Idaho House votes to delay grocery tax credit
A plan to delay expansion of Idaho’s grocery tax credit for one year to help balance the state budget has cleared the Idaho House.
Supporters of the legislation say Idaho’s dire budget outlook for next year has made delaying the grocery credit expansion unavoidable. But opponents, which are primarily Democrats, argue the plan amounts to a tax increase on some of Idaho’s poorest families.
The move is expected to save about $15 million in state general funds to help cover an estimated $92 million shortfall in next year’s budget.
After a legislative compromise in 2008, the grocery tax credit is due to rise annually in $10 increments. The break for the lowest-income residents is now $70, and for most others it is $50.
Mining Company announces new exploration project
United Mining Group, the company that is operating the Crescent Silver Mine in northern Idaho, plans to begin a $4.3 million exploration project in April.
Company officials in Vancouver, B.C., said the company will drill 12,000 feet underground and 25,000 on the surface. The area has never been mined, the company said in a statement.
“…with combined silver production of approximately 500 million ounces, the Crescent Silver Mine, historically the highest grade producer in the region, is one of the few properties in the Silver Belt that remains highly prospective yet relatively unexplored and un-mined,” officials said.
The Crescent Silver Mine is located between the Sunshine and Bunker Hill mines in an area known as the Silver Valley, one of the world’s most productive silver mining regions.
Idaho House panel agrees to keep some dairy records secret after industry alleges harassment
How dairies manage their cows’ waste would be secret under a measure that cleared the Idaho House Agricultural Affairs Committee.
The bill to make dairies’ nutrient management plans of dairies exempt from disclosure under the Idaho Public Records Act goes to a House vote.
The Idaho Dairymen’s Association contends an activist group, Idaho Concerned Area Residents for the Environment, has abused the records law to harass dairies.
Bob Naerebout, the Dairymen’s Association’s director, says any violations found during dairy inspections would remain public, just not the waste management plans.
But the activist group’s Alma Hasse fears the Department of Agriculture will use this change to protect the industry at the expense of public health by blacking out details that help her group determine if nutrient management plans are actually being followed.
Idaho man sued over airplane sale
An Ohio man has sued an Idaho man alleging he paid $21,700 for an airplane he never received.
The Bonner County Daily Bee reports Stefan Sanderling of Toledo, Ohio filed the lawsuit March 16 in 1st District Court against 38-year-old Robert Cripe.
Sanderling’s attorney says his client agreed to buy a 1974 Cessna 150 that Cripe listed on e-Bay in 2008. Sanderling made a $2,000 down payment and transferred $19,700 to Cripe’s bank account.
Sanderling made arrangements for a pilot to pick up the plane, but the pilot discovered the plane’s Federal Aviation Administration registration number no longer existed. The lawsuit says Cripe told Sanderling he would get it straightened out, but ultimately stopped replying to phone and e-mail messages.
A phone listing for Cripe could not be located.
DEQ: Bad economy means less hazardous waste
A tally by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality shows a decline in the amount of hazardous waste generated statewide in 2010.
A recent agency report says Idaho generated more than 5,000 tons of hazardous waste last year. That’s half the total accounted for in 2000, but slightly higher than 2009.
The inventory tracks hazardous wastes generated in the state or materials imported from other states or countries. The list includes chemicals or substances deemed toxic, flammable or radioactive or chemicals from automotive shops or dry cleaners.
DEQ Hazardous Waste Analyst Rene Anderson tells The Times-News the decline over the last two years is tied to businesses adopting cleaner practices.
But she says the biggest factor is the economic slowdown. She says less business means fewer hazardous wastes generated.
The Associated Press
Idaho to receive $997,000 in drug marketing settlement
The State of Idaho will receive $997,000 as a result of a legal settlement with AztraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP and AstraZeneca LP, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. The settlement resolves allegations of unlawful marketing of the prescription drug Seroquel.
The settlement is part of a $68.5 million agreement with 38state attorneys general.
The complaint alleges that AstraZeneca engaged in unfair and deceptive practices when it marketed Seroquel for unapproved or “off-label” uses, failed to adequately disclose the drug’s potential side effects to health care providers, and withheld negative information contained in scientific studies about Seroquel.
In addition to the payments, AstraZeneca agreed not to promote Seroquel in a false, misleading or deceptive manner, including for off-label uses, which are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Physicians can prescribe drugs for off-label uses,but drug manufacturers cannot market their products for off-label uses. The attorneys general alleged that AstraZeneca marketed Seroquel for off-label uses, including for use in pediatric and geriatric populations, specifically in nursing homes for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, as well as for anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and post traumatic stress disorder.
According to the Idaho Attorney General’s office, Seroquel can produce dangerous side effects, including weight gain, hyperglycemia, diabetes, cardiovascular complications, an increased risk of mortality in elderly patients with dementia and other severe conditions.
Idaho’s share of the settlement will be deposited into the Consumer Protection Account, which partially funds the Attorney General’s consumer protection operations.
The Associated Press
Gov. Otter unveils plan to spur Idaho job growth
Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has revived efforts in the Idaho Legislature to boost the struggling economy by giving businesses tax incentives to create new jobs.
A bill unveiled March 15 would give businesses a series of tax credits, ranging from 2 percent to 6 percent of a new employee’s gross annual wage. A company’s credit would depend on their rating from the Idaho Department of Labor for their unemployment insurance tax payments.
The legislation aims to help areas hit hardest by the recession, with minimum hourly wage requirements tied to county unemployment rates.
Otter says it also fits with his Project 60 plan to grow the state’s economy to $60 billion by encouraging businesses to add more jobs.
A previous measure to provide job incentives in the 2011 session failed amid concerns about its fiscal impact.
The Associated Press
EnergyDoctorNW moves, eyes distributorships
EnergyDoctor NW recently moved from Federal Way in east Boise to 11770 W. President Drive, Boise.
The new location is more central to many customers, co-owner Rick Arp said.
Owners in the next year plan to set up distributorships in other states, he said. EnergyDoctor NW covers eight Western states.
The business sells energy-saving products that don’t use energy. New offerings include a solar screen, a window tint to block infrared and ultraviolet rays, a solar water heater and a solar radiant-floor heating system, Arp said.
Owners are Tim Essink, Roger Essink and Arp. Roger is Tim’s father and Arp’s father-in-law. All had worked in the building trades for years when they launched EnergyDoctor NW last May.
A family member who founded EnergyDoctor in Iowa nearly 25 years ago encouraged them to launch the Boise-based unit, which Arp said is the first in the western half of the U.S.