Best of the West: Western states have friendliest business tax climates; Outdoor recreation brings billions; Surprising artifacts spew from Yellowstone geyser

The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting Oct. 1, 2018, that you don't want to miss. Image: Portland, Oregon

An index ranking states by their business tax climate has found that Wyoming, Alaska and South Dakota have the strongest business-related tax policies.

The Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index also included Montana, Oregon, Nevada and Utah in the top ten. A common trait among top states is the absence of certain types of taxes, such as corporate or individual income tax or sales tax, according to Route Fifty, a digital news publication from Atlantic Media’s Government Executive Media Group.

Denver, Colorado and Portland, Oregon are also receiving accolades for their business climates. Both were named to Forbes’ list of The Top 10 Rising Cities for Startups. “Denver is on the rise because they are keeping homegrown talent and becoming a magnet from other places for people who want to live there, partly for lifestyle reasons but also for opportunity reasons,” said investor Steve Case.

Wildfire’s Impact on Water: Waterways are susceptible to pollution from toxic runoff after wildfires. Without trees and vegetation to prevent erosion, sediment and debris can cause destruction and leach chemicals into the water supply.  Learn how wildfire activity threatens aquatic systems, and how experts are confronting the challenge in Colorado and elsewhere.

Outdoor Rec Boosts the West: Wildlife-related recreation in the West generates more than $3 billion for the economy, according to a report by Southwick Associates. The study focused on visits to 246 million acres of land in the West and includes 12 state-by-state comparisons of the economic contributions of hunting, fishing and wildlife-watching on BLM lands.

Help Wanted: The overlap of wind farms and mountain climbers across the West has created a career opportunity for adventure seekers: wind turbine technicians. Workers with appropriate ropes and safety certifications can earn a steady salary by pairing their personal passion with jobs now in high-demand.

Extraordinary Eruption: An erupting geyser at Yellowstone National Park released some surprising objects tossed in by humans over the years. Coins, cans and a 1930s pacifier were among the items spewed out of Ear Spring in Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin. View a slideshow.

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