September 14, 2023
ATTENDEES: Lauren, Christina, Katie Rose, Dean, Len, Marty, John, Caleb, Mark, Danny
ZOOM: Ashley, Damon, Rocky
Both Mark and Caleb discussed the issue of funding the government coming up in October. One thing that could affect our members is access to SBA and USDA funds. If the government stalls the process of funding these agencies, this could put businesses in our area in a tough spot waiting for financing. Even if they agree to a budget, the funding for these agencies could be different than planned.
Mark said Senator Risch is also a co-sponsor of the Helper Act, which would provide affordable mortgages for first responders and teachers who are first-time home buyers. This act will provide mortgages with zero down payment and no monthly mortgage insurance.
Christina shared with the group there would be an ITD I-90 Widening Project Open House: 4-7 p.m. Jacklin Arts and Cultural Center October 5th
Also, on October 9th, a Regional Legislative Meet and Greet – was put on by IACI, hosted by Idaho Forest Group, Athol Mill 5400 ID-54 Athol ID.
Rocky Owens, Senior Director – LSCS, presented a plan to host all Idaho legislators for a North Idaho Tour in November 2024. It will be a three-day event that will allow local businesses to showcase their businesses to the lawmakers. This event is scheduled every other year after the election of our legislators. In the past, this has been a very well-attended event, and Rocky asked for volunteers to work on the organizing committee.
He also shared that Tom Green had been named Interim Director of Government Affairs for North Idaho College.
We discussed the upcoming Legislator Breakfast. We have five legislators committed, and it will be held October 20, 7-9 a.m. at the CDA Inn. We will continue to reach out to the rest of the group since we only have one who has indicated they won’t be attending. Cost is $35/person.
Other Upcoming Events:
Forum for City Council, School Boards, and hopefully Mayors put on by CDAPRESS virtually, Dates TBD
September 19th Idaho Public Television Event, 5:30-7:30 DeArmand Building, NIC
October 19th Beyond the Ballet Event by Secretary of State, 11 am Hagadone Event Center, Ticket price TBD
Author: Alan Wolfe, Co-Chair
Our discussion on local issues focused on two items, school levies, and NIC accreditation.
School Levies will be voted on in Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene, and Rathdrum on March 14th. This can have a large impact on our chamber members. We all feel a strong school system is extremely important to the business community in a number of ways.
It was decided the four chambers would pull together to buy an ad in the CDA Press in support of all the levies in Kootenai County. We are also working on social marketing and speaking opportunities for our districts to spread the word and encourage people to VOTE YES for our schools.
The accreditation issue at NIC was also discussed in length with the suggestion of another informational forum regarding the facts around accreditation. In the end, we decided that while a forum would be helpful to the public and our members, it would be ineffective without the support of the NIC board.
While things are just getting going in Boise, there was some discussion regarding Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 101 which… Proposes a state constitutional amendment to require an initiative petition to be signed by at least 6% of legal voters at the last general election in each legislative district.
A similar resolution was passed by the legislature in the past but was overturned by the Idaho Supreme Court as unconstitutional. This legislation takes it a step further by suggesting a change to the state constitution.
Details on this resolution can be found at SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 101 – Idaho State Legislature
It’s still early in Washington, DC as well. We did discuss the debt ceiling and the request from our congressional delegation to add another federal judge to Idaho. The workload created by the pandemic has created quite a backlog, and we are in need of another judge.
Next Meeting: Thursday, February 13th, 11 am, Post Fall Chamber Boardroom
Author: Len Crosby
Key accomplishments of the Joint Chamber Public Policy Committee this past year.
A. We advocated for a reduced corporate income tax rate. The Idaho Legislature agreed. Our Business members will now enjoy a simplified and flattened corporate income tax rate of less than 6%. This will assist ALL of our Business members, both large and small.
B. We advocated for increased State spending for Education and the Idaho Legislature agreed, providing 400 million additional dollars into the State education system for our K-12 schools, and additional funding for our workforce training programs and our junior Colleges and Universities to better equip young Idahoans to be the employees of Today and the business leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
C. We advocated for increased State spending on our critical infrastructure (roads, bridges, water, sewer, and broadband), which is the foundation of our Business and Industrial growth. The Idaho Legislature agreed and allocated more dollars, including ARPA funds, to improve infrastructure investment.
D. We advocated for assistance to help communities deal with rising housing costs, making it difficult for our Business members to attract and retain employees. The Idaho Legislature agreed and allocated a portion of the ARPA funds toward workforce housing programs to assist Idaho companies and Communities in addressing this critical issue.