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Eye On Boise

Commerce director says Idaho’s inflation-adjusted real GDP rose to $57B in 2013

Idaho Commerce Director Jeff Sayer started his budget pitch to lawmakers this morning by touting the achievement of Gov. Butch Otter’s “Project 60” goal, to raise Idaho’s GDP above $60 billion a year. He showed a chart showing it rising from $54 billion in 2009 to an estimated $64.7 billion in 2014. “We’re proud of it,” he said. “The bottom line is our little economy has passed that threshold that the governor had established as Project 60 a few years ago.” Then he acknowledged the big problem with those numbers: They’re not adjusted for inflation.

“We struggled last year with this chart,” Sayer told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. “There was a fair amount of criticism when we stepped forward and announced that we’d reached $60 million, because a lot of people felt like we should be using real GDP figures,” with adjustment for inflation. In those inflation-adjusted figures, Idaho’s real GDP was $56.3 billion in 2008. It fell to $54.1 billion in 2009, rose to $54.7 billion in 2010, and stayed flat at $54.8 billion for each of the next two years.

“Here is the good news,” Sayer told lawmakers. “We finally got 2013 numbers, and all of a sudden the numbers started to fit what we were hearing from businesses. … So we’re fairly excited about what we’ve come through and where we’re at.” He said, “We have a right to brag about this, because you made decisions back in 2008 and 2009 that weren’t easy.” The 2013 figures Sayer displayed show real GDP, adjusted for inflation, rising to $57 billion in 2013, above the $56.3 billion level from 2008.

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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