Montana News

Sep 16, 2013 11:06 AM by Marnee Banks

Montana Economic Development Summit underway in Butte

BUTTE - U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) says all he had to do was ask and several big hitters in the business world agreed to come to Montana for the 2013 Economic Development Summit in Butte.

"They want to see Montana, visit Montana. Many have been here before," Baucus said in an interview Monday morning.

The Summit kicked off at 8 a.m. at Montana Tech with Baucus delivering the opening remarks.

"This is not a just a simple trade show. This is not just a conga line of speakers," Baucus said before a crowd of nearly 3,000. "In order for this to work, we've got to bring our own ideas to the table and put a Montana twist on the advice our keynote speakers offer."

The keynote speakers include: Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, Boeing Chairman Jim McNerney, Delta CEO Richard Anderson, FedEx CEO Fred Smith, Huntsman Cancer Foundation Chair Jon Huntsman, Oracle President Safra Catz, Ford Motor Company President Alan Mullally, HP President Meg Whitman, and ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance.

Baucus said it's possible that some of the companies are participating in the Summit because they are interested in his work reforming the federal tax code, something that Baucus hopes to accomplish before he retires in 2014.

"We've already begun to compare some notes," Baucus said in an interview with Montana reporters.

"Fred Smith from FedEx is very interested in reforming the code because he believes quite strongly that over time he will be able to build more plants in the U.S.," Baucus explained. "FedEx and American companies effective [tax] rate is almost double of their major foreign competitors averaged out over a ten year period of time."

Baucus said while there won't be a lot of a time at the Summit to discuss specifics of reforming the code, he will be continuing to discuss these issues with these big businesses.

The Montana Television Network will have coverage online and on air on Monday and Tuesday as the event continues.

Follow #MTJobs on Twitter for updates from the event.

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