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Pull Together To Land Micron

Wed., Jan. 4, 1995

Kootenai County - with Spokane County’s help - should do everything legally possible to land a proposed $1.3 billion Micron Technology Inc. plant.

If that means offering controversial tax-increment financing to the Boise computer-chip maker, so be it.

If that means standing on our heads, let’s do it.

Micron’s proposed expansion offers a bonanza to the lucky community that wins this sweepstakes: up to 4,500 high-paying jobs, millions in property-tax dollars and a beacon for more high-tech development.

Those who see a dark lining in this silver cloud can’t be wiser than the nearly 300 communities worldwide competing to attract this plant.

This project is so appealing that half the applicants came from outside the West, including 40 from Europe and the Far East - though Micron officials specifically said they wouldn’t look beyond the western United States.

It was so appealing, in fact, that cities, counties and foreign sites offered incentives such as free land, free infrastructure improvements for the site, interest-free loans or grants and free worker training. Twin Falls, which like Kootenai County is one of 13 finalists, is willing to spend $20 million to prepare a 200-acre site for Micron.

Anyone worried that the Micron project will swamp Kootenai County is missing the bigger picture.

Kootenai County isn’t in this alone.

The project’s impact would be shared with Spokane County, which serves as home and provides services and schools for more than half the workers at the new Harpers furniture-manufacturing plant at Post Falls.

A Micron plant would provide good jobs for the many talented underemployed engineers, technicians and business majors who have moved here to enjoy our lifestyle as well as for the graduates of the region’s engineering schools.

The balance sheet tilts heavily in Micron’s favor.

But this isn’t a one-sided affair.

The Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area has much to offer Micron: a stable work force, low infrastructure costs, high quality of life and colleges equipped to train electronics workers.

We’ll learn next month if this is a match made in heaven. Some feel Micron was using its site search to win concessions from Boise and Ada County governments.

Until then, we should chase this sugarplum with all our might.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = D.F. Oliveria/For the editorial board

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