Eye On Boise

Henderson to leave JFAC to focus on economic development legislation

Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls (Betsy Russell)
Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls (Betsy Russell)

Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, has decided to give up his coveted seat on the Legislature's Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee after five years to focus on economic development legislation in the coming session. "My background is economic development, it is business management," said Henderson, a fourth-term lawmaker. In JFAC this year, with revenue so short, Henderson said, the task will be "to do more of what we did in the last two years - keep crunching it smaller and smaller. We so badly need new revenue. I want to find ways to help our existing industries - help them expand into the domestic markets, help them expand into new markets, so they can retain their present workforce and hopefully expand it, so we can get more money into the local economies."

Henderson isn't thinking tax incentives. "I can't think of any tax incentives that are needed," he said. "But I think there are ways the resources of the Commerce Department can be used more intensely." He offered an example: A firm moved to Post Falls that manufactures a special type of ultraviolet light that's used in industry to dry paint very quickly, in order to speed production processes. He stopped in to ask them about the market for their product. The answer: "They have a huge market in the Far East, but they don't have a good way to access it." Henderson put the firm in touch with the international division at the state Commerce Department. "And within five weeks, they were shipping product to Taiwan," he said. If Commerce were out contacting Idaho businesses, it could get those same results across the state, Henderson said. "I just think they can be more aggressive."

Henderson said he'd like to stay on the House Business Committee, and would like to move from the local government committee to the transportation committee, since he's handled the transportation budget on JFAC for the past five years. He'd also like to be on the House State Affairs Committee. But, he said, "I don't care where they put me - I'm still going to do economic development."

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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