The Chamber exists to support local businesses. How we do that is evolving rapidly. The world has changed and the Chamber will continue to be in front of change as well as reactive to unforeseen situations. Economic recovery may be a series of surges and declines that will follow the public health trend line. The health of the 8,200 businesses in Billings requires support in the form of financial resources, marketing, connectivity and clear, trustworthy and timely communication.
“Open and Safe” is only a start to recovery. To become nationally competitive for talent and entrepreneurship, Billings must be “Open for All.” In a recent membership poll, 72% of respondents stated Billings must do more to allow people of color, differing religions, races, and LGBTQ+ populations to feel welcome and safe. The path forward requires our community to do better by intentionally identifying this as a priority, seeking to listen, learn and improve, and embracing diversity and inclusion in all areas of work.
Public safety in a community (real and perceived) is an important determining factor of resident quality of life and relocation. It directly impacts consumer motivation in wanting to frequent business areas of high risk. There are many contributing factors and potential solutions to crime and safety including addressing mental health and addiction, law enforcement, incarceration, and environmental design. In addition, public safety funding remains an area of concern due to racial tensions and officer-involved shootings across the country.
In January 2021 the people we elect to set policy will meet in Helena to act on business, community and societal issues. Selecting business-friendly candidates to serve as elected leaders is the first step to developing business-friendly policies. Our comprehensive public policy agenda will address impacts to business post-COVID-19, taxation, public safety, needed community placemaking legislation, public private partnerships and more. Read the list of bills supported during the 2019 Legislative Session in the Billings Chamber Action List.