Montana and Idaho are getting some very good economic development news.
The Montana & Idaho Community Development Corporation (MICDC), a nonprofit headquartered in Missoula, was awarded $90 million in New Markets Tax Credits by the U.S. Treasury Department.
That type of tax credit has been used to help finance several major projects in western Montana over the years, including the six-story Garlington, Lohn and Robinson law office building downtown and the new Poverello Center homeless shelter – two projects that equate to roughly $20 million in investment in Missoula alone.
“I can’t overstate how excited and honestly blown away we were with the size and amount of the award,” said MICDC President Dave Glaser. “The amount of good we can do in rural communities is exhilarating.”
It is by far the largest award the MICDC has ever received. The MICDC is one of only four organizations to receive that much during this round of allocations, and the only one not working on a national level.
“The previous largest award was $65 million,” Glaser said. “And the other three organizations that got $90 million serve all 50 states. We serve two states. We worked really hard on our application.
“And personally, the reason why I think we were so successful is we work so hard to find great projects. We are out in the field a lot, and we put in a lot of dashboard time in both states,” he said.
It is the seventh award MICDC has received since 2008, bringing its cumulative total to $430 million. The nonprofit works with investors to turn the tax credits into cash that can be used to finance business startups and expansions. The organization also uses the tax credits to finance community facilities that serve low-income people. The new Missoula Food Bank, for example, will utilize New Markets Tax Credits.
Since 2009, MICDC has provided $322 million in tax credits to fund 26 projects in Montana and Idaho, including the Great Falls Rescue Mission’s new Cameron Family Center, the Copper King Hotel in Butte, Universal Athletic Service headquarters in Bozeman, a tribal government building on the Fort Peck Reservation in Poplar, Red Lion Inn & Suites in Polson and other projects in Havre, Dillon and other small communities in Montana. They have also helped finance several major projects in rural communities in Idaho.
The application process was highly competitive; 238 organizations requested $17.6 billion. However, there was only $7 billion to go around and it was distributed to just 120 organizations.