ECONOMY OF MONTANA

Montana's largest city and economic center, Billings
The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Montana's total state product in 2003 was $26 billion. Per capita personal income in 2003 was $25,406, 47th in the nation. However, this number is rapidly increasing. According to the Missoulian, the economy has grown rapidly since 2003; in 2005, Montana ranked 39th in the nation with an average per capita personal income of $29,387. The economy is primarily based on agriculture, and major crops include wheat, barley, sugar beets, oats, rye, seed potatoes, honey, cherries, and cattle and sheep ranching. Montana is also a relative hub of beer microbrewing, ranking third in the nation in number of craft breweries per capita. There are significant industries for lumber and mineral extraction; the state's resources include gold, coal, silver, talc, and vermiculite. Tourism is also important to the economy with millions of visitors a year to Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, the Missouri River headwaters, the site of the Battle of Little Bighorn and three of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park.

Montana's personal income tax contains 7 brackets, with rates ranging from 1% to 6.9%. Montana has no sales tax. In Montana, household goods are exempt from property taxes. However, property taxes are assessed on livestock, farm machinery, heavy equipment, automobiles, trucks, and business equipment. The amount of property tax owed is not determined solely by the property's value. The property's value is multiplied by a tax rate, set by the Montana Legislature, to determine its taxable value. The taxable value is then multiplied by the mill levy established by various taxing jurisdictions – city and county government, school districts and others.

Luciano Mende

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