The new Idaho Chamber Alliance has adopted these issues as its legislative agenda this year: Supporting an expanded community college system, including lowering the supermajority to form a new community college district. Increasing high school graduation requirements in math and science. Supporting local-option taxation to fund public transit systems. Supporting reporting of retail sales by county or zip code. Supporting additional funding for science and technology, as recommended by a state advisory council. The new group also is watching health care, GARVEE bonding and expansion of nursing programs.
Alliance Executive Director Kent Just said after the group’s first big legislative confab today, “We’re extremely pleased with the turnout, we’re extremely pleased with the very warm reception our new alliance has received, not only from the governor but from legislators. They seem to have immediately grasped what we’re doing.”
Chamber members from all over the state hosted their local legislators at the alliance’s luncheon today, and afterward, lawmakers and business people mingled, with some talking legislation and a group from North Idaho sitting down for an impromptu discussion of transportation issues.
Jonathan Coe, head of the Coeur d’Alene Area Chamber and president of the new statewide alliance, said, “We represent over 9,000 Idaho businesses. They employ … literally hundreds of thousands of Idahoans.” The chambers, Coe said, “bring to the public dialogue a very important perspective, and we hope we can do a little better job of delivering it than in the past.”