for the nation through the end of the century.

“In an ever-changing world, understanding population dynamics is crucial for shaping policies and planning resources,” said Sandra Johnson, a demographer at the Census Bureau.

The projections show slower growth than was previously expected.

“The U.S. has experienced notable shifts in the components of population change over the last five years,” she said. “Some of these, like the increases in mortality caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, are expected to be short-term while others, including the declines in fertility that have persisted for decades, are likely to continue into the future. Incorporating additional years of data on births, deaths and international migration into our projections process resulted in a slower pace of population growth through 2060 than was previously projected.”

The Census Bureau projections show possible paths of population change based on assumptions about births, deaths and migration.

The 2023 projections include a main series (also known as the middle series) considered the most likely outcome of four assumptions, and three alternative immigration scenarios that show how the population might change under high, low and zero immigration assumptions.

* By 2100, the total population in the middle series is projected to reach 366 million compared to the projection for the high-immigration scenario, which puts the population at 435 million. The population for the middle series increases to a peak at 370 million in 2080 and then begins to decline, dropping to 366 million in 2100. The high-immigration scenario increases every year and is projected to reach 435 million by 2100.

* The low-immigration scenario is projected to peak at around 346 million in 2043 and decline thereafter, dropping to 319 million in 2100.

* Though largely illustrative, the zero-immigration scenario projects that population declines would start in 2024 in the complete absence of foreign-born immigration. The population in this scenario is projected to be 226 million in 2100, roughly 107 million lower than the 2022 estimate.

Immigration is projected to be the main driver of population growth under three of the four scenarios. The zero-immigration scenario is the exception. The projections show reduced fertility and an aging population result in natural decrease – more deaths than births – in all scenarios. This happens in 2038 in the main series, 2033 in the zero-immigration scenario, 2036 in the low-immigration scenario and in 2042 in the high-immigration scenario.

Small businesses continue to oppose onerous reporting burdens, reports the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) 1071 Small Business Lending Rule, commonly referred to as the CFPB 1071 rule, would add extra paperwork and small business lending complications. On October 18, NFIB announced that it will consider S.J. Res. 32, the Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval of the CFPB 1071 rule as an NFIB Key Vote for the 118th Congress. NFIB sent a letter to members of the United States Senate supporting the legislation.

“The CFPB 1071 rule would create onerous reporting requirements for both small business owners and the small financial institutions that lend to small businesses,” said Vice President of Federal Government Relations Kevin Kuhlman. “Small businesses are already inundated with federal paperwork when opening and running a business and applying for loans. They do not have the resources or staff to handle additional paperwork that this rule will require and neither do the small financial institutions they overwhelmingly use. This rule would not only have a negative impact on credit unions and small banks nationwide but also has the potential to limit small businesses’ access to credit.”

According to NFIB’s latest banking survey, 67% of small businesses use a small or regional financial institution for their credit needs with an additional 17% using a medium-sized institution.

This rule requires small businesses to file extra paperwork, including demographic information, when applying for a loan. That demographic paperwork information must be provided to CFPB, which could add new demographic requirements to small business lending, potentially threatening small business relationship banking and access to credit. Because small businesses generally use smaller community banks for their lending needs, this paperwork requirement is particularly burdensome for small banks.

S.J. Res. 32 would repeal the CFPB’s 1071 rule. S.J. Res. 32 passed the U.S. Senate 53-45 with every Senate Republican supporting the CRA, joined by Senators Sinema (I-AZ), Manchin (D-WV), Tester (D-MT), Hickenlooper (D-CO), and King (I-ME).

NFIB filed comments opposing the reporting burdens of the CFPB 1071 Rule in 2017 and urging Congress to repeal the rule. This is NFIB’s second Key Vote of the 118th Congress in the U.S. Senate.

The group that is seeking funding to advance a plan to build a passenger rail service through southern Montana, The Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority (BSPRA), has been awarded a $150,000 grant to explore the feasibility of the project. The grant was awarded by  the Pacific Northwest Economic Region’s Regional Infrastructure Accelerator (PNWER) , a federal agency whose goal is to further high-performance rail across the region. This constitutes the largest planning grant received by BSPRA to-date.

U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau awarded the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) a grant to continue advancing infrastructure development through the five-state Regional Infrastructure Accelerator for which it has oversight of Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

The public funds will finance the development of a feasibility and economic study. It will look for opportunities to “bundle” track improvement that could benefit passenger and freight rail service, and for possible development of transit near rail stations. 

It would analyze track from Sandpoint, ID, to Glendive, MT, along proposed Amtrak North Coast Hiawatha route to identify small to medium track improvement projects for enhanced freight and passenger rail service for rural communities and tribal nations.

CR Builders, 2101 Overland Ave, 59102, 254-1677, Donald Sterhan, general contractor

LL Flooring Inc, 2549 Enterprise Ave, 59102, 804-462-2000, Jessica Overstreet, retail sales

Precisionxproducts, 1245 Matador, 59105, 672-3487, Zachary Wallis, service

Schluter Short Term Rentals, 2334 Hyacinth Dr, 59105, 509-869-5777, Chad Schluter, real estate rental, 59105

AMR Solutions, 2103 Hillner Ln, 59101, 698-8570, Angela Reynolds, service

Paws and Ponies LLC, 7435 Bellrock Way, 59101, 672-2386, Frank Constance, service

Rougue Plumbing and Heating Inc, 623 S48th St Ste A, Grand Forks ND 58201, Ryan Olson, plumbing contractors

3311 Harlou Dr, 3311 Harlou Dr, 59102, 696-9304, Parker Peterson, real estate rental

Pioneer Sheds LLC, 4221 Kari Ln, 59102, 380-2375, Andrew Hersberger, retail sales

Hseyfert sewing, 484 Wheatstone Dr N, 59102, 633-3318, Holly Seyfert, service

RJJI Montana Inc, dba Billings Nursery Landscaping, 7900 South Frontage Rd, 59101, 656-2411, Judy Reimer, service

Burnin The Bone Smokehouse, 2595 Carlin St, Laurel 59044, 647-5143, Todd Payne, restaurants

Terwisscha Construction Inc, 1550 Willmar Ave SE, Willmar MN 56201, 320-235-7664, general contractors

Legacy Wingtsun, 3275 Conrad Rd #6, 59102, 699-3137, Keith Tipton/Jeff Andrews/Joshua Tolentino, service

Poly’s Place Coffee, 1704 Poly Dr, 59102, 672-1044, Diane Morledge-Hampton, retail sales

Monroe Art, PO Box 768, Browning MT 59417, 275-7599, Lauren Monroe Jr, retail sales

Unorthdoxmuse Productions, 319 Yellowstone Ave, 59101, 861-1174, Amy Mcomber, retail sales

The Carpenters Creation, 1032 Alpine Ave, Cody WY 82414, 512-698-3160, Laura Carpenter, retail sales

Hunt Energy LLC, 4005 1st Ave S, 59101, 245-1150, Dean Erickson, service

Prestige Worldwide Comics and Collectibles, 928 Broadwater Ave – Ste 105, 59102, 384-3552, Michael Oxford, retail sales

Holly Folk, 1326 Yellowstone River Rd, 59105, 855-8075, Morgan Hofmann, retail sales

Golden H LLC, 1813 Waterwood Dr, Laurel 59044, 321-1550, Brady Wiggs, general contractor

Montana Peaks Insurance Agency LLC, 2450 Tara Ln, Worden 59088, 320-0160, Danielle Petersen, insurance

Kampe Construction, 428 Greenspring Pl, 59102, 208-404-8699, Kenneth Kampe, general contractor

Keep It Alive Antiques and Collectibles, 928 Broadwater Ave – Ste 105, 598-7692, Sean Osborne, retail sales

Premier Home Inspection LLC, 38 Buckboard Rd, Park City 59063, 698-2875, service

Roadside Recovery of Montana, 7900 King Ave West, 59106, 661-1028, Robert Dalton, service

Ductbusters Duct Cleaning, 1042 Howard Ave, 59102, 598-6216, Jacob Ayers, service

Swift Construction, 3020 S 65th St W, 59106, 690-5710, James Swift, general contractor

Pops Tots, 7710 Lewis Ave, 59106, 834-1767, Ronald Mylar, restaurants

Daltons Prairie Paths Taxi & Shuttle, 621 1st Ave, Custer 59024, 697-5205, Bryce Dalton, service

Bakken Tree Service, 1134 ½ Bench Blvd, 59105, 598-8713, Michael Bakken, service

Scott’s Installation and Remodel, 1216 Matadore Ave, 59105, 596-1014, Scott Dedmore, general contractor

White Pine Construction LLC, 1717 Avenue C, 59102, 876-1475, Davis Brock, general contractor

Benny’s, 516 S 30th St, 59101, 647-7268, Benito Charles, restaurants

Newton Construction & Landscaping, 302 Jackson St #5, 59101, 371-3466, Xavier Figg, general contractor

Chipolte Mexican Grill #5076, 548 Main St, restaurants

Scott Properties LLC, 3955 Trailwood Dr, 59106, 670-1144, Steve Scott, real estate rental

Out of Square MT, 2008 Beverley Hill Blvd, 59102, 208-6682, Daniel Nelson, retail sales

Mazen LLC, 1744 Canary Ave, 59101, 855-8137, Robi Rossol, general contractor

Trewhella Consulting, 3390 Canyon Dr E5, 59102, 670-3097, James Trewhella, service

Echo Canyon Construction LLC, 7817 Molt Rd, 59106, 656-0570, Travis Fears, general contractor

Noble Operations, 2511 Clark Ave, 59102, 927-9401, Chad Noble, service

Addy Rose Salon & Studios, 805 24th St W #5, 59102, n/a, Keshia Wegner, service

Consulting Minds, 2110 Overland Ave #121, 59102, 534-4880, Connie Brown, service

Mike Wilhelm Electric, 4342 Rangeview Dr, 59106, 580-0438, Mike Wilhelm, electrical contractors

Caddy Cuts Construction, 432 Hillview Ln, 59101, 591-4705, Jayde Mikkelson, general contractor

Craftsman-Robert Murphy, 1526 Avenue F, 59102, 352-398-3964, Robert Murphy, service

Weetreehomesllc, 3930 2nd Ave S, 59101, 850-1249, Brian Rathay, general contractor

Rollhouse Bakery LLC, 819 S 33rd St, 59101, 697-1196, Jennifer Keller, retail sales

Z.O.D., 135 Hemlock Dr, 59101, 619-905-4050, Zachary Barnes, general contractor

J Houlihan Construction LLC, 3541 Granger Ave WY, 59102, 697-3768, Jacob Houlihan, general contractor

Big Sky Brats, 1009 Reading Circle, Laurel 59044, 605-295-0751, Jeremy Unruh, restaurants

Central Avenue Holdings LLC, 220 McLeod, Big Timber 59011, 932-5000, John Holifield, general contractor

Flawless Frame LLC, 3307 Grand Ste 201, 59102, 696-3420, Jennifer Fowler, service

Jewel Project Management and Design Consulting, 1968 Lakehills Dr, 59105, 670-6958, Deborah Greene, service

Legacy Counseling LLC, 208 N Broadway #423, 59101, 896-8427, Emily Smith, service

Dave’s Hot Chicken, 1020 Shiloh Crossing Blvd, 59102, 781-733-6832, Benjamin Quinlan, restaurants

New Cingular Wireless PCS LLC dba AT&T Mobility, 644 Broadwater Ave, 59101, 561-627-3365, Frank Maxwell, service

Montana Meal Prep, 487 S 44th W #5101, 59106, 890-4553, Kalen Jongeling, retail sales

42 West LLC, 6170 Elysian Rd Unit 103, 59101, 855-0822, Tiffany Deavers/Dr Michael Roberts, service

Thomas White, 2951 Custer Ave, 59102, 647-8906, Thomas White, general contractor

Milan Laser Hair Removal, 820 Shiloh Crossing Blvd Ste C, 59102, 402-306-6298, Milan Laser Corporate LLC, service

Farmgrounds Coffee Company LLC, 5623 Grand Ave, 59106, 698-5049, Jacob $ Douglas Kramer, restaurants

AAASTUC,CO LLC, 2492 Petersen Dr, Cheyenne WY 82009, 307-763-9748, Tanya Wunder, service

Trulock, 238 Pueblo Dr, 59102, 384-1274, Richard Stadler, service

Blown’ Snow Inc dba Snow Squad, 2170 Shackleford Ln, 59101, 743-9900, Tyler & Beth Hollenbeck, service

Corie May Creations, 2601 Wyoming Ave, 59102, 206-6462, Corrina Nagel, retail sales

John C Murphy DDS MSD, 949 Broadwater Sq, 59102, 259-2910, John C Murphy, dentist

Clayton Cleaning & Maintenance, 386 Westchester SQ S Apt 1, 59105, 861-6938, Joseph Clayton, service

Little Rad Dudes, 1503 13th St W, 59102, 200-4933, Kalee Gontarek, retail sales

The National Association of Realtors reports that single-family existing-home sales prices rose in 82 percent of  metro areas – 182 of 221 – in the third quarter, up from 58 percent in the previous quarter. The national median single-family existing-home price grew 2.2% from one year ago to $406,900.

The monthly mortgage payment on a typical, existing single-family home with a 20 percent down payment was $2,192 – up 19.2% from a year ago.

Twenty-five markets (11%) experienced double-digit annual price appreciation (up from 5% in the prior quarter).