Washington state has simplified its tax law regarding out-of-state sellers. Substitute Senate Bill 5581 immediately removes the requirement for out-of-state businesses without a physical presence to collect and remit Washington sales tax if they make 200 or more transactions into Washington. Businesses will use $100,000 in sales to Washington as the primary threshold for collecting. On Jan. 1, 2020, the economic nexus threshold for B&O tax will match the retail sales tax threshold of $100,000. The threshold for retail sales tax and B&O tax will be calculated using all gross income, not just retail sales.


Gallatin County’s residential real estate market maintained consistent strength through February, seeing slight decreases in units sold and median sale prices compared to 2018, according to the Gallatin Association of Realtors (GAR). The number of new single-family listings fell from 141 in February 2018 to 131 last month, a 7.1 percent drop, and the number of pending sales dropped 4.7 percent from 129 to 123. Additionally, the median sales price decreased 3.4 percent, from $435,000 last February to $420,000 this February. The months supply of inventory decreased 12.9 percent, from 3.1 to 2.7. The median sale price in the condo/townhouse market remained nearly static, dropping from $296,513 in February 2018 to $295,000 last month, 0.5 percent decrease. The number of pending sales jumped 23.8 percent, from 63 to 78.


The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Mont., is building a large new exhibit about rivers and wetlands of the Yellowstone area, thanks in part to a recent $250,000 grant from the Vancouver, WA-based M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. The exhibit will house dozens of native species including river otters, trout, toads, frogs, snakes, birds, and plants.


Lucky’s Market, a  natural foods grocer, announced that residents near Jackson Hole, WY and Missoula, MT will now have delivery service from Lucky’s. The Lucky’s Market Delivers program first launched in November of 2018 in other markets including Billings.


More than 100 North Dakota oil wells are threatened by potential flooding and 37 are shut in because of flood waters from the Yellowstone River. Operators including Whiting Petroleum and Continental Resources have taken precautions to mitigate any damage to the well sites that are shut in and surrounded by flood waters.  (Oil Patch Hotline)


ONEOK, headquartered in Tulsa, OK, with operations in 18 states, including Montana, is one of the largest energy midstream service providers in the U.S. ONEOK employs more than 2,600 people companywide and approximately 450 in Montana and North Dakota combined. ONEOK has been active in not only employing locals, but in donating to Sidney and the surrounding area’s causes and businesses. In 2018, ONEOK received the 2018 Horizon Award from the Chamber of Commerce in Sidney, Montana. The award recognizes businesses breaking new ground and moving forward. ONEOK has planned approximately $6 billion worth of capital-growth projects companywide, including the Elk Creek Pipeline, as well as the Demicks Lake I and Demicks Lake II natural gas processing plants in the Williston Basin.


The Buffalo Bill Center of the West will open a special exhibition on June 7. Whoop It Up! Celebrating 100 Years of the Cody Stampede tells the story of the Cody Stampede, a highly successful, multi-day rodeo event held every year since 1919, except during the years of World War II. The exhibition features vintage photographs, artwork, artifacts, and film footage—along with some surprises. It interprets the Stampede in the context of its precursor, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, with its heroic portrayal of the American cowboy taming wild broncs. Whoop It Up! connects as well to the diverse cast of lady riders, cowgirls, trick riders and ropers, and bold equestrianism that made the Wild West a template for western rodeos throughout America


The Helena Business Improvement District is taking applications from downtown area businesses for a Façade Improvement Grant. The grant program promotes the improvement of commercial and multi-use properties in the Business Improvement District by helping property owners upgrade, rehabilitate, and preserve the facades of eligible structures in Historic Downtown Helena. The FIG program provides matching grant funds up to $5,000.


Marathon Oil Corp. saw well costs drop to $5 million in the third quarter of 2018 as it brought 27 new wells online in the Williston Basin, increasing year over year production by 40% to 94,000 BOEPD. With exploration focused primarily in the Myrmidon area , the average 30-day initial production rate was 3,335 BOEPD (76% oil). (Oil Patch Hotline)


A recent report by the Walton Family Foundation ranks Bozeman, Montana as one of the top micropolitan areas in the United States. Bozeman solidified its number five spot on a list of 531 because of its world-class access to outdoor recreation, tourism opportunities, and high-tech industry growth.


The 2017 Gallup “State of the American Workplace” revealed that 43% of the U.S. labor force worked remotely the prior year, defined as employees who spent at least part of their time working from a different location than their coworkers. More than 80 percent of those surveyed are working remotely either full-time or nearly full-time, that is especially true in Montana. The Montana High Tech Business Alliance says Montana has the fourth-highest per-capita ratio of remote workers in the country, propelled by a number of economic, technological and social factors: high-speed internet connectivity and technological advancements opening up more opportunities, more workers emphasizing quality of lifestyle and flexibility of schedule, and more employers willing to incorporate remote employees, not to mention a burgeoning tech industry led by a string of successful startups.


Increased pipeline crude oil shipments from the North Dakota Bakken are one of the contributing factors for the $360 million expansion of the port and channel at Corpus Christi, TX for larger tanker ships exporting overseas. When completed in 2021, the port will be able to load more than 2 million barrels at a time. (Oil Patch Hotline)


The Montana Registered Apprenticeship Program will award over $150,000 in grants to assist businesses and educators in creating new apprenticeship programs across the state. A total of $151,530 will be awarded to employers, industry associations, colleges, or other workforce groups. Existing employer sponsors seeking to add a new occupation to their program will also be eligible. The maximum award is $4,500 and will be awarded on a first come first serve basis until the funds are exhausted. Funds can be used to offset some of the initial program costs incurred by sponsors such as tuition for related instruction or the purchase of new training materials.


Flathead County is reporting once more a very tight job market going into the spring construction season. The Job Service Kalispell will hold a job fair on April 25 at the Gateway Community Center. The agency says that they have almost 700 jobs listed within the county. They report that they expect the state  to add 3,860 each year until 2027, while the labor force is expected to grow by 3,640 workers each year. Northwest Montana alone is projected to add 1,380 jobs each year until 2027, increasing at an annual growth rate of 0.9 percent. The only other region in the state expected to grow faster is the southwest corner — the area including and around Gallatin County — which is expected to add 1,425 jobs a year and grow annually at 0.9 percent. The rest of the state should add jobs as well, but none of the other regions break 1,000 jobs per year.


With total third quarter 2018 production up 14% to 186,934 BOPD, Continental Resources will spend $1.063 billion this year in the Bakken, as it plans completing 166 gross wells while running six drilling rigs. The company estimates it will be able to reduce its debt this year by $5 billion, based on free cash flow ranging between $500 million and $600 million. (Oil Patch Hotline)


The University of Montana’s Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana has announced its 2022 class of incoming residents, of 10 family physician residents. The program will begin in July.


An upscale boutique hotel company has signed onto the Armory hotel project in Bozeman.  Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants will own and operate the hotel on Mendenhall Street. The hotel, under the name Etha, is under construction in the old National Armory Building. It will feature a restaurant and a bar with music and live entertainment as well as 8,000 square feet of meeting and event space. There will also be a concert hall designed to attract top musical acts and a rooftop pool and bar.


A new medical practice is coming to Bozeman, using a membership-based program. Bozeman Primary Care will open in the Ferguson Farm development on April 1, using a direct primary care model. The model gives members unlimited office visits and access to providers via text, email and phone. Members can also access primary and preventative care without having insurance, as the program is designed for people who have no insurance or a high-deductible plan, said Dr. Terry Edwards. The practice will accept all private insurance as well, he said.


Palladium and rhodium prices have risen by more than 150 percent and 300 percent respectively since Sibanye-Stillwater purchased Stillwater Mine. In 2018, nearly 590,000 ounces of PGMs (platinum group metals) were mined. In 2018 at the smelter, nearly 680,000 ounces of PGMs were recycled and nearly 1.3 million ounces of PGMs were processed, Sibanye-Stillwater is now the largest platinum producing company in the world and the second largest palladium producer.