In his latest guest opinion to the Idaho media, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter once again said the lack of tax increases this year can woo businesses from nearby states. The governor offered up examples of three businesses that moved to Idaho between one and 12 years ago.
“I’m proud that the Idaho Legislature didn’t fall into the trap that other states now are in – raising taxes and trying to spend their way out of deficits,” Otter said. He previously offered a “love letter” to Oregon and Washington businesses to move east, which elicited criticism from Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire.
The Idaho Department of Commerce launched a new website touting Idaho’s lower cost of doing business, lower minimum wage, and lower property tax, compared to California, Oregon, and Washington. “As we’re telling Oregon, Washington and California employers who are weary of their states’ tax-and-spend (and then tax some more) policies, making the shift is well worth a look,” Otter said. The department launched a website earlier this year featuring interactive maps designed to help businesses relocate to Idaho.
Read Otter’s full editorial below.
IDAHO HAS A LOT TO OFFER BUSINESSES – JUST ASK THOSE WHO ALREADY FOUND A HOME HERE
By Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter
I’ve been told there are easier ways to jumpstart an economy: Raise taxes and throw “government” money (i.e. your money) from the rooftops. If the problem is that we don’t have enough money, then the solution surely is that we must spend more, right?
Does that make any sense? Of course it doesn’t. It’s a recipe for disaster.
I’m proud that the Idaho Legislature didn’t fall into the trap that other states now are in – raising taxes and trying to spend their way out of deficits. Even now, California is considering another round of tax hikes to reduce their staggering budget deficit. Instead, your legislators and I worked together to make better, more efficient use of your money, and asking everyone to look at the bigger picture and a little further down the road. As a result, Idahoans can rest assured that they won’t be taxed or regulated out of their businesses.
As America’s and Idaho’s economies turn around, opting for stability and predictability is proving to be the right path. Meanwhile, businesses in Oregon, Washington, and California will not be as able to enjoy the rewards of a stronger economy as Idaho businesses. Our companies will have a clearer path toward success as they pay less in overall taxes and keep enjoying our one-of-a-kind quality of life.
Take the example of Comtech AHA in Moscow, which made the shift across the Washington border five years ago. The company moved just nine miles – from Pullman, Wash. to Moscow, Idaho – and saw immediate savings. Bill Thomson, Comtech’s CEO, says the company saved in health insurance costs and workman’s compensation insurance. In addition, the company pays less for Idaho’s corporate income tax versus Washington’s Business and Occupation tax.
Bill didn’t want to give up the quality of life that the Palouse region offers, and by making the shift across the border he didn’t have to. He also knew that his semiconductor company – with customers such as FujiFilm and NASA – absolutely needed to be near a strong university with an engineering program, and the location near the University of Idaho sealed the deal.
I’m sure Bill’s 24 employees appreciate the fact that he did what was necessary to keep the company strong. It’s a measure of employment security that many Oregon and Washington businesses can’t offer right now.
A Richland, Wash. company is doing well in its own market, but when it was looking for a place to expand, they chose Boise. Paragon Corporate Housing/Paragon Home Furnishings opened an office in Boise a year ago because of Idaho’s friendly business climate and because it wasn’t too far away from its corporate office. The Boise office has four full-time and two part-time staff and is likely to grow more in the coming year.
“Idaho is a very easy state to do business in,” said the company’s vice president of business development Doreen Compton, adding that Paragon’s CEO also was attracted to Idaho because of its reputation for being welcoming and supportive of its businesses.
I’m glad to hear that; it’s exactly the impression we’re trying to make. We work hard to collect the taxes that are due according to the law, and we treat everyone fairly and equitably from a regulatory standpoint – focusing on educating and empowering rather than proscribing and punishing.
Once companies get here, they seem very happy to stay.
Take the example of Integrated Ideas and Technologies, which has found great success in Coeur d’Alene since moving here from Sacramento, Calif. 12 years ago. The company, which sells aerospace components, started in Idaho with a 5,000-square-foot building and now has expanded to 23,000 square feet. It remains in expansion mode and continues to hire, thanks in part to Idaho’s affordable cost of living and business-friendly environment.
There’s a reason we keep getting calls from our friends to the west, and why more than 100 Washington businesses representatives told me during a visit to Seattle recently that they are checking us out. Doing business is a little bit easier over here, a fact that our Project 60 initiative is designed to highlight.
Now we’re making it even easier with a new Web site – www.justmaketheshift.com – that provides some cost comparisons with our neighbors and tips on making the move to Idaho.
As we’re telling Oregon, Washington and California employers who are weary of their states’ tax-and-spend (and then tax some more) policies, making the shift is well worth a look.