Role and Mission of the Chamber of Commerce: 

The primary mission of the Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls, Hayden, and Rathdrum Chambers of Commerce is to advocate for an environment that ensures the health and prosperity of our communities through strong and healthy businesses.  Together, we advocate for tax policies and a regulatory environment that supports opportunities for growth, job creation, and profitability which strengthens the economic vitality of our communities and our region.  

In addition, our Members were united in their concern that our Legislators work together to eliminate policies that unnecessarily restrict the free flow of commerce and industry which is vital to the creation and retention of jobs, ensuring continuing economic prosperity.  Our joint Chambers advocate for the elimination of restrictions on the ability of employers and businesses to manage and regulate their businesses and their employees.  The government should neither restrict nor mandate how business owners in Idaho operate their businesses.   

We have established the following priorities for the 2023 Legislative Session and look forward to working with you on these issues. 

Education and Workforce Development: 

The Chambers fully support the recommendations of the Governor’s Taskforce on Higher Education that address the need to reduce costs & improve all educational pathways toward a meaningful career, from industry-based certifications to advanced degrees. 

The Chambers continue to strongly support coordinated and focused efforts to better prepare our citizens for the State’s growing business workforce needs.   These programs need to be oriented toward providing traditional students with career and technical education to prepare them for the workforce and also providing results-oriented pathways for more mature members of our workforce to upgrade their skills and stay current on the changing needs of employers.  In addition to the four-year plus degrees provided by our universities, the Chambers fully support the continued funding and expansion of workforce development programs and continued increased emphasis on career and technical education, and skills certification within our schools and Community Colleges.  We also support the expansion of apprenticeship programs. The Chambers support continued efforts regarding Reading Readiness initiatives and encourage pre-K funding exploration. We continue to support public schools, STEM education, mentorship initiatives, and career advisory programs.   

Infrastructure:  Roads, Bridges, Sewer, Water and Broadband: 

We firmly believe that the State must explore and implement funding solutions that adequately address the pressing backlog of maintenance issues facing our State’s infrastructure. At the same time, we believe we must begin to fund new projects that are urgently required to address the continued growth that we are experiencing.  In doing so we understand increased user fees as well as other new revenues must be addressed. We simply must invest more now or limit our ability to grow and negatively impact our State’s future prosperity. 

Affordable Housing:   

Communities throughout Idaho are experiencing a dramatic increase in rental rates and housing prices.  This is impacting our ability to attract and retain employees, and is a growing concern for our businesses and directly impacts our efforts to foster economic development and job growth.  Addressing this problem as demand for housing in our communities is impacted by growth and in-migration of those attracted by our State’s quality of life and personal freedoms is difficult.  The existing programs operated by the Idaho Housing Finance Agency which provide below-market financing to first-time homebuyers should be expanded.  Additionally, those IHFA and HUD programs that encourage and support the development of affordable multifamily rental housing should be fully funded and fully utilized.  Additional programs that encourage partnerships with local non-profit housing providers and Community organizations to address the need for affordable housing should also be developed.     

Tax Issues: 

The Chambers continue to support a reduction in the tax burden on businesses in Idaho when fiscally responsible. Gradually lowering income tax rates and simplifying and reducing business personal property taxes will assist in the retention and expansion of existing businesses, as well as in the recruitment of new businesses.     

Residential property taxes have skyrocketed and the property tax burden on residential properties has dramatically expanded, with roughly 70% of property tax collections now being paid by residential properties.  Among the solutions the Legislature should consider are the following: 

  • Replacing the current cap on the homeowner’s exemption with a formula that considers inflation. 
  • Require those leasing public property to pay a lessee’s tax equal to the assessed property tax on the leased property. 
  • Replace local property tax school “maintenance and operations” override levies with increased funding from state revenues.  
  • Distribute internet sales taxes now held in a “Tax Relief Fund” to local governments and the State General Fund. 
  • Reform Idaho’s impact fee law to make it truly fund the cost of growth including the cost of new schools, increased governmental operations including fire and police, and regional transportation improvements.   
  • Remove the artificial property tax caps imposed by the passage of HB 389.  This directly impacts our City’s ability to maintain infrastructure.  

Our Chambers continue to support the passage of legislation granting local units of government authority to adopt local option taxes that are voter-approved for specifically defined local public improvement projects, with cost estimates, timelines, and sunset clauses.  The ability to address local needs with local voter-approved tax revenues is critical to the continued growth and economic viability of our growing communities.  The Chambers continue to support the use of the state’s Urban Renewal Law as an effective and flexible economic development tool that has proven essential in the expansion and improvement of public infrastructure, economic diversification, and the expansion of employment.  


As our state continues to see rapid population growth, access to health care remains a growing priority for Idahoans of all ages. The population boom of Kootenai County, combined with the labor shortage, is pushing the healthcare industry to quickly adapt to meet the needs of the community. We ask the state legislature to work with our healthcare communities to find solutions. 

  • Telehealth is a mechanism to help the labor shortage and broaden access to care. The use of telehealth, specifically clinic-to-clinic telehealth, provides patients with access, convenience, and urgency to care. It also helps with the retention and recruitment of providers because it eases the workload and reduces burnout by lessening frequent travel to rural communities. As healthcare organizations look to expand their telehealth programs, they are running into barriers because the state has been slow to make necessary adaptions. We support the implementation of a state workgroup with qualified stakeholders from across the state to help grow and support these services.  
  • Expand Nurse Education Funding and Continue to Support Graduate Medical Education (GME) Funding. The need for nurses and providers is ever-growing. One of the biggest barriers to expanding nursing school programs is not having enough faculty members to teach the students. More funding is needed to support these programs and increase faculty members’ wages to incentivize qualified and experienced nurses to become instructors.  
  • Continue to support GME funding. The Kootenai Health Family Medicine program is proof that physicians practice where they are trained, with 25 of 36 of the program’s graduates now practicing in Idaho. Supporting and growing these programs throughout the state is essential to the future of health care in Idaho.   
  • Behavioral Health resources of all ages are limited in northern Idaho. We ask for continued support and increased funding of the state’s Crisis Centers and explore ways to expand these centers to support our state’s youth. The need and demand for these services are only increasing year over year.  
  • In 2018 Idaho voters approved Medicaid Expansion. With inflation and cost of living increases, we ask you to continue to support the will of the voters by providing affordable access to care for Idahoans.  

Natural Resources: 

Our Chambers continue to support policies that responsibly protect our environment and quality of life while supporting a business climate that nourishes economic growth. Sustainable management of our natural resources benefits both industry and the health of our public lands. 

Skip to content