A few thoughts on a few, somewhat random, topics...
Will Evan McMullin Make the Idaho Ballot? Independent conservative presidential candidate Evan McMullin has attracted a bit of media attention since he announced his candidacy a couple of weeks ago. A former CIA agent and GOP House staffer with strong ties to Utah (born in Provo and LDS), he might have some appeal in Idaho, particularly southeast Idaho.
But, will he be on the ballot in Idaho?
We’ll know this week. He has until Aug. 25 to submit 1,000 valid signatures to the Idaho Secretary of State in order to be on the November ballot.
Tax Reimbursement Incentive Lawsuit. Last week, Fourth District Judge Samuel Hoagland granted a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a Boise-area company, Employers Resource Management Company, against Idaho Department of Commerce Director Megan Ronk and the Idaho Department of Commerce. The suit concerned Idaho’s tax reimbursement incentive program.
The program, passed by the Idaho Legislature in 2014, provides a tax credit to businesses that create a certain number of jobs (a higher number for urban areas and a lower one for rural locations) at a salary equal to or higher than the average wage in the respective county.
The triggering event for the lawsuit was the approval of an approximately $6.5 million tax credit for Paylocity, which agreed to create 551 jobs in the Boise area. The company provides cloud-based payroll and human capital management software solutions. Employers Resource Management Company sued, alleging the incentive benefited a direct competitor.
The State of Idaho brought the motion to dismiss, alleging that Employers Resource Management Company lacked legal standing in that Idaho doesn’t grant such for merely being a taxpayer and that the company couldn’t show direct harm, beyond speculation, from the granting of the tax incentive. The court agreed.
According to the Idaho Department of Commerce, the incentive has generated nearly 5,000 jobs and over $2 billion in Idaho payroll. If the action had been successful, the next action would likely have been a challenge to the incentive for the recently announced medical school in Treasure Valley.
Enormous Economic Benefits from Small Modular Nuclear Reactor Project. Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper asked the Idaho Department of Labor to determine the local economic impact of the proposed small modular reactor project targeted to be constructed at the Idaho National Laboratory. The owner would be the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, an organization of public power systems in the Rocky Mountain region. Idaho Falls Power is the largest member. The project would use up to 12 small reactors constructed by NuScale Power of Oregon.
According to the economic study, the project is estimated to generate more than 1,000 construction jobs and nearly 12,000 local jobs in the broader economy. The construction phase is calculated to generate $1.5 billion in payroll and $3.8 billion in industry sales.
The working facility is projected to require about 360 permanent workers and support an additional 1,147 local jobs. Facility workers are anticipated to be paid an average salary of $65,324.
The report can be found here.
Do Rep. Perry and Sen. Guthrie Have Significant Challengers? As I write this column on Friday, Aug. 19, the story is breaking of an alleged affair between Rep. Christy Perry (R-Nampa) and Sen. Jim Guthrie (R-Inkom), along with an investigation launched by Senate President Brent Hill over related state spending by Guthrie.Thursday, Perry released a statement apparently confirming the affair, but stating that she had previously informed her husband.
Do either face significant opponents in this November’s election?
Perry may or may not. Her Democratic opponent Rita Burns filed a termination financial report with the Idaho Secretary of State stating she was moving to Colorado back in June. But, Ms. Burns apparently has not formally withdrawn. If so, Idaho Democrats might be able to field a replacement. Otherwise, only Libertarian John Charles Smith will face Perry.
Guthrie may be facing a bigger challenge. His opponent is Democrat Mike Saville who has raised a bit of money (nearly $9,000 year to date). The district tilts heavily GOP, but keep your eye on that contest.