Truck driver is the most common job in most states, including here in Idaho, according to NPR's Planet Money team.

Effort To Raise Idaho's Minimum Wage Focuses On North Idaho Town

Apr 6, 2015

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports a former lawmaker and minimum wage increase advocate Anne Nesse has submitted paperwork to get a minimum wage increase on the local ballot. Voters may have the chance to raise the local minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.75 in 2016, then $10.25 in 2017.

Northwest asparagus fields are sprouting about 10 days earlier than usual this spring. It’s in time for Easter brunch, but a headache for farmers.

Idaho, Montana Komen Breast Cancer Foundations To Merge

Apr 2, 2015
friedmud / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho and Montana chapters of the breast cancer organization Susan G. Komen are merging.

MTN reports the Boise-based group is merging with the Helena, Montana-based group in June. The merged foundation will be called Susan G. Komen Idaho Montana.

The merged organization will share leadership and fundraising resources to serve both states.

Dennis S. Hurd / Flickr Creative Commons

This story was updated at 5:44 p.m.:

An Allegiant Air pilots' strike was averted after a judge blocked the walkout late Wednesday afternoon. The strike was set to happen Thursday.

Original post:

Allegiant Air passengers may have to make alternate travel plans because the budget airlines' pilots plan to strike beginning Thursday. The strike could impact flights across the country, including in Idaho.

Metal Chris / Flickr

An aggressive three-part proposal to eliminate sales tax on groceries, lower income taxes on Idaho's top earners while hiking the fuels tax by 7 cents per gallon has passed the Idaho House.

House lawmakers voted 53-17 Monday to send the bill to the Senate for approval.

Majority Leader Mike Moyle says the bill will boost Idaho's economy by attracting more businesses and providing families with more money they would have spent on grocery taxes.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Real estate data company RealtyTrac says Boise is in better shape than most of the country when it comes to the difference between wages and home prices.

RealtyTrac looked at wage growth and home price growth from 2012 to 2014 in the nation’s 184-largest metro areas. Nationally, price growth outpaced wage growth 13-to-one. RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist says in Boise, it was closer to four-to-one.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A three-part tax bill that would eliminate the grocery sales tax and lower income taxes on top earners has passed an Idaho House panel.

The bill by House Republican leadership would also include a seven-cent fuel tax increase, which would raise $65 million per year to address Idaho's transportation funding shortfall.

Under the tax plan, Idahoans in the top income tax bracket would see their rate drop from 7.4 percent to 6.7 percent.

Data, U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau Thursday released its population estimates for 2014. Boise was number 20 in the Census’ list of top 20 fastest-growing metro areas. The area that includes Idaho’s capital as well as Nampa and Meridian grew 2.1 percent between July 2013 and July 2014.

Donnie Ray Jones / Flickr Creative Commons

The owners of Les Bois Park in Garden City say they'll close the facility permanently if the Idaho Legislature bans instant racing. A bill to do away with the betting terminals – which critics say too closely resemble slot machines – is making its way through the Legislature.

Eurupean Parliament / Flickr Creative Commons

This weekend, a group of hackers and computer programmers will meet in Boise for the annual Code Camp. For the first time, the event will feature a discussion about women in technology. Panelists will include Marianna Budnikova of MetaGeek, Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, and Boise State professor Carrie Semmelroth.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Hyde Park Books, a staple in the North End of Boise for 30 years, is closing its doors.

Marti Martino bought the used bookstore in 2013. She says the store has had just three owners in its long history.

She says she’s heartbroken for her family and for the community. “It’s kind of still raw for me. It’s been something we’ve been thinking about for quite some time,” Martino says. “We haven’t made this decision lightly by any manner. I understand it’s been an icon in the community for quite some time. But unfortunately it’s not sustainable.”

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Five years ago, CBS and Turner Broadcasting agreed to pay the NCAA nearly $11 billion for the broadcast rights for the men’s basketball tournament over 14 years.  It's the deal that puts games on CBS, TBS and TNT. 

Denny Moller is among those watching again this year.

“My wife says if we don’t have sports programming we wouldn’t have to have a TV,” Moller says. “I agree with her 100 percent.”

Alaska Airlines Adds Nonstop Boise To Spokane Flight

Mar 18, 2015
Courtesy: Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce

Alaska Airlines announced Wednesday it's adding a direct flight from Boise to Spokane beginning in August.

Southwest Airlines already operates a Boise to Spokane flight.

Alaska's President and CEO Brad Tilden made the announcement during a Boise Chamber of Commerce event. Tilden says Alaska will add two direct flights each day from Boise to Spokane on a 76-seat Bombardier Q400 plane.

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This month, two different companies proposed building new hotels across the street from one another in downtown Boise. If built, they would also be across the street from the existing Hampton Inn and a block from the Grove Hotel.  

Hopeful in NJ / Flickr

In just the last few weeks, Treasure Valley gas prices have increased by nearly 75 cents. Low oil prices caused the cost of gas to drop to less than $1.80 per gallon late last year. Oil prices are still low, but now gas is at $2.53.

Adam Cotterell / Information from the Tax Foundation

The Tax Foundation released its annual state tax comparison Tuesday. The non-partisan research group says Idahoans pay a little more than $3,000 a year per capita in state and local taxes. That means 9.5 percent of all Idaho personal income goes to local and state taxes. This puts Idaho right in the middle when you rank all the states, but the Gem State looks a little different if you compare it to its neighbors.

Loss Of Federal Timber Payments Hit Idaho Harder Than Most States

Mar 11, 2015

Idaho is among five U.S. states losing the largest amount of federal timber payments aimed at rural counties and school districts.

Congress let the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act expire in the fall of 2014, leaving Idaho counties and school districts with $26 million less than expected.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Basin School District in Idaho City has something most districts in the state don’t, preschool.

On Wednesdays, 12 preschoolers leave their small house-turned-school and walk across the playground to the high school’s music room. The children sit cross-legged in a circle and the music teacher hands out two brightly-colored sticks to each student. Music class for these preschoolers is all about rhythm, following directions, and giggling.

Congress let the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act expire in the fall of 2014, leaving Idaho counties and school districts with $26 million less than expected.

Idaho counties will bear the brunt of this loss. Seventy percent of Secure Rural Schools money goes to counties for things like road maintenance. Thirty percent goes to school districts.

Data from the Idaho Association of Counties shows Idaho County will lose more money than any other county, nearly $7.3 million.