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Residents of Montana, Wyoming and especially North Dakota have nothing to complain about when they pay their federal taxes.

According to the latest U.S. Census figures analyzed by the Tax Foundation, last year Montanans received $1.59 back in federal expenditures for every buck they sent to Washington, D.C.

That is up 15 cents from the 1990 census and puts Montana in 6th most favorable tax slot for states receiving more money than they pay in federal taxes.

Wyoming is in 23rd place, receiving $1.09 for every dollar sent East.

North Dakota is in 2nd place, receiving $1.86 back per tax dollar.

New Mexico took top pork honors among the states with $2.03 coming back. New Mexico also was in first place after the 1990 census.

Idaho ranked 17th, getting $1.30 back for every federal tax dollar paid.

South Dakota sits in 10th place out of the 50 states, receiving $1.46 back.

By the way, the District — which is a unique government invention and cannot be compared to the states — receives by far the most federal outlays: A whopping $6.59 back for every dollar sent to the U.S. Treasury.

At the opposite end of the scale, Connecticut has the worst spending-to-federal-tax ratio. Residents in that affluent state receive 62 cents for every dollar they pay to the feds.

Still, knowing that your state is a net beneficiary of the federal tax system doesn’t help put that tax dollar back in the family’s wallet.Poly Food Basket reopensThe All-American dream of owning your own business struck Les Wipperman and his wife, Terra Pierce, hard enough they bought a neighborhood grocery store.

Wipperman worked for one of the country’s largest grocery chains, Albertson’s, for 17 years and last managed the new Albertson’s store at 24th Street West and Central Avenue.

The couple bought Poly Food Basket IGA from Kent DeBeau on June 1 and reopened the business June 29. Wipperman said his wife managed her father’s business, The Lions Den casino in West Park Plaza, for 12 years and also worked as sales manager for Cat Country.

“She’s very good financially and I have the grocery store merchandising background, so we think we’ll be a good team,” he said.”

Plus, he added, his wife is from the hood.

“She grew up a few blocks from here, so she knows everybody in the neighborhood,” he said.

The Poly Food Basket, which first opened in the early 1960s, will be open seven days a week.

Wipperman and Pierce redecorated the store at 2648 Poly Drive with antiques, so it looks like a grocery store from years past.

“We look like we’re from the ’50s. It’s kind of neat,” Wipperman said.Old Navy docked for nowOld Navy, at 2800 King Ave. W., is staying anchored at its current location in the Marketplace development.

The clothing chain was going to be the anchor tenant in a much larger store in the mini-mall across King being built by Billings businessman Steve Corning.

However, the economic downturn even at Old Navy’s parent company, The Gap of San Francisco, axed the plan for now and the Billings store will stay put.

Corning’s’ Marketplace West complex will house Famous Footwear, Linens ‘n Things and Ross Dress For Less.

“I shortened up the Old Navy space and cut it in half and I have it 80 percent tentatively leased out, so we’ll be full,” Corning said. “Construction costs were less and smaller tenants generally pay higher rents, so this worked out fine.”Jan Falstad can be contacted at (406) 657-1306 or at