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Eye On Boise

Senate amends business incentive bill

The Senate has approved amendments to HB 546, state Commerce Director Jeff Sayer’s bill to provide refundable tax credits to businesses that create certain numbers of higher-paying new jobs. Aimed at resolving constitutional concerns raised in an Idaho Attorney General’s opinion, the amendments, proposed by Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, make very few changes to the bill: They just allow for appeals in court of decisions made under the bill; require the Department of Commerce to promulgate rules setting out criteria for which businesses should get how much and for how long; and require that the credits handed out be the lowest ones “that will incentivize creation of new jobs and state revenues.”

The Attorney General’s opinion raised questions about the original bill’s delegation of full discretion to the department and its Economic Advisory Council as to who should get how much in tax credits. Senators approved the amendment unanimously, and several complimented Rice, an attorney, on its crafting. He said Sayer and lobbyist Jeremy Pisca helped draft the amendment. The bill now needs Senate approval as amended, and then it has to go back to the House for approval there as amended, before lawmakers can send it to the governor’s desk. Earlier, before the amendments – and before the Attorney General’s opinion – it had easily passed both houses.

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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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