PUBLIC POLICY BOOKMARK
The goal of the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce is to advance the commercial, financial, industrial, civic and social interests of our community. The Chamber recognizes the importance of each of these aspects in creating a balance and quality of life for those in Eastern Idaho. The entire state of Idaho depends on the strength of each region to contribute to a vigorous economy, quality educational opportunities, and the health and well-being of all Idahoans. For these reasons, the Chamber supports the following issues and actions:
- Authorize communities to vote on and implement local option taxes to fund transportation and/or other infrastructure improvement projects.
- Support a reasonable increase in both the gas tax and vehicle registration fees to support transportation funding.
- Require a fair and equitable statewide distribution of funds for transportation and infrastructure improvements.
- Ensure Idaho is positioned to receive and properly allocate any federal stimulus funds.
- Support for state funding (grants and loans) to help smaller communities and less populated counties deal with infrastructure needs (e.g. water and wastewater).
Science, Technology and Energy
- Promote Department of Energy funding for the Idaho National Laboratory’s research and development missions and cleanup obligation.
- Promote Economic Development, leveraging federal dollars, for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES).
- Encourage comprehensive solutions to Idaho energy issues by supporting the Strategic Energy Alliance and refining Idaho’s Energy Plan to include specific vision and action items, including nuclear power.
- Encourage regional transmission line extensions and connections to help meet Idaho’s growing energy transmission needs and power delivery to both public and investor owned utilities in the state.
- Promote statewide K-12 and Tech Prep science programs to include energy emphasis providing necessary professional/technical training to foster economic development and job growth.
Arts and Cultural Tourism
- Fully fund the Idaho Commission on the Arts and the Idaho Department of Commerce Cultural Tourism local granting programs that develop local economies and increase cultural tourism.
Higher Education – Invest in Idaho’s Future: Funding higher education is investing in the greatest asset of the
State; Its people. No other investment creates a higher return.
- Support Governor Otter’s plan to grow the Opportunity Scholarship Program each year to provide more opportunities for Idaho students to attend Idaho institutions of higher learning.
- Continue support for economical delivery of quality, collaborative, post-secondary education in Eastern Idaho with continued funding for University Place in Idaho Falls.
- Increase the amount of dedicated revenue in the Permanent Building Fund to meet the needs of new construction, alterations, repairs and facilities maintenance at our higher education institutions.
- Support for job training in times of economic downturn it is even more critical to help laid off workers retrain and upgrade their skills.
- Support funding of early childhood education
- Maintain local control of election dates
Health & Human Services
- Create an environment that promotes ideas to attract nurse educators to Idaho’s nursing programs.
- The Chamber supports a general fund appropriation of $3.48 million for Developmental Therapy. These services have received only three Medicaid rate increases, totally 7.4 percent in the past eighteen years. Based on inflation during the same period, the cost of providing developmental therapy has increased 51.3 percent. Medicaid is the sole funding source for these therapies.
- Support and encourage the legislature to grant local communities greater local control through the authority of a local option sales tax to be flexible enough for multiple uses. Furthermore, we reaffirm there is no need for a constitutional amendment.
- Appropriate incentives for business growth must be adopted. Idaho’s focus should be first and foremost on retaining and growing existing business. Incentives should be configured in such a way as to ensure that resources, where appropriate, return and are reinvested over time.
- Support the work of Urban Renewal Agencies in Idaho as an effective economic development tool. Any changes to current law are unnecessary.
- A priority-based policy for use of Idaho’s water is vitally important to the economy of Eastern Idaho, particularly the area’s agriculture industry. The Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce supports the Governor's Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plan (CAMP), which was developed through collaborative efforts of all stakeholders, recognizing agriculture's historic use and the need for water supplies.
- Adequate, affordable transportation to distant markets is necessary for agriculture to continue as an economic engine for Eastern Idaho. Non-competitive rail service in most of the state places Idaho's agriculture at a disadvantage in servicing customers around the world. The Chamber supports policy that would allow for affordable rail service to ensure Idaho agricultural products remain competitive on the world market.
Business Personal Property Tax
- Support the elimination of the personal property tax providing its elimination will not shift the tax burden to other taxpayers.