Big Sky Economic Development News

Tax Abatement Program Attracts New Business

Mar 21, 2018

Five and 10-Year Tax Abatement Programs attract new business as well as grow existing businesses within Yellowstone County and the City of Billings. In 1988, the State of Montana statutorily provided local governments with the authority to implement tax abatement programs. Since that time, Yellowstone County and the City of Billings have extended this discretionary tool as an incentive for existing business and to recruit new business to the community. This abatement program allows a business to increase their bottom line, which in turn will incentivize growth in the economy of Yellowstone County – through good paying jobs, increased services, and contributing to the overall economic health of the economy.

Capital improvement projects are factored into both corporate and small business decisions. This program is a tool to promote and invest in business within Yellowstone County and Billings. Tax relief is received only on the incremental increase in taxable valuation. Among the 29 abatements currently recorded since 2006, over $599M has been injected into the local economy through capital improvement projects. Today, the cumulative impact of businesses that have received a tax abatement represents a projected $7.9 billion economic impact (directly and indirectly) to the city of Billings and the Yellowstone County economy.

Billings Flying Service (BFS), a locally owned family business for over three decades, recently was the recipient of a 10-year tax abatement. The expansion and construction of the new facility allowed BFS to increase their workforce by nearly 20 FTEs! The Blains say, “There is a reason ‘Billings’ is painted on the side our helicopters. Billings is our home. The tax abatement process helped ensure that our operations center would stay here, and the tax savings helped our company attract top talent to make Billings their home as well. We are forever grateful for the community/business partnership championed by so many in Yellowstone County.”

There is competition for these improvement projects because of the positive economic impact, workforce growth, and diverse services. As a state of Montana implemented program, there are multiple eligibility requirements that must be met to be considered by the board of County Commissioners and/or Billings City Council. For more information about how to grow your business through a possible tax abatement, please contact:

Patrick Klugman
klugman@bigskyeda.org
(406) 869-8418