At last weeks Great Falls city commission meeting we voted unanimously to approve a tax abatement, worth about $2.8 million over 10 years, for the Calumet refinery here.
The abatement is an incentive for Calumet’s bio-fuel expansion project which is creating more high-paying jobs in Great Falls, is environmentally friendly, and will help to boost our value added ag economy locally.
The general opinion of the commission and many of those who spoke in favor was that the decision will, in the longer term, pay back the value of the 10 year abatement, and then some, through jobs, rising property value assessments, and production output.
Calumet has been a good community partner and a major catalyst for economic stability and growth in Great Falls for a long-time.
Approving the abatement was a no-brainer in my opinion and I make no apologies or second guesses for my ‘Aye’ vote.
Here’s the head-scratcher though – during the public hearing a local “progressive” leader objected to the tax abatement for Calumet on the grounds that his tax dollars shouldn’t be used for “handouts to for-profit organizations”.
I didn’t get the memo that the word ‘handout’ had been redefined, but apparently it now means something like the following:
Every day the bully takes your $2 lunch money.
Today he only took $1.
You just got a $1 ‘handout’.
Great Falls is poised for some really great changes and some positive growth and opportunities. We need to make sure we continue to send the message that we are open for business and ready to be aggressive in attracting and KEEPING private sector businesses here.
Because in the 21st Century our competition is every other mid-sized city in the state and region. And they are chomping at the bit.