Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity- Governor Judy Martz- Interim Report – August 2002 Special Session of the 57th Montana State Legislature


The Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity and my position of Chief Business Officer were created by the 2001
legislature. During the course of last summer and fall, I, along with my team, was selected and immediately began
the task of developing a long-term strategy to restore Montana’s economy to better health. We also undertook the
task of developing proposals to make state government more responsive to Montana businesses right now, with their
immediate concerns and problems. Over the next four months, we will be completing not only our long-term strategic
plan but also an annual report and detailed operating plan that describe our accomplishments this year and our
detailed goals and actions for the coming year.

I would not suggest that it is a fortuitous or pleasant occasion that brings the legislature together this summer-difficult decisions will need to be made around our short-term fiscal situation. I do, however, welcome the opportunity
to share what the Office of Economic Opportunity has accomplished to date, and what our prospective priorities are.
That is the purpose of this report.

Our focus for this year is two-fold. First, we must continue to transition from reactive to proactive in the way we retain,
grow and attract businesses in this state. Second, we must continue to build the infrastructure that will make
Montana a more competitive and attractive place to conduct business. As a state, we must realize that no matter how
difficult the immediate fiscal conditions facing our state are, they will not persist forever. As 200 years of history have
shown, global and domestic economies will rebound with time. When that happens, if we have not taken the
necessary steps to change the fundamentals of our state.s economy, we will still be at or near the bottom in terms of
average wages.

We simply must change the fundamentals if we truly want improvement. But, with 450,000 workers in a $20 billion
economy, significant and enduring change will be difficult. How do we start affecting this change? As the famous
Greek mathematician Archimedes once remarked, .give me a lever long enough and I can move the world.. To be
effective we must clearly identify the key leverage points in our economy and begin to apply pressure for change. It
will take time and concentrated effort, but the experience of other economies clearly demonstrates that it is possible
to succeed if we can maintain our efforts.

After traveling more than 60,000 miles throughout the state in the last nine months, talking to more than 12,000
Montanans and studying the efforts of our 49 sister states (and some foreign countries) I am confident that we have
identified the key leverage points in our economy. We know where we need to focus our efforts in order to compete
and win in the global economy, but it will take a few more months to understand how best to affect some of the large
changes that are needed. In the meantime, we continue to work hard to improve the way we support business
retention, expansion and attraction efforts that are occurring in Montana now. We continue to establish stronger
relationships with the organizations and agencies that will be vital partners in our long-term efforts. And we have
already begun to implement changes that support our long term-strategy.

We will make Montana’s economy stronger. I appreciate the opportunity to share our major focus areas and our
accomplishments with you.

Dave Gibson

To view the full report please go to:

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