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Sen. Baucus: Montana Solutions for Montana Jobs

Over the past few weeks, I've been lucky enough to spend some time at home under the Big Sky, traveling our state and hearing from you.

Folks in Montana truly know the value of a day's work. We have a different way of doing business here, and Washington could learn a lot from Montana.

I am always impressed, but never surprised, at the common-sense feedback I get at home. This last trip, I heard one thing loud and clear: we need more good-paying jobs.

It's my job to keep up the fight in Washington to cut taxes and give businesses tools they need to create jobs, and that's exactly what I'll continue to do.

That's why I want to invite each and every Montanan to take part in a very special job forum right here in Montana. Participation is free and you can't afford to miss it.

On Sept. 13 and 14, I will be co-hosting the fifth Montana Economic Development Summit on the Montana Tech campus in Butte. The summit will bring business leaders from around the world to Butte to meet Montana businesses, which are the backbone of our state's economy.

The goal of the summit is to provide Montana businesses with the opportunities and tools they need to create good-paying jobs right here at home. Everything is on the table, solutions will come from you, and we'll all check our politics at the door.

More than 2,000 people and 160 companies attended our last Economic Development Summit two years ago. Among other successes, the 2007 Summit brought the General Electric center to Billings, which now employs approximately 150 Montanans and is looking to expand. And the summit resulted in a $28 million investment in the Bozeman bio-tech company LigoCyte, which now employs nearly 50 Montanans making around $50,000 per year.

In 2010, we'll do even better.

This year in the Senate, I worked to pass the HIRE Act, helping businesses invest in new jobs and putting folks to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. I also worked to pass a tax cut for first-time homebuyers to bolster Montana's construction and timber industries, which have been hit hardest by the recession. And we recently passed the Manufacturing Enhancement Act to support Montana workers, making Montana products, right here at home.

For months, I've been fighting to pass billions of dollars in tax cuts for families and small businesses, because the best way to jump start our economy is to let working Montanans keep more of their money.

I introduced the VETS Act to provide a tax cut for businesses that hire veterans.

No veteran returning home from service and looking for work should be greeted with an unemployment check instead of a job.

I'm working to pass the Small Businesses Jobs Bill to provide the certainty small businesses need to invest and hire new workers by cutting taxes, increasing access to capital, providing investment incentives and supporting entrepreneurship.

Keynote speakers at this year's Summit include Warren Buffett; Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer; GE Chairman/CEO, Jeff Immelt; media pioneer Barry Diller; and Steven Chu, secretary of energy and a Nobel laureate.

We're also bringing ambassadors from China, Chile, Ireland, New Zealand and Japan to tour Montana businesses and create new markets for trading top-quality Montana products. And we'll bring prominent leaders in the energy sector to connect with local businesses who are working to establish Montana as a leader in America's energy future.

I'm also proud that our own Butte, America, will be home to one of the world's most treasured art collections to kick off the summit. On loan from the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., the collection includes pieces from the collection of William Clark, the late Montana senator and copper baron.

Bringing these resources together in one place will create an environment for investment and innovation, and provide Montana businesses with tools to grow and hire more workers - because it's Montana businesses and workers that will drive our economy and make our state an economic leader in the 21st century.

Come and help us show the world all Montana has to offer. Together, we'll make our economy second to none by finding Montana solutions for Montana jobs.

Sen. Max Baucus is Montana's senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Finance Committee.

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