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Otter signs ‘Opportunity Fund’ bill, Commerce says there’s ‘whole pipeline’ of projects

Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, speaks at the signing of the
Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, speaks at the signing of the "Idaho Opportunity Fund" legislation on Thursday; at left is Gov. Butch Otter, and at right are Sens. John Tippets and John Goedde (Betsy Russell)

Gov. Butch Otter held a bill-signing ceremony this morning for HB 100, establishing a $3 million “Idaho Opportunity Fund” in the state Department of Commerce to help the state convince existing and new businesses to create jobs in Idaho, by awarding grants to communities to support public infrastructure needs specifically tied to new jobs. “Obviously our first priority is to keep those folks that are in Idaho in Idaho, and if they need to expand we want ‘em to stay right here and expand, and if we can attract some new businesses with a little bit of help and a little bit of opportunity, that’s exactly what the Idaho Opportunity Fund is all about,” Otter said.

Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, chairman of the House Business Committee, said, “HB 100 is uniquely structured. … It does it on the basis of performance that’s actually achieved. Resources are made available on the basis of jobs that have actually been created. It’s unique, it is aggressive, and it is a new tool, and we look forward to putting it to work.”

State Commerce Director Jeff Sayer said he has “a whole pipeline” of projects that could be eligible for the funds. “In fact, our pipeline right now … exceeds 2,000 jobs and exceeds $400 million in capital investment for the state, so this will be one of the resources,” he said. “The fun part is that some of those are expansion projects.”

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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