Game changer: Idaho's new business tax credit

Boise, Idaho
Randy Wells | Getty Images
Boise, Idaho

Editor's note: This commentary was written before the release of the Top States 2015 data. The governor did not have knowledge of the rankings or the comprehensive data.

Idaho's economy is accelerating. Over the past year, the state's economic environment has exploded with the announcements of several companies choosing to expand in Idaho, including such household names as SkyWest Airlines and Amy's Kitchen. We also have made it a priority to deliver more opportunities than ever for existing Idaho companies and those new to our state to thrive.

Idaho offers limited and reasonable regulation, easy access to government and a rapid response team of key state government officials who respond quickly to companies interested in doing business in Idaho. We put a premium on all our state agencies remaining connected with one another so we can be nimble and respond quickly to opportunities.

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And our government officials are friendly, too, because we know that relationships mean business. Being business-friendly means making it easier to do business here. In Idaho we keep our costs and taxes low, and we remove the burdensome regulations that get in the way of success.

Idaho Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter
Source: Office of the Governor
Idaho Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter
"The Idaho Tax Reimbursement Incentive (TRI), which went into effect July 1, 2014, has proved to be a game-changer in our efforts to encourage business growth and expansion."

In the past year, Idaho received national and international attention as we kept landing in the top 10 of several key rankings for business friendliness, economic strength and job growth:

  • 6th in the nation for 2015 Best Economic Outlook (American Legislative Exchange Council)
  • 5th-highest GDP growth rate in the nation (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
  • 1st in the nation for highest personal-income growth in 2013 (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
  • 2nd "Overall Most Friendly State for Business" (Governing magazine)
  • 6th "State with the Fastest Job Growth" (Kiplinger)

An $869 million wage increase

Additionally, the state's incentive programs, especially the new Tax Reimbursement Incentive, have enabled us to generate significant momentum by investing in Idaho's existing and emerging industries, public-private partnerships and community development.

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The Idaho Tax Reimbursement Incentive (TRI), which went into effect July 1, 2014, has proved to be a game-changer in our efforts to encourage business growth and expansion. The TRI provides up to a 30 percent refundable tax credit for up to 15 years on all payroll, sales and income taxes for companies that hire at least 50 new employees above the average county wage (20 new employees in rural areas). We have experienced enormous success with this new incentive and continue to see significant interest from existing companies looking to expand and new companies considering location or expansion here.

Since July 1, 2014, 12 projects have been approved for the TRI, resulting in:

  • Total Jobs: 2,294
  • Capital Investment: $336 million
  • Total Wages: $869 million
  • New State Revenue: $127 million

As you can see, in Idaho we take business very seriously. And our government officials work together tirelessly and quickly to bring more opportunity to Idaho's citizens. Our grant and incentive programs are attracting more companies to the state than ever before. And coupled with our great quality of life and endless recreational opportunities, once you get here, you'll never want to leave.

By Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter