StateImpact Idaho

Farewell, StateImpact Idaho

Jul 24, 2013
Emilie Ritter Saunders, Molly Messick, Sadie Babits
Becky Lettenberger / NPR

On August 29, 2011 StateImpact Idaho wrote this welcome post, introducing ourselves to the state, and explaining the stories we hoped to tell. Now, just shy of two years later, we’re signing off.

Don’t worry, this site will remain here as an archive, and we hope, as a resource. But it will no longer be updated daily. For continued in-depth coverage of Idaho, please turn to Boise State Public Radio.

Boise Airport To Add Non-Stop Flight To San Diego

Jun 27, 2013
Alaska Airlines

The Boise airport will add a new non-stop flight to its list beginning this fall. Daily, non-stop service from Boise to San Diego starts Nov. 1.

Jobless In Idaho: Landing A Career After Two Years On The Hunt

Jun 20, 2013
Justy Thomas, Jobless in Idaho
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Two years, several temporary jobs, 15 interviews, and countless applications later Justy Thomas has landed a permanent job. “I feel blessed I have a stable job,” she says. Thomas is now working in the human resources department of a local utility company.

Price Parities 2011
Data: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis | Chart: Emilie Ritter Saunders

Data released today from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show personal income in Idaho hasn’t fully rebounded from the recession, though growth has been measured in the last two years.

The personal income data from 2007 through 2011 offers a closer look at real-time incomes in relation to the state-specific cost of goods and services during that same time period.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter Works Toward Third-Straight Year Of Tax Cuts

Jun 12, 2013
Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is spending part of his week in Coeur d’Alene at Idaho’s largest business lobby’s annual convention. Gov. Otter’s spokesman says one of the administration’s main goals for the next legislative session is to pass a third-consecutive year of tax cuts.

McDonalds Minimum Wage
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The border between Washington and Idaho is like a petri dish for what the minimum wage does to the economy. That’s where two extremes meet. Idaho has the federal minimum wage: $7.25 an hour. While Washington’s is nearly $2 more.

Call Center Job Fair
Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Bob Lokken, CEO of Boise-based WhiteCloud Analytics, is three years into building his new company. It designs software for health care professionals with the aim of allowing doctors and others to interrogate vast amounts of health care data. Lokken founded it after his previous company, ProClarity Corporation, was bought by Microsoft.

Recently, he showed me around the downtown office where software developers work intently behind large computer screens. I wasn’t there to talk about better health outcomes through guided data analysis; I was there to talk about Idaho’s workforce.

Construction Worker
Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Not long ago, you could hear the buzz of power saws all over the Treasure Valley. It was punctuated by the steady rhythm of hammers and nail guns. More than 10,000 homes went up in Ada and Canyon counties in the two years before the recession hit. Then, the sound stopped.

“’08 and ’09 were really hard,” says Aaron Wright of Steelhead Construction. He founded the siding and remodeling company as Idaho’s housing boom took hold. At the peak, Wright employed more than 30 people. When the market crashed, he scaled back to three.

Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is using Idaho’s low wages as a selling point. In a letter sent to out-of-state gun manufacturers last month to encourage them to relocate to Idaho, Otter touts the comparatively low cost of labor here.

Jordyn Skinner, Franco's Pizzeria, Minimum Wage
Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

There’s a brand new pizza joint in southeast Boise. It’s nestled in a mini-strip mall with a gas station, dry cleaner and hair salon.

On a recent Friday evening, Franco’s Pizzeria was just starting to pick up. It’s a tiny place. The cash register is only a few steps away from the industrial pizza ovens. There are a handful of tables and stools inside for someone who just wants a quick slice.

John, Cash
Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Wages are lower in Idaho than in nearly ever other state. That’s often chalked up to Idaho’s rural nature and low cost of living. But recently, the state has lost ground.

2012 Out Migration Map
Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Driver’s license data show more people moved to Idaho than left the state in 2012. But that data finds at least 29,253 Idahoans did move to another state last year.

2012 Migration Map
Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Idaho is no stranger to population growth. The number of people in the Gem State has steadily grown from about 710,000 people in 1972 to 1.59 million in 2012. That’s a 124 percent increase.

Idaho Legislature Approves $20.7 Million In Tax Cuts

Apr 4, 2013
Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

The Idaho Legislature will go home today having approved nearly $20.7 million in tax cuts. That’s a fraction, less than one percent, of the state’s general fund budget.

Mitchell Ponting
Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

When the 2013 legislative session wraps up, a big policy question will remain: Will the state make Medicaid available to a greater number of Idaho’s poor? The federal health care law encourages that move. It’s a debate that involves potential costs and savings, along with patient well-being. And it turns quickly to chronic conditions, like mental illness.

Idaho’s Income Gap Continues To Grow

Mar 25, 2013

On Wednesday, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis will release personal income data for 2012. In anticipation of that release, StateImpact Idaho pulled together personal income data going back to 1990 and compared it with the U.S. average. The data show a widening gap between Idaho and the country as a whole.

Idaho Capitol Senate
Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Idaho lawmakers fundamentally opposed to the federal health care law made a final effort to convince their colleagues to reject a state-based health insurance exchange, but to no avail. The bill which will create a state-based online insurance marketplace passed the Senate 23-12, sending the measure to Gov. C.L.

Girl Scout Cookies
Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact

A sales tax exemption for Girl Scout cookies sold in Idaho will advance to the upper chamber after lawmakers in the House approved the measure 59-11.

Idaho and Hawaii are the only two states that tax the sale of Girl Scout cookies. In Idaho, 22 cents from every box sold goes to the state. That amounts to about $140,000 in revenue each year.

Health Insurance Exchange Bill Passes Idaho House

Mar 13, 2013
Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

After seven hours of debate, Idaho House lawmakers voted 41-29 to pass a bill that would give Idaho control over building and maintaining an online insurance marketplace.

State of Idaho

A Republican lawmaker says he will bring forward a bill to expand Idaho's Medicaid program this week. That's after Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said lawmakers should wait on the issue.

Rep. Tom Loertscher (R-Bone) plans to introduce two bills on Thursday.

One would dissolve Idaho's Catastrophic Health Care Program. That's the program that helps medically indigent Idahoans who don't qualify for state or federal health care aid.

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