Idaho's economy is a dismal mess. With no real vision from our state leaders the economy has wandered aimlessly without any real diversification. With a paper thin high tech industry we are exposed to the whims of the global marketplace. Our colleges are slashed and the brain drain from Idaho is noticeable. Unemployment currently hovers around 10% (much worse in many counties).
We have an early 20th century economy backed by an early 20th century tax system. That is the recipe for the disaster that we are currently experiencing. Expect Idaho to be last out of recession because of the lack of vision from our current leaders.
In the vacuum left in the statehouse the Democrat's have stepped up and laid out a vision of prosperity and opportunity for Idaho backed by a plan to quickly create jobs. The Idaho Jobs and Opportunity Blueprint (IJOBs) consists of six pieces of legislation that aim to turn unemployment checks into paychecks.
The IJOBs plan includes:
* The Grow Green Idaho Jobs Act - Each year Idaho sends almost $3 billion out of state to purchase energy. That money and those jobs should stay in Idaho. The Grow Green Idaho Jobs Act recognizes the importance of the creation of jobs in the renewable energy sector by ensuring state and local units of government slash the red tape and prioritize permitting for renewable energy projects.
* The 2010 Idaho Jobs Council Act - Efforts must be focused on the critical issue of job creation and retention to realize our vision of a prosperous Idaho. The 2010 Idaho Jobs Council Act brings together state and private sector leaders to quickly focus their energies and create specific action items for creating high wage jobs with benefits in Idaho.
* The Idaho Home Grown Business and Jobs Act - Knowledge is power and small businesses in Idaho need the best information available to effectively compete against out-of-state companies. The Idaho Home Grown Business and Jobs Act benefits Idaho small businesses and expands job opportunities by directing the Departments of Commerce and Labor to provide useful market intelligence to Idaho small business. This information will allow Idaho small business to better compete in the marketplace and create jobs for Idahoans.
* The Idaho Small Business Venture Capital Investment Act - Access to capital is the lifeblood of small business. Because of the current credit crunch, many small businesses have had to delay their expansion plans. The Idaho Small Business Venture Capital Investment Act creates Idaho jobs by increasing access to capital for small business (less than 20 employees) by offering a transferable 50 percent tax credit on all earnings (other than interest) from venture capital investments in Idaho companies.
* The Small Business Incubator and Jobs Act - Business incubators provide small entrepreneurial businesses with affordable space, shared support, and business development services. This facilitates business success during the startup phase, when companies are financially vulnerable. To assist Idaho entrepreneurs the Small Business Incubator and Jobs Act directs the Departments of Commerce and Labor to focus existing, low-cost resources to provide a full array of business services to startup companies.
* Idaho Small Business Jobs Development Act - Small businesses are the engine of our economy creating over 80 percent of the jobs in Idaho. The Idaho Small Business Jobs Development Act accelerates the creation of jobs by small businesses of 50 employees or less by providing a $2,500 tax credit for permanent, new employees earning over $35,000/year and receiving health benefits. In addition, qualifying small businesses receive priority access to state sponsored business services.
As you can see, the bills cover services for start up businesses, cutting red tape for renewable energy projects, tax incentives for venture capital investments, and a tax incentive for creating high wage jobs with health benefits. The bills are structured so that we collect more revenue than we pay out for any new job or investment. Small business gets assistance and the state receives added revenue to support schools. A win-win.
Where Republican leadership sees doom, Idaho Democrat's see the hope of a better tomorrow. Its only logical that if you have a vision and a plan you can see how better days are just around the next bend.
I pledge to you that I will keep working for a better Idaho. One with a 21st century economy that provides opportunity for our citizens. An Idaho where our children go to world class schools, head to college in large numbers, and stay in Idaho to work in fulfilling and high wage jobs.