SkyWest Airlines has chosen Boise for the site of its new $20 million maintenance facility, a project state leaders tout was made possible by a newly-created tax incentive program.
In June, Boise Mayor David Bieter announced SkyWest would open a maintenance facility at the Boise Airport, using an existing hangar at the Jackson Jet Center. He said then that SkyWest was considering expanding that facility in Boise.
Tuesday, SkyWest confirmed it would operate an interim facility until its new building is completed. The company expects to break ground this fall on 100,000-square-feet of hangar space and 35,000-square-feet of office space.
SkyWest plans hire 50 full-time employees in 2015 and will eventually expand to 100 employees. State officials say those jobs will bring in $5.4 million a year in wages. The average annual wage will be $52,000.
SkyWest has a fleet of 346 aircraft and operates nearly 1,900 flights each day.
SkyWest's new facility is the first to use Idaho's Tax Reimbursement Incentive (TRI). The tax break offers rebates on state corporate income, sales and payroll taxes. Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter says the TRI is a key tool to drive the state's economic growth.
"This is exactly the type of project we were targeting – one that puts Idahoans to work with high-wage jobs and has long-term impact on the future growth for our region,” Otter said in a press release.
"SkyWest is approved to receive a TRI credit of 25 percent for a term of 12 years, and a community match from the City of Boise for more than $2.5 million through provision of infrastructure build out and financing," the Idaho Department of Commerce said in a press release.
Still, economists and budget experts don't always see eye-to-eye when it comes to government tax incentive programs. A 2010 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds states can’t effectively create jobs by offering incentives. “It is at best a zero-sum game, where the gains in one area are offset by the losses in another.”
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter thanked SkyWest for sharing his faith in Boise's promising future.
“The SkyWest facility announcement is evidence of the significant role our Airport plays in not only connecting our business community to the world, but in driving job expansion and new investment here,” said Bieter.
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