The legislation upon which hopes of funding One Big Sky District were pinned had failed as of press time. SB 340, which would enable 406 Impacts Districts, had a tie vote in the Senate Taxation Committee which effectively killed the bill.
The action followed a hearing over three hours long, in which many people testified in support of the bill, citing its potential to improve economic development. They cited the need to encourage young people to remain in the state and to attract others to the labor market, by creating opportunities and amenities that would be competitive with other markets. Proponents came from Billings, Great Falls, Missoula, and Bozeman. Only a handful of opponents voiced their opposition, with most indicating that they did not oppose advancing economic development, but doubted the efficacy of the funding mechanism outlined in SB 340.
Senators asked very pointed fiscal questions about the financing and the level of debt that might encumber the state as a result of the legislation.
The bill was introduced by Senator Roger Webb, (R), Billings, who expressed frustration and disappointment with its failure.