Six programs aimed at job creation were laid out Jan. 27 by the state’s Democratic lawmakers.
The plan, Idaho Jobs and Opportunity Blueprint or IJOBs, includes ideas for improving communications and strengthening projects that support and increase jobs. It has specific benefits for small business job development, tax incentives for job creation and help for small businesses seeking capital in these times of tight credit.
“We hope this is just the beginning of wide-ranging discussions focused on how the Legislature can improve the jobs economy in Idaho,” House Minority Leader John Rusche said at a press conference.
The programs are a way to economic recovery, he said. The six bills were developed after discussions with business professionals, education leaders and others from local communities. The plan recognizes that Idaho needs a diverse economy where small businesses are welcome. The slate of bills includes three introduced in the Senate last week and three bills to be introduced in the House next week.
The IJOBs plan includes:
• The Grow Green Idaho Jobs Act – Each year Idaho sends almost $3 billion out of state to purchase energy. That money and those jobs should stay in Idaho. Idaho is blessed with a variety of renewable resources that, if developed, will create jobs throughout the state. The Grow Green Idaho Jobs Act recognizes the importance of the creation of jobs in the renewable energy sector by ensuring state and local units of government slash the red tape and prioritize permitting for renewable energy projects.
• The 2010 Idaho Jobs Council Act – Efforts must be focused on the critical issue of job creation and retention to realize our vision of a prosperous Idaho. The 2010 Idaho Jobs Council Act brings together state and private sector leaders to quickly focus their energies and create specific action items for creating high wage jobs with benefits in Idaho.
• The Idaho Home Grown Business and Jobs Act – Knowledge is power and small businesses in Idaho need the best information available to effectively compete against out-of-state companies. The Idaho Home Grown Business and Jobs Act benefits Idaho small businesses and expands job opportunities by directing the Departments of Commerce and Labor to provide useful market intelligence to Idaho small business. This information will allow Idaho small business to better compete in the marketplace and create jobs for Idahoans.
• The Idaho Small Business Venture Capital Investment Act – Access to capital is the lifeblood of small business. Because of the current credit crunch, many small businesses have had to delay their expansion plans. The Idaho Small Business Venture Capital Investment Act creates Idaho jobs by increasing access to capital for small business (less than 20 employees) by offering a transferable 50 percent tax credit on all earnings (other than interest) from venture capital investments in Idaho companies. The Idaho Small Business Venture Capital Investment Act will be introduced in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.
• The Small Business Incubator and Jobs Act – Business incubators provide small entrepreneurial businesses with affordable space, shared support, and business development services. This facilitates business success during the startup phase, when companies are financially vulnerable. To assist Idaho entrepreneurs the Small Business Incubator and Jobs Act directs the Departments of Commerce and Labor to focus existing, low-cost resources to provide a full array of business services to startup companies. The Small Business Incubator and Jobs Act will be introduced in the House Business Committee.
• Idaho Small Business Jobs Development Act – Small businesses are the engine of our economy creating over 80 percent of the jobs in Idaho. The Idaho Small Business Jobs Development Act accelerates the creation of jobs by small businesses of 50 employees or less by providing a $2,500 tax credit for permanent, new employees earning over $35,000/year and receiving health benefits (the employee must be employed full time for a minimum of six months with pay equaling more than $35,000 before the credit can be sought). The act also includes a sales tax rebate on materials associated with the new employee. In addition, qualifying small businesses receive priority access to Tech Help for commercializing ideas and any business development incubators, microenterprise development centers, or university programs that foster and advise small business. The act includes a three-year sunset and claw-back provisions. The Idaho Small Business Jobs Development Act will be introduced in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.
“Idaho Democrats see a future of opportunity, economic growth, prosperity, and good jobs. When those jobs return so will state revenues. When those jobs return we will reduce the need for safety net services. When those jobs return Idaho will be on its way to recovery,” Minority Leader Kate Kelly said.
“The IJOBs plan is designed to turn unemployment checks into paychecks,” Kelly said.