Economy

Income
12:22 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Data: Personal Income Growth Slows In Idaho

Credit Bureau of Economic Analysis

Personal income growth slowed between 2011 and 2012 across Idaho's metro areas. That’s according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

On average, incomes grew by 4.2 percent across the nation’s metro areas. None of Idaho’s metro areas met or exceeded that average.

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Tax Policy
5:35 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Idaho Narrows The Business Equipment Tax Exemption With New Rules

The new rules mean cell towers, underground storage tanks, poles and towers, signposts, pipelines and conduit, and railroad track are defined as real property, excluding the items from the personal property tax exemption.
Credit Shalbs / Flickr Creative Commons

Certain utility companies in Idaho won't see as large of a tax break as many anticipated now that the state has more clearly defined what types of property qualify for the business equipment tax exemption.

The Idaho Tax Commission Tuesday unanimously approved two rules that define the difference between real and personal property.

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Gaming
9:07 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Creators Of 'Myst' Hope For Comeback With New Fan-Funded Game

Promotion photo from Obduction.
Cyan, Inc.

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 5:26 pm

The Northwest programmers behind the computer game Myst are now trying to write their next chapter.

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Housing Market
10:49 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Post-Recession Home Values Held Firm In Small Northwest Counties

Nick Bastian Flickr

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 6:06 pm

Across the nation, home values plummeted after the U.S. housing bubble burst in 2008. But that was not the case in some of the less populous counties in the Northwest.

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Jobs
3:31 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Heinz To Close Pocatello Facility, Laying Off 410 People

Credit Mat79 / Flickr Creative Commons

H.J. Heinz Co. is closing three plants in North America and cutting 1,350 jobs in an effort to operate more efficiently.

The food maker said Thursday that it will close facilities in South Carolina, Idaho and Canada over the next six to eight months.

KPVI reports 410 people will be laid off from the Pocatello, Idaho facility.

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Healthcare
10:15 am
Tue November 12, 2013

St. Luke's Trial Highlights Mixed Healthcare Messages From Federal Government

St. Luke's defended its 2012 buyout of a Nampa doctors group during a recent four-week trial. The outcome of the merger is now up to a judge.
Credit St. Luke's

A judge in Boise is now considering weeks worth of testimony in a case that could have significant effects on healthcare in Idaho and beyond. Attorneys representing several groups last week made their closing arguments against Saint Luke’s acquisition of the Nampa company Saltzer Medical Group. 

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Trade
8:37 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Idaho Gov. Otter Preps For Trade Mission To Russia

Idaho's largest export sector is semiconductors and industrial, worth more than $3.17 billion in 2012.
Credit Micron Technology

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is getting ready for a nine-day trade mission in Russia.

The Republican governor, his staff and Idaho business leaders will leave Boise Friday.

The trip caps a busy year of international travel for Otter, who has already made official visits to Vietnam, Taiwan and Korea.

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Airport
8:16 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Boise Airport Opens New $30 Million Air Traffic Control Tower

Credit iflyboise.com

City officials will cut the ribbon this week on the new control tower at the Boise airport. The tower is 268 feet tall, right in between the height of Idaho’s two tallest buildings in downtown Boise. The $30 million facility actually started full operations last month, about five years after construction began.

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Election
5:42 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Sun Valley Tax Votes Shine Spotlight On Challenges Facing Small Town Airports

File photo of planes waiting for a take off slot at Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey, Idaho.
Credit DieselDemon / Flickr Creative Commons

A ballot measure in the Sun Valley area is emblematic of the challenges facing small airports across the West. Residents of Hailey and Ketchum, Idaho decide Tuesday whether to raise city taxes to subsidize commercial airline service.

Voters in the neighboring Idaho resort towns are being asked to raise the lodging and rental car tax, and in the case of Ketchum add a 1 percent retail sales tax, although groceries and gas would be exempt from the higher tax.

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Economy
5:48 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Federal Food Stamp Cuts Take Effect

File photo of a woman using her EBT card in Portland, Ore. to purchase food.
Brian Duss Bread for the World

Northwest residents who rely on food stamps will have to pinch their pennies even more. Starting Friday, federal food assistance benefits are being cut.

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Housing
8:18 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Rejuvenated Housing Market Gives Giant Development North Of Boise A Needed Boost

The idea for the Avimor planned community north of Boise was first conceived in 2002. The project went dark during the recession but building has increased as the housing market recovers.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

When the idea for a planned community north of Eagle first came about in 2002, the housing market was strong. But final approval for the 35 square mile project known as Avimor didn’t come until 2008. By then, home sales in the Treasure Valley had tanked.

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Economy
5:00 am
Wed October 30, 2013

More Idahoans Sign Up To Be Realtors As Boise's Housing Market Picks Up

Credit Data: Ada County Association of Realtors | Chart: Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Nearly every seat at the Ada County Association of Realtors classroom is taken during a recent training session. The 50 people in attendance are here to become realtors. ACAR director and class teacher Marc Lebowitz  says as the Treasure Valley's housing market picks up, more people are signing up to become realtors. 

“We’re going to go over so much stuff today, it’s going to make your head spin,” Lebowitz tells the class.

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Business
5:34 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Acquisition Of Boise Inc. Complete, Impact On Local Jobs Unclear

It's unclear what will happen to Boise Inc.'s downtown Boise headquarters.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Boise Inc., the Boise-based company that makes cardboard products was officially purchased by Packaging Corporation of America late last week

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Housing
5:45 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Why A Brand New Home Might Be Harder To Find As The Treasure Valley Housing Market Improves

New home construction in the Treasure Valley was hit hard when the housing bubble burst. Despite increased home sales since, homebuilding remains mostly stagnant. This subdivision near Eagle is one area where new homes are getting built.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

The Treasure Valley housing market is coming off its hottest summer in years. In July, Ada County home sales were up nearly 40 percent over July of 2012. The average price was up by about 20 percent.

The stats all points to a market that’s recovering from the housing bust of just a few years ago. But there’s one aspect of the industry that hasn’t been quick to recover: new home construction.

When the housing market was at its worst, a glut of new homes made it a buyer’s dream.

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Transportation
11:27 am
Mon October 28, 2013

GE Will Find A New Route For Its Megaloads Or Scale Back The Over-Sized Shipments

Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A subsidiary of General Electric says it’s looking for alternative options for moving huge water purification equipment from the Northwest to Alberta, Canada.

A route through the middle of Idaho turned into a legal battle with the Nez Perce Tribe, but the alternatives are limited.

Resources Conservation Company International, the GE subsidiary, decided to withdraw a federal appeal that sought to re-open Idaho's Highway 12 to so-called “megaloads.” A judge had ordered the Forest Service to close the wild and scenic corridor to the shipments.

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Housing Market
10:05 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Data: How Idaho's Housing Market Has Changed Since 2006

The average Ada County home price in July 2013 was $239,194, in July 2006 it was $279,391.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise housing market is coming off the strongest sales period the region has seen since before the housing bubble burst in 2008. Low interest rates and relatively low demand helped drive home values higher this summer.  

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Transportation
8:12 am
Fri October 25, 2013

GE Subsidiary Drops Megaload Battle

Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A General Electric Co. subsidiary has given up its legal fight to haul the second of two huge loads of water purification equipment through the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest and will find another way to get the equipment to the Canadian oil fields.

The Lewiston Tribune reports Resources Conservation Company International filed documents Thursday saying it was dropping its emergency motion to stay an injunction that prevented it from using the U.S. Highway 12 route.

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Economy
5:20 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Alaska Airlines' Alliance With Delta Evolves Into 'Frenemies'

File photo of Alaska Airlines jets at SeaTac Airport.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

You've probably heard this phrase before when discussing a messy relationship: "It's complicated." Those are the words the president of Alaska and Horizon airlines used Thursday to describe the state of the alliance between the Seattle-based carriers and Delta Air Lines.

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Shutdown
4:58 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Payback Time: States Want Refunds From Furloughed Federal Workers

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 5:50 pm

Washington and Idaho want recently furloughed federal workers to repay unemployment benefits. But a quirk in Oregon law means affected workers there will get to keep whatever they received.

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Agriculture
3:03 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Ranchers Wonder If U.S. Sheep Industry Has Bottomed Out

The changing landscape of of agriculture is leaving many sheep farms in the dust. Farms are larger and technology makes crops more economically attractive and sheep herds less.
Luke Runyon Harvest Public Meida/KUNC

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 1:37 pm

Over the last 20 years, the number of sheep in the U.S. has plummeted by half. The sheep industry has actually been declining since the late 1940s, when it hit its peak.

The sharp drop in production has left ranchers to wonder, "When are we going to hit the bottom?"

Some sheep are raised for their wool, others primarily for food. Consumption of both products — lamb meat and wool — have been declining in the U.S.

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