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Eye On Boise

Three on the line?

Idaho Commerce and Labor Director Roger Madsen said he’s already been in touch with three out-of-state companies interested in Idaho’s new corporate headquarters tax incentives, which Gov. Dirk Kempthorne signed into law Wednesday morning. “I have had personal contacts with three executives from major companies, and there’s more to come,” Madsen said.

The legislation, HB 306, provides an array of sales, income and property tax breaks to any company that creates 500 new high-paying jobs in Idaho and invests $50 million into new facilities in the state. “It was widely viewed as an aggressive effort by the state to try to keep Albertson’s here and to encourage them to grow in Idaho,” Kempthorne acknowledged as he signed the bill. “As I’ve said all along, I hope that’s the case.”

But, the governor said, “I wanted an incentive package that had much broader application, and that can be used by any Fortune 500 company.” He told Madsen, “I want to encourage you to get packed, because you’re going to be out recruiting. You now have a tremendous tool.”

Opponents of the bills contended Idaho would be better off investing in improving its education system than in business tax breaks, but the legislation passed overwhelmingly in both houses. House Speaker Bruce Newcomb said, “I think it’s important that we provide a good business environment, which this helps do, so that companies come here and companies stay here and we can provide a good future for our children.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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