CEO Report – 12/9/22

Shane EtzwilerCEO REPORT from Shane Etzwiler – President/CEO of Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Chamber – Opposition to a Proposed Rule change concerning Businesses and Independent Contractors

Your Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce signed on to a letter in opposition to the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed new regulation concerning the classification of an “independent contractor” or an “employee” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA). This new regulation would replace the regulation issued by the Trump administration, which was supported by the U.S. Chamber. This new regulation is heavily biased towards concluding that someone should be considered an employee. If an employer determines a worker should be classified as an independent contractor, the business/employer WILL NOT and CAN NOT be confident that their classification will be correct UNTIL the DOL approves it.

Your Great Falls Area Chamber firmly believes this would create hardships on many businesses in Great Falls and across our state that rely on independent contractors to help with various workforce needs including the flexibility to accommodate a business’ needs. The ability to utilize independent contractors is beneficial to both the business/employer and the person/entity who is an independent contractor.

What you can do:

Please click here to read sign-on comments that explain the problems with the proposed regulation which are broadly written without specific industry reference, and call for its withdrawal. If your organization wishes to be listed on these comments, please click here to sign your organization to the letter by TODAY – Friday, December 9, 2022 at 3:00 PM! 

Friday Christmas Stroll – Military Affairs Committee Co-commander event

If you did not attend the Downtown Christmas Stroll, you missed a great event! A good crowd showed up for the night, even with the chilly temperatures, and enjoyed a fun evening! Annie’s Tap House, a brand-new Chamber Member, used the event to celebrate their opening and was packed! In visiting with many businesses and vendors, they also had a great night for their business. We always appreciate our community for supporting and spending local.

Boeing Helena

Scott Wolff and I went to Helena to visit with Mark Fairbairn, Boeing Site Manager, and Ashley Deverniero, Strategy Leader, about our Central Montana Works! program and our Worlds of Work event. They are very interested in supporting CMW! as well as participating in next year’s Worlds of Work event. If you are interested in supporting the game changing effort in workforce development or would like to learn more about the great work we are doing along with our strategic plan, please contact Scott Wolff or me to set up a meeting!

Great Falls City Commission Meeting

I attended the Great Falls City Commission Work Session this week to learn more about the current budget status as well as listen to some of the proposals from the Police, Fire and Municipal Court areas on their needs as the city is looking at a Great Falls Public Safety Levy in order to provide the resources these departments need to keep our city safe and control crime. As we have discussed, one of the Chamber’s Strategic Community Initiatives is a Safer Great Falls so we are participating on the front end to learn about the various proposals and what they look like for our community. I appreciate the ‘good’, ‘better’, and ‘best’ strategy the departments took, analyzing their needs both for today and for the future of Great Falls!

The Chamber also spoke in favor of the new apartments being proposed at 2nd Ave North and 38th street. The 400+ unit apartment complex proposal by Silver Stone Enterprises is a big step to help alleviate the need for more affordable housing. We also spoke in favor of the city granting the Great Falls International Airport Tax Increment Financing dollars to continue to help with their development of light manufacturing buildings and facilities to help grow and develop Great Falls.

Montana Taxpayers Association – Helena

I attended the MT Taxpayers Association Annual meeting with Scott Anderson, our Board Chair to learn from both the Department of Revenue and the Legislative Finance Division about the upcoming Legislative Session and what they are seeing and forecasting for the state. We also heard directly from Governor Gianforte about his plan to help lower and decrease taxes for us as individuals, property owners, as well as businesses across the state. Of course, the Governor’s plan needs to make its way through the legislative process, but it is exciting to see some proposed tax relief coming our way!

I consider it a privilege to serve you.