Governor's Office Strategic Objectives
Montana's families deserve an unsurpassed quality of life -- better paying jobs, fair taxes, a 21st century education system and safe and healthy communities. We will add value to the State of Montana by utilizing our skills, and we resolve to be the best at producing, procuring, marketing and managing our state’s assets, services and finances.
To achieve this vision, we have outlined the following strategic objectives:
- STRENGTHEN OUR ECONOMY - Grow and diversify Montana’s economy in order to enhance the quality of life of Montana’s citizens.
- TAX REFORM - Continually improve Montana’s tax structure in order to make it competitive and simple, to protect Montana families from unfair and burdensome taxes and to ensure that revenues are sufficient to provide vital government services.
- EDUCATION - Partner with the education and business communities, and families, to address policy issues including the provision of stable, on-going revenue for education.
- RESPONSIBLE, ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNMENT - Further streamline and increase responsiveness of services delivered by government agencies and employees to the public while minimizing costs and maximizing effectiveness.
- SAFE, HEALTHY COMMUNITIES - Work with families, communities, providers and governmental agencies to promote policy changes that improve access to affordable healthcare and enhance the safety of Montanans through innovative ideas and programs.
1.STRENGTHEN OUR ECONOMY - Grow and diversify Montana’s economy in order to enhance the quality of life of Montana’s citizens.
Build, enhance and expand Montana’s agricultural industry and maximize returns:
- Encourage high value production, processing and marketing of commodities;
- Increase export opportunities and access new and emerging markets;
- Encourage and promote production and marketing for agriculture and allied industries;
- Work to increase the economic value of agriculture in Montana; and
- Promote value added agricultural products in Montana.
Build upon and strengthen Montana’s market position as a travel destination (business and recreation) for national and international visitors:
- Expand and promote Montana as a travel destination;
- Maintain, enhance and promote Montana’s world-class natural, historic and cultural resources that support a wide variety of recreational opportunities;
- Support travel and film industries’ development goals as identified in Montana’s Tourism and Recreation Strategic Plan; and
- Improve Montana’s competitiveness as a world-class film and entertainment industry destination.
Support those businesses that responsibly develop Montana’s resource base while protecting the environment and our citizens and creating good-paying jobs:
- Commit to the continued management of our natural resources with environmentally sensitive practices to create and sustain high paying jobs;
- Develop coal bed natural gas and other resources in an environmentally sound manner; and
- Sustain a clean and healthful environment while enhancing economic development opportunities.
- Ensure environmental clean up sites, such as Libby, are returned to safe and economically viable communities
Increase the rate of public and private investment in innovative technology and industrial modernization utilized by Montana enterprises:
- Consolidate loan and incentive programs for small businesses under one umbrella to provide better access to Montana entrepreneurs;
- Evaluate and recommend government functions which could be more efficiently performed by the private sector; an
- Ensure Montana businesses have better access to competitive financial resources.
Encourage the development of new generation power facilities to meet energy demands and add value to our natural resource businesses:
- Support construction of new generation facilities with tax incentives on capital investment in Montana.
Ensure the availability of affordable and reliable energy for all residential and business customers:
- Focus on attainment of best possible rates for all customers;
- Maintain an active involvement in supporting energy conservation through programs such as; and
- Energize Montana.
- Executive Order for State Agency reduction in energy consumption and challenge to Montanans to reduce their energy consumption.
- Pursue improvements to transmission capacity (in Montana and the West) to support new generation efforts that add value to our natural resources and allow import and export of power.
Sustain and improve Montana’s infrastructure, including transportation and public works, to remove any physical obstacles to economic growth.
Expand economic development opportunities on Montana’s seven reservations in partnership with Tribal Governments and the Federal Government.
Continue to reform the Department of Commerce to strengthen and simplify economic development functions to ensure all economic development efforts provide a strong return on investment.
Use industry clusters (based on key regional industries) to assess viable, long-term economic opportunity and develop strategies to grow and/or attract existing and newly targeted business sectors.
Encourage continued development of Montana’s health care industry and creation of health care jobs and services.
Identify opportunities to expand low-income housing options and availability.
2. TAX REFORM – Continually improve Montana’s tax structure in order to make it competitive and simple, to protect Montana families from unfair and burdensome taxes and to ensure that revenues are sufficient to provide vital government services.
Reform Montana’s tax structure to make it competitive and simple:
- Work in partnership with business to address tax concerns that are barriers to responsible business creation and expansion;
- Propose legislation to reduce the income tax and capital gains tax burden on Montana small businesses and individuals.
- Correct the perception that Montana is the state with the highest individual income tax burden.
- Consider eliminating federal deductibility as a mechanism to reduce Montana’s capital gains burden, correct the perception problem and simplify income taxes by eliminating the need for tens of thousands of taxpayers to file a schedule for itemized deductions;
- Promote and facilitate access to existing tax incentives to ensure that they are available to businesses growing and locating in Montana;
- Monitor the effectiveness of existing tax incentives and provide recommendations to maximize the return on the state’s investment in these incentives; and
- Examine potential dependent care and health care insurance tax credit options.
Protect Montana’s families from unfair and burdensome taxes:
- Ensure the state’s 6-year reappraisal is implemented in a manner that is fair for all property owners; and
- Examine eliminating the filing requirement for Montanans with an annual income of $9,000 or less.
Ensure revenues are sufficient to provide vital government services:
- Enact a tourist tax targeted at non-residents to offset the income tax reduction required for economic development and to ensure non-residents pay an appropriate share of the tax burden;
- Work to ensure that all taxpayers pay what is required under the law; and
- Explore a voter-approved, local option tax that would give local communities the option to reduce property taxes or provide services the community believes to be important.
3. EDUCATION– Partner with the education and business communities, and families, to address policy issues including the provision of stable, on-going revenue for education.
Work with Montana citizens and constituent groups on all options available for reconfiguring the school funding formula:
- Determine a more effective approach to fund our state’s schools – both in terms of equity and stability; and
- Seek unique funding opportunities for K-16 education based on our state’s economic strengths and utilizing public/private partnerships.
Support enhancements to Montana’s education environment to ensure that all Montanans have access to high quality K-16 education:
- Utilize the Coal Tax Trust Fund or other identified funding sources, such as coal bed methane revenues, to secure additional revenue targeted to education initiatives;
- Make every effort to ensure stable and sustainable funding for our schools within available revenues;
- Create a stronger linkage between increases in state school trust land revenues and direct increases in school funding; and
- Work with education community to develop unified K-16 budget and priorities.
Expand efforts to attract, train and retain a committed education workforce:
- Explore opportunities for aggressive teacher recruiting strategies such as signing bonuses, loan forgiveness, and housing support.
Develop strong linkages between economic development and improved educational opportunities for Montana’s citizens and potential new residents:
- Utilize the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity to increase focus on education issues;
- Strengthen and expand vocation and technical curriculums;
- Provide an incentive for Montana job creators that are willing to invest in workforce training;
- Provide opportunities for business sponsorship of focused curricula at all levels (i.e., engineering co. sponsorship of focused engineering coursework.); and
- Encourage the Board of Regents to better link economic development and improved educational opportunities.
- Begin dialogue on transitioning to performance based budgeting for universities.
- Encourage active participation between the University System and the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity.
- Actively participate in Board of Regents policy discussions.
Provide our citizens with access to job opportunities and educational choices that allow them to advance their skills and improve their earnings in their regional labor markets:
- Provide an incentive for Montana job creators that are willing to invest in workforce training;
- Ensure Montana’s two-year colleges have the resources, governance structure and processes to anticipate and respond to the worker training needs of Montana businesses;
- Coordinate efforts of the State Workforce Investment Board with two-year colleges in preparing tomorrow’s workforce;
- Commit to a workforce planning initiative that predicts long-term personnel needs and make sure those needs are met;
- Facilitate coordination and collaboration between business and education communities to provide workforce-training programs that respond to changing business needs for skilled workers;
- Promote improvement of coordination at all levels of the One-Stop Workforce system; and
- Partner with education and business to develop relevant skill standards, training and curricula.
4. RESPONSIBLE, ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNMENT – Further streamline and increase responsiveness of services delivered by government agencies and employees to the public while minimizing costs and maximizing effectiveness.
Encourage environmental stewardship while providing a timely response from government entities regarding licensing and permitting processes, recognizing that development of natural resources and a clean environment are not mutually exclusive:
- Streamline permitting processes and assist businesses with regulatory compliance; and
- Ensure that environmental standards are upheld and management practices and reclamation are based on sound science.
Maintain a structurally balanced budget:
- Provide necessary services to the citizens of Montana by maximizing resources and minimizing spending;
- Work with Montana’s Congressional Delegation and federal agencies to maximize federal funding available to Montana; and
- Identify additional opportunities for reorganization of state government to streamline government functions, enhance effectiveness, eliminate programs that are no longer needed, and reduce costs.
Define and strengthen interaction between the Governor’s Office and the Cabinet to enhance mutual attainment of strategic goals:
- Incorporate strategic plan with scheduling process to maximize focus on attainment and communication on strategic initiatives; and
- Departments’ mission statements and goals will reflect the strategic objectives of this plan.
Enhance governmental/citizen interactions:
- Maintain and improve interactive communications through programs such as “Capital for a Day” to hear the concerns and ideas of Montanans;
- Provide regular reports to the public on goals and accomplishments;
- Recognize and encourage citizen volunteerism activities; and
- Encourage broad-based citizen involvement in advisory councils and boards.
Build and expand relationships between the State and Tribal Governments:
- Encourage and enhance communications between state programs and tribal governments;
- Work with Native American Veterans through visits from Montana’s Department of Military Affairs to assist in obtaining entitlements and benefits.
- Continue to develop and encourage advisory councils within departments to work with tribal governments.
- Work with tribal economic development commission to strengthen economic opportunities on Reservations;
- Travel to Montana’s Reservations and meet with tribal leaders; and
- Encourage Native American representation on advisory councils and boards.
Increase government efficiency through the use of appropriate technology and maximize return on taxpayer dollars spent on information technology:
- Maximize the amount of government information available online and used to complete business transactions electronically (e.g., regulatory and permitting); and
- Develop and implement a strategic statewide information technology plan.
5. SAFE,HEALTHY COMMUNITIES – Work with families, communities, providers and governmental agencies to promote policy changes that improve access to affordable healthcare and enhance the safety of Montanans through innovative ideas and programs
Strive for access to affordable, quality health care for all Montanans:
- Consult with health care industry, legislature, and other interested parties, to address health care issues;
- Proactively address substance abuse issues and support health promotion strategies;
- Strengthen DUI laws.
- Strengthen methamphetamine laws.
- Promote innovative and effective prevention programs addressing youth substance abuse (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, drugs).
- Improve access to treatment programs.
- Seek new options to provide health care insurance coverage for Montana’s children;
- Address the health workforce shortage issue, both rural and urban, that faces Montana and determine viable solutions/interventions; and
- Examine health care expenditures spent by state government to obtain the most effective utilization of resources.
Support public and private programs that promote public health and safety for Montana’s most vulnerable citizens and help Montanans move out of poverty.
- Finalize the Montana Homeland Security strategic plan;
- Work with city, tribal and county law enforcement, fire, EMS, health and emergency management personnel to ensure proper training, equipment and communications are in place;
- Work with Montana Homeland Security Task Force to maximize security of Montana’s citizens;
- Ensure accurate and timely public information distribution through established networks for disaster response;
- Ensure seamless access to critical government services in the event of a disaster by developing and implementing a continuity of government plan; and
- Work with Canadian Provinces, Western Governor’s Association, the White House, other federal entities and other border states to identify, define and pursue responsive levels of security along Montana’s northern border.
Implement constructive policy changes to stabilize correctional population and reduce recidivism.