IACI is already in the field pursuing an aggressive agenda on behalf of Idaho business. Idaho is finally growing again, and the list of issues Idaho policymakers need to address is growing as well. Much of the IACI agenda takes a long-term “generational” view of building a better Idaho for all of its citizens through prosperity. This doesn’t come without hard choices and change. The Idaho we have long known must transform itself into a job creation and productivity machine, whereby government serves its proper role in providing the foundation of policies, regulatory environment and infrastructure to foster a prosperous Idaho.
Past IACI priorities are already yielding results. Governor Otter’s Project 60 is likely to be achieved in the next year or so. Even so, there is much more we need to do. The IACI membership and IACI Board have met and developed the list of policy priorities for IACI to pursue.
1. Personal Property Tax — The personal property tax applies to business machinery, tools, furnishings, equipment and some fixtures. It is one of the most difficult to administer and comply with for government and business alike. It is a barrier to economic development, and studies indicate that the elimination of the tax not only benefits business, but will increase the personal income of Idaho citizens.
2. Health Care — IACI supports affordable, quality health care through innovation, choice and competition in the marketplace. IACI supports reasonable ways to increase the availability of health care coverage and reduced costs for both employers and employees while minimizing mandates, complexity and litigation. IACI supports the creation of a health insurance exchange.
3. Education and Workforce Development — Idaho invests considerable resources into an education system from kindergarten through post-secondary education at colleges, universities and workforce training programs. Idaho’s business community has a vital interest in an education system that results in an educated workforce, enabling Idaho’s citizens to have a lifetime of learning, productivity and economic opportunity. Productive, well-trained Idahoans enhance the state’s economic vitality. Business has a stake not only in the process and delivery of education services, but in the quality of the students, faculty and administration participating in Idaho’s education system. IACI supports cost-effective innovation strategies to strengthen Idaho’s education system.
4. Transportation — Idaho supports a diverse mix of transportation measures that increase safety, support economic growth, reduce congestion and increase efficiency in the movement of goods and people. Transportation funding should first utilize existing funding mechanisms. If a clear need exists additional revenue and new alternative funding sources should be carefully considered and must not conflict with other IACI policies. Transportation agencies must be accountable, use innovative processes that lower costs, reduce delivery time, and maximize return on investments.
5. Water Quantity — The management of Idaho’s water resources is important to Idaho’s economy and is a major factor in business growth and economic development. IACI supports the conjunctive management of ground and surface waters and aquifer recharge when consistent with the constitutional doctrine of prior appropriation. IACI thus supports the ongoing implementation of the Comprehensive Aquifer Management Plans. The success of these plans will be a model for cooperation with regard to water management throughout Idaho in the future.
6. Energy — IACI supports a comprehensive energy strategy that encourages energy efficiency and promotes the cost-effective and reliable production, transmission and delivery of energy to meet the state’s energy needs, which is essential to the long-term health of Idaho’s economy and the prosperity of Idaho’s business and citizens.