StateImpact Idaho

Health Insurance Exchange
5:56 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Idaho’s Latest Health Exchange Bill Prevents Gun Data Collection, Adds Legislative Oversight

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Public comment on the Idaho Legislature’s new health insurance exchange bill starts bright and early Thursday morning. With signup starting at 6:30 a.m., interested citizens will have the chance give the House Health and Welfare Committee their opinion on the revamped bill that would create a state-based health insurance exchange.

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StateImpact Idaho
11:37 am
Mon February 25, 2013

What Idaho Lawmakers Know – And Don’t – When Making Tough Tax Policy Decisions

Mike Chakarun is tax policy manager for the Idaho State Tax Commission.
Credit Molly Messick / StateImpact

A left-leaning tax policy group recently put out a short little report about the state corporate income taxes paid by IDACorp. That’s the holding company of Idaho’s largest electric utility, Idaho Power. 

The report claims IDACorp paid no state income taxes nationwide from 2007 through 2011.

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StateImpact Idaho
3:07 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Mapping Wealth: Idaho’s Pockets Of High-Income Households

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact

Over the last couple of years we’ve heard a lot about the haves and have-nots. The 1 percent and the 99 percent — that is, the top earners in the United States (the so-called 1 percent) and the rest of us (the 99 percent).

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StateImpact Idaho
7:29 am
Tue February 19, 2013

With $140,000 On The Line, Idaho Girl Scouts Try Their Hand At Lobbying

A Girl Scout cookie rally is practical too. These Scouts learn how to count change for their future customers.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact

Famous for its potatoes, trout fishing, and blue AstroTurf, Idaho might not have much in common with Hawaii. But here’s one thing: Idaho and Hawaii are the only two states in the country to tax Girl Scout Cookies. Now, some local Scouts are beefing up their sales pitches and learning to lobby.

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StateImpact Idaho
9:48 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Boise’s Housing Bust Leaves Unlikely Victims In A Neighborhood That Saw The Worst

Ryan, Scott and Tara Arellano, at home in their kitchen
Credit Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Homeowners, credit intact, still making their monthly mortgage payments.  They’re not who we think of first when we think of the damage brought on by the housing crisis. But in a sprawling, master-planned southwest Boise subdivision called Charter Pointe, they’re a group that has struggled.

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StateImpact Idaho
12:12 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Girl Scout Cookies Sold In Idaho? There’s A Tax On That

For every box of Girl Scout cookies sold in Idaho, 22 cents goes to the state.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact

For cookie connoisseurs, this might be the best time of year. It’s Girl Scout cookie season. Starting next week, Idaho Girl Scouts will be canvassing neighborhoods and their parents’ offices to take orders for boxes of Thin Mints, Samoas, and all the rest.

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2013 Legislature
6:16 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

The Ideological Tug-Of-War Continues Over Creating An Idaho Health Insurance Exchange

Lawmakers on the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee hear testimony on a state-based health care exchange.
Credit Idaho Public Television Screen Shot

The debate among Idaho lawmakers started in earnest Tuesday over whether the state should create its own health insurance exchange

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StateImpact Idaho
7:50 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Lobbying Efforts Heat Up As Idaho’s Health Insurance Exchange Hearing Is Scheduled

Credit Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

Idahoans will have a chance to weigh in on whether the state should create its own health insurance exchange today at the Capitol.  

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StateImpact Idaho
11:32 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Nixing Personal Property Tax Would “Devastate” One Eastern Idaho County

Power County Hospital is funded in part by taxpayer support. A good deal of those taxpayer dollars will disappear if lawmakers eliminate Idaho's business personal property tax.
Credit Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

This week, we’re devoting some time to understanding Idaho’s business personal property tax. Ending that tax is a priority for the governor and some of the state’s biggest businesses. But it generates millions for local government.

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StateImpact Idaho
11:12 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Explaining Idaho’s Personal Property Tax, With A Little Help From A Boise Candy Store

Debbie and Joe Giordano, of Powell's Sweet Shoppe in Boise
Credit Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and many of the Idaho Legislature’s Republican leaders are in agreement: something has to happen on the personal property tax this session.  And by “something,” they mean a plan to get rid of it.  But there’s a problem.  The tax generates $140 million dollars each year for local government.  In this story, we start at square one: explaining this thing called the personal property tax.

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StateImpact Idaho
3:06 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Map: Who Benefits Most If Idaho’s Business Personal Property Tax Is Eliminated

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

In 2011, more than 53,000 Idaho companies paid the business personal property tax. Half of those businesses paid less than $90.

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Wages
9:05 am
Tue January 22, 2013

The Gender Pay Gap In Idaho’s State Workforce: Why Do Women Earn Less?

Vicki Tokita is Idaho's human resources division administrator.
Credit Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Year after year, Idaho gets slapped with an unwelcome designation: It's one of the states where women earn the least compared to men.

A recent study of the “gender wage gap” came from the National Women's Law Center, and found the typical woman worker in Idaho earns 75.2 cents for every dollar earned by her male counterpart.

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Government Accountability
10:24 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Idaho Launches Government Transparency Website

Credit Transparent.Idaho.gov / State Controller's Office

In an effort to become more transparent, the state of Idaho has launched a new website that details state spending and revenue. Transparent.Idaho.gov was created by the state controller’s office, after the state continually received failing grades on its openness.

Last year during ‘sunshine week,’ StateImpact Idaho reported on two separate transparency report cards — one gave Idaho an "F", the other a “D-".

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2013 Legislature
5:04 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Who Are Idaho’s Legislators? A Demographic Breakdown Of The 2013 Legislature

Click on the chart to enlarge.
Credit StateImpact

More than one third of Idaho's 2013 Legislature are freshman. That's what prompted StateImpact Idaho to collect, compile and analyze basic demographic information on the Legislature, and compare those stats with the state's general population.

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Business
5:14 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Chobani Opens Twin Falls Yogurt Facility, But At What Cost To Taxpayers?

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

In November 2011, the New York-based Greek yogurt maker Chobani announced plans to build a multimillion dollar manufacturing facility in Twin Falls, Idaho, with plans to hire 400 people.

Today, 13 months later, Chobani’s Twin Falls facility hosted its grand opening. New numbers show the yogurt maker hired fewer people than expected, and collected more subsidies than first reported.

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Affordable Care Act
4:33 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Republican Gov. Otter Opts For An Idaho-Based Health Insurance Exchange

Credit State of Idaho

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is opting for a state-based health insurance exchange.

The Republican governor’s office distributed that news late this afternoon in a release that criticizes Obamacare, but says the state must assert its “commitment to self-determination” and fulfill its “responsibility to the rule of law.”

The decision is subject to the Idaho Legislature’s approval.

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2013 Legislature
5:27 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

How Lawmakers’ Day Jobs Affect Policy Decisions In Idaho

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Almost half of the legislators in Idaho work in agriculture or business when they’re not making policy in Boise.

Over the last month, StateImpact Idaho has collected basic demographic information on the 2013 Idaho Legislature.  Some of the information we gathered came directly from lawmakers. Some of it was gathered from Project Vote Smart, the Idaho Legislature, or Nexis.

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Personal Property Tax
9:59 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Idaho County And City Leaders Brace For Personal Property Tax Debate

The Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry's Alex LaBeau is the face of the effort to eliminate Idaho's personal property tax.
Credit Idaho Statesman

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and prominent state legislators have lined up behind the idea of eliminating or scaling back Idaho’s personal property tax.  The issue was high on the agenda as local government leaders came together at an Association of Idaho Cities meeting on Friday.

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Jobless In Idaho
9:41 am
Mon December 10, 2012

“Jobless In Idaho” Comes Full Circle: After A Long Search, A Single Mom Finds Work

After a year and a half of searching for a job, Kelly Barker at last got good news.
Credit Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

At this time last year, StateImpact Idaho began a series called “Jobless in Idaho.”  Through those interviews we met Kelly Barker, a single mom from Meridian who was struggling to find work after losing her job as an office administrator in early 2011.

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2013 Legislature
6:30 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Idaho's Oldest Lawmaker Turns 90

Rep. Frank Henderson is Idaho's oldest lawmaker. He turns 90 today.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

The 2013 Idaho Legislature is in town today for its annual organizational session.  This is when lawmakers choose their leaders and prep for the session which begins next month.  Today also happens to be Rep. Frank Henderson's (R-Post Falls) 90th birthday. 

Henderson, born in 1922, was a soldier in World War II and a reporter for a Chicago-area Hearst newspaper.  Henderson worked in advertising, publishing, and owned the Post Falls, Idaho newspaper before being elected to mayor and later county commissioner. 

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