Redefining ‘Handout’: Calumet Gets Tax Abatement

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.

Posted by Rick Tryon

Rick Tryon is an entrepreneur, a singer-songwriter, and is currently serving a four year term as a Great Falls City Commissioner. Helping Montana become an even greater place to live, play and work is Tryon's passion.

Reader interactions

One Reply to “Redefining ‘Handout’: Calumet Gets Tax Abatement”

  1. If the bio-fuel expansion project would replace the refinery smell with a more pleasing French fry smell then I am extremely supportive of this.

    If the smell of the refinery will not be switched to French fries, then I would agree with the progressive citizen who spoke out against this.

    BTW while both phrases are generally accepted now, the original phrase is actually “champing at the bit.”


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