Boise Chamber's legislative session from our perspective

The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce formulated its legislative agenda and advocacy positions with input from several committees and boards. Our priorities were approved by the Board of Directors and reviewed by our Policy Committee and other Chamber committees. The 2017 Idaho Legislative Session concluded on March 28 and we are pleased the Legislature and Governor Otter made significant progress on several issues important to us and our members. Below is a summary of the session from our perspective. 


Transportation

Several transportation funding bills were considered in the final week of the Legislative Session. Most had an element of additional GARVEE Bonding from the program’s bonding capacity. The Chamber was pleased that part of a $300 million bond increase would probably be approved by the Idaho Transportation Department Board for reconstruction of Interstate 84 in Nampa from the Franklin Interchange to the Karcher Interchange.

Additional funding for transportation will come from a more controversial source, the state’s general account.

Education

The Legislature approved funding for the third year of the five year plan for education improvements, including a career ladder salary increase for teachers.  The Chamber was pleased for an additional $1.9 million for career technical education, $2 million for STEM education and $2.1 million for Boise State for economic and workforce development programs.  For Boise State’s new $50 million Center for Materials Science building, the Legislature approved $10 million from surplus funds to be matched with $25 million from the Micron Foundation and $15 million from other donations. 

Economic Development

The Chamber was pleased that more routine legislation was approved to benefit Idaho’s economic development - $100,000 for outreach for the F-35 aircraft for the Idaho Air National Guard, amendments to the current county property tax exemption program, $2.5 million for the Dept. of Labor’s Workforce Development Training Fund, $3 million for Dept. of Commerce’s Opportunity Fund and additional spending authority for tourism programs. The Chamber unsuccessfully supported a reduction in the corporate income tax, a reduction in the unemployment insurance tax rate and a sales tax exemption for data center equipment.  


For more information on the Chamber’s 2017 Legislative Agenda, contact Ray Stark, Senior Vice President at rstark@boisechamber.org or Caroline Merritt, Director of Public Relations at cmerritt@boisechamber.org.