More On The GFDA

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brett doney

After our reporting (and thanks to our tipsters!), KRTV ran a story about Brett Doney’s gloomy review of the Great Falls job market. Apparently, the state of Montana disagrees with Doney:

But the Montana Department of Labor says the GFDA report is inconsistent with state numbers. 

Chief Economist Barbara Wagner says there were roughly 300 jobs lost in Great Falls between July 2015 and July 2016 which could be attributed to the closure of the Asurion call center in downtown Great Falls.

Wagner says job growth through the rest of 2016 cancelled out the loss, showing virtually no change in the number of jobs in Great Falls.

The GFDA and the Montana DoL clearly rely on different metrics. It’s unsurprising, then, to see conflicting data on Great Falls jobs. What is surprising, though, are the conflicting reports from within the GFDA. We were intrigued by a Facebook comment by Sandra Guynn, who opined:

So who at the GFDA knows what they are talking about? According to an article in the Jan 28 print edition of the Great Falls Tribune, the chairman of the GFDA board, Ted Lewis, was quoted as saying, ‘the year 2016 was one of the best years for the Great Falls economy in many years. We’re very excited about our prospects for 2017, including several that haven’t been announced yet.’

So, which is it? Are we doing well, or aren’t we? And if the GFDA wants to push a mill levy, shouldn’t they develop some sort of coherent narrative explaining to the public why it’s a good idea? Should we vote to raise our taxes because we’re struggling and need the extra resources, or because we want to keep up the positive momentum?

We’re open to supporting this levy. But first, we’d like to know exactly why our community needs it.

3 COMMENTS

  1. There are lots of jobs available in Great Falls. You’ll need 3 of them to make ends meet though, for the most part, because almost all of them are low wage, part-time, no-benefit, service sector jobs.

    The good ol’ boys and girls who routinely congregate at commission chambers and currently run the show around here need to cut the bullshit and get real. We’re not stupid.

    We can do a lot better in Great Falls.

  2. With latest NW Energy RATE increase of 5.8 percent, where do taxpayers on FIXED incomes find more for the GFDA? Did GFDA ever petition the PSC or legislators to change the law that allows NW Energy to PASS their property pain on us NW Energy ‘Hostages”? Great Falls PS might also ‘slap’ us with another LEVY beyond the big school bonds being sold by DA Davidson now. Finally as I’ve noted, Brad Livingston – at city commission last year – noted the hundreds of unfilled jobs in Great Falls, so where lies the Truth between the Chamber, GFDA, KRTV and the Tribune?

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