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HELENA - Legislative leaders and other officeholders will be among the speakers Thursday at the 87th annual meeting of the Montana Taxpayers Association.

The meeting, which begins at noon with registration starting at 11:30 a.m., is at the Red Lion Colonial Hotel in Helena, followed by a reception. The cost is $50 a person for members of the private business lobbying group and $60 apiece for nonmembers.

"This year's meeting should be of interest to all Montana taxpayers," said association President Mary Whittinghill. "Topics such as the national financial crisis and the outlook for Montana's economy and financial status are all on the agenda."

Speaking at lunch will be Myles Watts, a professor of agricultural economics at Montana State University, who will give his perspective on the current financial crisis and what can be expected.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Jim Peterson, R-Buffalo, and Doug Young, also an MSU economics professor, will discuss findings of a research project that looks at Montana in 2030 and how changing demographics will affect revenues and expenses.

A panel will discuss Montana's finances, economy and budget. Featured are Patrick Barkey, director of the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research; Terry Johnson, principal fiscal analyst for revenue for the Legislative Fiscal Division; and David Ewer, budget director for Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Denise Juneau, recently elected to be Montana's next superintendent of public instruction, will talk about her vision for Montana's education system.

Four members of the newly elected legislative leadership will give their perspectives on the upcoming legislative session. The press release didn't say which leaders would participate.

To register, call the association at 406-442-2130 or go to www.montax.org. Continuing-education credits are available for some professions.

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