Gov. Brad Little (center) presents a signed copy of the Idaho Tax Relief Bill to ICA and local Chamber of Commerce executives during ICA's Chamber Days at the Idaho Legislature Feb. 7-8.
The Idaho Chamber Alliance hosted 2022 Chamber Days at the Legislature Feb. 7-8 at the Grove Hotel, and I was one of the fortunate few who had the opportunity to attend. Following is a recap that will no doubt fall short of providing the detail and insight afforded to those in the room, but which I hope nonetheless will serve to inform you of the fantastic program schedule, speakers, and topics which the ICA team worked so diligently to organize and host.
Presenters at the event included Gov. Brad Little and several elected officials from the Idaho State Legislature, as well as appointed leaders and experts from a variety of state-wide agencies and organizations, including Idaho Department of Commerce, Idaho Department of Labor, Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho Career-Technical Education, Idaho Commission for Reapportionment, Idaho Tax Commission, Idaho Small Business Association, and the Idaho Workforce Development Council.
On day one, Senators Chuck Winder and Michelle Stennett, along with Representatives Scott Bedke and Ilana Rubel, presented their perspectives on issues the legislature hopes to tackle during the 2022 legislative session. Sen. Jim Rice and Rep. Mike Moyle provided an update on tax reform in Idaho, including tax relief for businesses and private taxpayers. Clay Long, administrator for Idaho CTE, also spoke in depth about CTE programs, opportunities ,and their importance to Idaho and the Treasure Valley as both population and business growth in the state create new demands on the workforce. Long lauded Little’s administration for the importance it places on career-technical education, highlighting its $3.5 million investment in expanding and modernizing the state’s secondary and post-secondary CTE programs.
Day two kicked off with a breakfast presentation from Gov. Little, who laid out the broad brush strokes for the ways he plans to make use of funds made available through the Infrastructure and Jobs Act of 2021
and the state’s record budget surplus. Little called the components of his plan – record investments in education, infrastructure, and tax relief – “... a trifecta I never thought we’d be able to achieve all at once.”
Sen. Lori Den Hartog and Rep. Joe Palmer were joined by ITD Director Brian Ness and ITD Chief Deputy Scott Stokes to break down upcoming transportation investments and potential challenges. IDOL Director Jani Revier, Idaho Tax Commission Taxpayer Services Manager Gordon Myers, and Idaho SBA Deputy District Director Shannon Madsen then highlighted resources for small businesses, which make up the majority of all Idaho chambers’ membership, including our own.
The working lunch session saw most of the legislature arrive during their session break to join attendees to share a meal and hear U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Neil Bradley speak on U.S. Chamber legislative priorities and advocacy efforts on behalf of chamber members nationwide.
Lunch was followed by a Department of Commerce update on broadband and business expansion programs, presented by Karen Appelgren of IDOC and a frank discussion and Q&A session with Sen. Patti Anne Lodge regarding possible solutions to the perpetual question of liquor licensing reform in Idaho.
The program closed with discussion from political pundits Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News and Betsy Russel of the Idaho Press-Tribune.
On behalf the the entire Boise Metro Chamber team, I'd like to thank everyone on the ICA team who was involved in organizing this event. Special thanks go out to those leaders, elected or not, who shared their time and expertise to moderate or present to attendees. This event was beneficial to everyone who attended, both personally and professionally.