I am a local businessman and have operated a thriving business in Butte, for the past decade.
My business provides employment to greater than seven full-time, part-time and temporary employees from western Montana each and every year. It pays these employees what equates to approximately $25 an hour for their time and provides these individuals with a living and the ability to spend their earnings locally.
As a native Montanan, my business aims to help bolster the local economy. We purchase all of our required equipment, marketing and advertising materials, office supplies, general operation supplies, automobiles, insurance, banking service, groceries, professional services, fuel, etc. from other local businesses. We do our part to make positive contributions to the local economy and the profitability of the other businesses which we rely on.
Beyond employing locals and supporting local businesses, my business is responsible for generating in excess of $75,000 per year which is paid directly to the State of Montana. The local airport and airlines benefit to the tune of $30,000 annually (assuming a flight cost to BTM at $500). Local hotels benefit in excess of $15,000 in revenue as a result of my company’s mere existence. Not to mention supplemental income derived at restaurants, from rental cars and at local stores.
Is this business good for the state of Montana? Is this business good for the community of Butte?
This is the question being posed to Montana voters during this upcoming election. Initiative 161 on the ballot is a direct assault on the existence of this business and the livelihood of all who count on this business from employees to suppliers.
Initiative 161 effectively eliminates the outfitter sponsored guaranteed licenses ($1,250 per hunter) used by my company to attain customers and hence provide a living for myself, guides, cooks and suppliers. I-161 is not geared to provide better hunting and access. It is a direct assault on the greater than 300 outfitter businesses that exist to provide direct employment to thousands of Montanans and indirectly touch each local business in every community through out our state.
Can the Montana economy afford to lose another estimated minimum $150 million industry?
Can Montana sustain the loss of thousands more high paying jobs?
If your answer is no. Then vote no on I-161.
Mark J. Shutey
Stockton Outfitters, LLC