By The Idaho Department of Commerce
With two consecutive years of record budget surplus, historic tax relief, coupled with significant infrastructure investments, Idaho’s economy continues to surge forward like no other state in the nation.
Recently, Forbes released a report on the states experiencing the highest rates of growth in 2021. It was no surprise Idaho placed near the top of the list.
The strength, tenacity, commitment and resilience of Idaho businesses continues to be a driving force in Idaho’s growth.
New businesses welcomed to Idaho include AZEK, an industry-leading manufacturer of low maintenance, sustainable residential and commercial building products, and MetalQuest, a custom manufacturing company, specializing in custom machine components for major OEMs.
AZEK is establishing a new production facility in Boise. This project will create 146 new jobs in a 350,000-square-foot distribution center. Facility improvements, production equipment and infrastructure upgrades for the project will amount to over $100 million in capital expenditure.
Along with these new companies, Lamb Weston, is expanding their production with a new French fry processing line in American Falls. Lamb Weston will invest more than $400 million in capital expenditure and bring over 70 new jobs to the area.
In total, 15 companies either expanded in or located to Idaho this last year due to the state’s pro-business climate and economic resiliency in the face of the ongoing pandemic.
In addition, the state’s Tax Reimbursement Incentive – or TRI – continues to play an important role in fostering job and wage growth throughout Idaho. TRI is a post-performance incentive offered to qualifying companies that delivers a tax credit of up to 30 percent on income, payroll and sales taxes for up to 15 years.
As of August 2021, Idaho has approved 80 TRI projects since the program was established in 2014. Jobs from these awarded projects total over 11,300 and have an average annual wage over $51,000.
Projected capital expenditure from the TRI program totals over $3 billion. The program continues to provide high-paying jobs in Idaho and brings opportunities to rural and urban Idaho communities as well as new and existing businesses.
Record Budget Surplus and Tax Cuts
With a pro-business environment, low regulations and conservative fiscal policy, Idaho has successfully navigated through the early stage of the pandemic, charting itself a course for continued success.
While other states added to their debts, Idaho used its budget effectively, distributing funds where they were needed most and limiting unnecessary spending.
A record budget surplus last year provided Idaho the opportunity to give back to its businesses and citizens. Governor Brad Little and the Idaho Legislature achieved the largest income tax cut in state history, providing Idahoans a $220 million one-time income tax rebate and a $163 million in ongoing income tax relief. Combined with another tax conformity bill, Idaho achieved more than $435 million in tax relief for Idaho citizens.
The tax relief was achieved through Governor Little’s “Building Idaho’s Future” plan. The plan uses Idaho’s record budget surplus to provide Idahoans historic tax relief and make strategic investments in transportation, education, broadband, water, capital construction and other critical areas to propel the state forward.
The heart of Idaho’s economy—small business owners—benefitted from the tax cut, lowering the top tax rate to 6.5-percent, making the state even more competitive for existing businesses and attracting businesses new to the state.
The tax relief made good on Governor Little’s commitment to cut taxes and boost Idahoans’ property while keeping tax rates competitive and the business climate vibrant.
And now, at the close of this fiscal year, Idaho added another record budget surplus yet again. Governor Brad Little announced Idaho ended the fiscal year with a more than $900 million budget surplus—the largest in state history. This surplus is expected to grow to $1.4 billion with $513 million more forecasted to be saved this fiscal year.
Governor Little plans to propose more tax cuts and strategic investments where they count.
“Idaho’s economic numbers show even in the middle of a global pandemic, conservative governing works,” Governor Little said. “We have worked hard to curb government spending while providing tax relief and making investments where they count. We are seeing the impact of those conservative principles in action.”
Broadband in Idaho
Thanks to the budget surplus and Governor Little’s “Building Idaho’s Future” plan, the Idaho Legislature allocated $45 million toward improving broadband infrastructure across the state.
This new funding will build upon the $38 million invested last year in more than 100 projects statewide, providing improved connectivity for over 30,000 Idaho households, and impacting almost 150 communities.
The new funding will advance service and offer speed improvements for unserved and underserved areas across Idaho, enhancing telework, public safety, education and healthcare access in rural Idaho and beyond.
In addition, the Idaho Legislature created the Idaho Broadband Advisory Board to create a plan for structuring, prioritizing and dispersing funds which will provide financial assistance for broadband infrastructure to address improved access for economic development, public safety, telehealth and education in Idaho.
The newly created board has already begun awarding grants, recently announcing 13 new projects totaling $10 million. These projects will impact more than 20 rural Idaho communities and nearly 2,400 unserved or underserved Idaho households.
“The Idaho Broadband Advisory Board is proud to help support expanded broadband services to unserved and underserved households and rural communities across Idaho,” said Idaho Broadband Advisory Board Vice-Chairman Senator Carl Crabtree. “These funding awards are just the beginning. The Idaho legislature appropriated additional funding for further broadband service expansion and the board looks forward to funding projects to help advance connectivity in the areas of Idaho that need it most.”
These new awards are only the beginning in improving broadband access across Idaho.
With 2021 continuing to break records for growth in Idaho, the state looks forward to continuing this growth throughout 2022 and beyond.
Learn more about doing business in Idaho at commerce.idaho.gov.