The Legislature is back in town and one of the items they still need to tackle in the next two weeks or so is Gov. Brad Little’s request for transportation funding. We were fortunate to score a one-on-one with the Governor, conducted by our intrepid staff writer Catie Clark, with some in-depth information on his views on this important legislation. It will be interesting to see how the Legislature responds, and, if the Governor’s plan to peel off general fund dollars for transportation works, what sort of ramifications this will have for the future.
Will other dedicated fund agencies start looking for ways to get a piece of the general fund budget? What effect will it have on departments such as public education that depend on the general fund? As we all learned from the 2006 change in education funding, sometimes small changes can have unintended consequences.
They used to say, you know you’re an intellectual if you can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of the Lone Ranger. This generation’s equivalent is if you can listen to Hoedown by Aaron Copland and not think, “Beef — it’s what’s for dinner.”
Our Focus section this week was on food processing, an important part of Idaho’s economy, and that gave us a chance to look at this critical economic sector.
First, Catie did a piece on the new intermodal rail center planned for Pocatello that will make it easier for farmers to ship their agricultural products by rail.
Second, our versatile freelancer Alx Stevens did an article on Idaho’s beef industry and how it’s recovered from the impacts of the recession and COVID-19. That also gave us the chance to do one of our favorite things: run photos of cute baby cows.
Finally, we have an article on how Idaho National Laboratory is looking for ways to use potato wastewater to recycle rare earth metals from electronics using bacteria. Wild.
The U.S. Department of Labor released ten years’ worth of unemployment and other statistics, and of course our stats whiz Catie was all over it. There was some interesting stuff in there, as well as some indications that Idaho’s economy may not be quite as rosy as some people believe.
Catie also followed up her piece from a couple of weeks ago about Adler Industrial’s new Nampa warehouses with the news that a Portland, Oregon rigging company was planning to not only set up shop there, but move the whole company there as well.
She also wrote the next installment of her six-part series on pollution in Lake Coeur d’Alene, the economic impact on the region and what’s being done about it. This particular segment is on the effect of septic fields and dams.
Finally, we hear a lot about exploding housing in the Treasure Valley, but it’s happening on the eastern side of the state as well. Catie wrote about the big jump in housing starts in Blackfoot and what that could mean for the future.
Sharon Fisher is interim managing editor of the Idaho Business Review.