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Posts tagged: idaho

Survey finds Idaho best place for starting a business; Washington 43rd

According to one business website, Idaho ranks as the No. 1 state for starting and running a small business. 

The survey came from, in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation. The survey determined that small  businesses ranked Idaho first in the nation for overall small business friendliness - earning the state an 'A+' overall and edging out Texas for the top spot.

Washington state scored a C-, based on survey results. 

Idaho earned the top ranking despite the survey ranking Idaho as the 6th-worst state for the cost of hiring a new employee.  

The Thumbtack survey said its findings are derived from small business owners themselves. Its press release said: “The Small Business Survey is the only survey to draw data from an extensive, nationwide universe of job creators and entrepreneurs themselves in order to investigate the best places in the country to do business.
“After a two-month survey of over 6,000 small business owners nationwide, Idaho comes out on top as the most friendly place for small business,” said Sander Daniels, co-founder of “For small businesses looking for a place to hang a shingle or to plant a flag, they can't do much better than Idaho.”
The Washington results in the Thumbtack survey show a state ranking 43rd overal in economic vitality for small business, the survey showed. 
To review the findings, go to the summary page here:

Wasden recovers a record $8 million for Idahoans

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden today released his annual Consumer Protection report for 2011. His office recovered a record $8 million in consumer restitution last year.

In addition, the Consumer Protection Division recovered $2.5 million in penalties, fees and costs; received more than $24 million from a tobacco settlement; and returned $1.5 million in unspent consumer protection money to the general fund.

“Our most significant work in 2011 was in two areas: mortgage foreclosure and pharmaceutical pricing,” Wasden said in a news release.

Wasden said mortgage-related complaints decreased more than 120 percent last year. His office received 116 mortgage complaints for the year, down from 261 in 2010. Still, the mortgage category remained at number one on the Attorney General’s top 10 consumer complaint list, in a tie with motor vehicles.

“This may be due to improvements in the federal Making Home Affordable Program, greater public awareness of mortgage modification options, a decrease in foreclosure filings during 2011, and the proactive steps that we have taken in the Attorney General’s Office,” Wasden said.

Idaho wage gap widens between men and women

BOISE — The gap between how much men and women earn in the Gem State widened in 2010.

The Idaho Statesman reports the salary disparity between men and women increased by 2.2 percent during the previous year, according to data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The survey showed the full-time wages of Idaho women were 77.6 percent of what men earned.

Idaho was ranked 36 among states for the ratio of salaries between the sexes.

State lawmakers previously passed a resolution to bring attention to the disparity and established Equal Pay Day on April 28. The date is recognized nationwide to mark how far the average woman would have to work into the year to catch up to what the average man earned in the previous year.

Judge orders Idaho to increase some Medicaid rates

BOISE — A federal judge has ordered Idaho to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for businesses that provide residential care to developmentally disabled residents. The ruling could cost the state $4 million.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill made the ruling Monday. The decision came after five residential habilitation companies sued the state in 2009, contending the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare was using reimbursement rates calculated in 2006, even though the department’s own subsequent studies showed that the cost of providing services had increased considerably.

According to the lawsuit, the 2006 daily rate for one type of service was $268 — compared to the daily rate of $496 suggested by the department’s study. But lawmakers failed to give the department funding for the increase.

Slight drop in Idaho joblessness

Employers across Idaho’s economy maintained payrolls at higher levels than typical for October, pushing Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate down another two-tenths of a point to 8.8 percent, the lowest level in nearly two years.

It was the second straight month that Idaho’s jobless rate has been below the national rate, which fell just a tenth of a point to 9 percent. Unemployment in Idaho has declined six-tenths of a percentage point in the last three months and eight-tenths from the record 9.7 percent in December through March.

The number of workers with jobs rose 2,300 from September to 692,700. It was the second largest one-month employment increase since November 2006. The largest was 3,200 in April during an economic growth spurt that sputtered as summer arrived.

Kootenai County, which has had unemployment in double digits for more than a year, posted substantial declines to fall below 11 percent in October.

Simplot closing plants in Nampa and Aberdeen, Idaho; at least 600 jobs to go

Economic news out of southern Idaho: The Simplot Company plans to lay off at least 800 workers at its food processing plants, and the number could be larger depending on other options the company may follow.

The source here is a story today at the Idaho Statesman. 

The nut is: Simplot plans to shut down aging plants in Nampa and Aberdeen, and build a new, more modern plant in Caldwell to replace the plant there. The three plants produce potato nuggets, hash browns and french fries sold to restaurants and through distributors around the world.

“We struggled with this very difficult decision, and we know the closures will have an impact on many of our employees and their families,” CEO Bill Whitacre said.


Read more:

Speaking of patents, Idaho remains the spud state

One of our items below looks at general trends in Washington and in Spokane County for the number of patents issued to companies or inventors.

At the time, we didn't have the comparable numbers for Idaho.

Here they are: in 2005 the U.S. Patent Office issued 1,529 patents to businesses or inventors based in Idaho.

By 2010 that number had fallen sharply; the Patent Office said 1,095 patents were issued in that year. That was at least a bump upward, from 941 awarded in 2009.

Silverwood looking to hire 1,200 seasonal workers

Silverwood Theme Park will hold job fairs over the next two Saturdays to find 1,200 seasonal employees to staff the park from May to October.

Job fairs will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and March 26 in Silverwood's Theatre of Illusion, in Athol.

The North Idaho theme park is offering employment to everyone from high school students to senior citizens for jobs including ride operators, housekeepers, retail positions and food and beverage workers.

Wages depend on experience and position, but range from the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to $12 an hour, said Nancy DiGiammarco, marketing, sales and public relations director.

The park is open for six months, starting May 7 with weekend operations. Staring on Memorial Day the park is open seven days a week until Labor Day.

Workers who stay for the whole season are eligible for bonuses of 50 cents an hour in July and again in August, DiGiammarco said..

Hauser’s Chef in the Forest within two weeks or reopening after fire

An electrical fire one year ago destroyed Hauser’s Chef in the Forest Restaurant. It’s taken nearly 12 months to put the pieces back together.

Owners Debbie Mustered and her mother, Jo Davis, say their intimate and rustic-feeling dining location will reopen soon, depending on when they get an occupancy permit.
“We’re hoping by Dec. 22,” said Mustered.

Fans of the restaurant will see the same building, friendly service and menu. “The big changes are inside,” said Mustered. The rearrangement of walls and the bathroom opens the seating area and provides more natural light. Plus the restaurant has added a gas fireplace to cheer the place up.  Photo above is by staff photographer Kathy Plonka.

“We’ve used lighter wood, and with the windows, the whole place feels brighter,” she added.
Mustered and Davis are the fourth set of Chef owners. The restaurant, at 12008 North Woodland Beach Dr., opened in 1977. For more, read the rest of the post below:

Panhandle Health District director to retire

Jeanne Bock, who has directed the Panhandle Health District since 2001, will retire this fall after 24 years of public health service in Idaho’s five northern counties.

The Board of Health accepted her retirement notice Thursday and plans to hire her successor by August.

Bock led the health district during a time in which it helped end a decades-old practice of residents discharging household waste directly into Shoshone County’s Canyon Creek. That achievement resulted from from a collaborative effort involving the health district, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Shoshone County commissioners and Burke Canyon residents, a health district news release said.


Fair housing training offered in Coeur d’Alene, Sandpoint

Two free fair housing trainings will be offered in April in Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint.

The trainings, sponsored by the Disability Action Center-NW, Intermountain Fair Housing Council and the city of Coeur d’Alene, will cover fair housing basics, disability rights and responsibilities, reasonable accommodations and legal issues.

The Sandpoint training will be held April 8 from 9 a.m. to noon at the East Bonner County Library District, 1407 W. Cedar Street. The Coeur d’Alene training will be held April 9 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Coeur d’Alene Library’s community room, 702 E. Front Ave.


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Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on and its social networking accounts.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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