Jobs & Economy
The Idaho economy has continued to improve along with the rest of the country since the Great Recession. That’s great, but many Idahoans are left out.
- Idaho average wages are among the worst in the United States.
- More Idaho kids live in poverty than in years past.
- High percentage of minimum wage jobs.
Good jobs and business growth depend on a number of factors. While tops in many people’s minds is usually “lower tax rates”, more important is a stable, predictable tax structure so that employers can project with some clarity the future and allow them to build an effective business plan.
Equally important, especially for the 21st century economy, is an educated and skilled workforce. The rest of the world is developing the technology-savvy workers international markets require for successful products. Good public schools, community colleges and universities, affordable and with the capacity to meet workforce development needs, is essential. This need has been emphasized by the Governor, the Director of Commerce and numerous business leaders.
Attractive communities that make it a pleasure to keep your family in Idaho are also important. Often referred to as “quality of life”, this includes recreation opportunities but also vibrant cities and towns. That means re-investing in the municipal infrastructure and services that families and businesses require. The telecommunications, good air travel connectivity, and the system of roads and rails are other important factors for businesses. Who would want to locate a business (or even expanding an existing business) somewhere without good road or rail access, robust cell and broadband service, or the ability to get employees and visitors into and out of town?
Most job growth comes from existing companies, and having the telecom and transportation, the workforce and attractive communities, as well as a transparent and stable tax system, will help us grow good jobs.
During my time in the legislature I voted for reasonable, focused tax reductions, but have, and will continue, pushing for the Legislature to consider “the rest of the story”—the education, infrastructure and livable communities that benefit Idaho families and businesses.