“The Otter administration will be remembered as eight years of missed opportunities. An announcement tour to a select group of businesses that are friendly to him cannot hide his lack of leadership on the issues that are most important to Idaho. Everything is not ‘awesome’ as Otter would like us to believe. Idaho can do better.” - Senator Russ Fulcher
(MERIDIAN, ID) Senator Russ Fulcher today released a gut check on the realities of Governor Otter’s tenure. “Idaho sits at or near the bottom in several economic indicators. We are tops in the nation for minimum wage jobs. Although, the governor calls the minimum wage an Idahoan’s ‘real world experience’, Idahoans would much prefer to have an economy with high wage job opportunities.” Fulcher continued, “Idaho ranks 47th in the nation for average wage; our people have had enough of this “real world experience” and want leadership that cares enough about their future to have a vision for the state.”
Governor Otter kicked off his announcement tour with stops at Idaho businesses, attempting to paint the picture that under his watch, the economy has been robust.
We have some suggested tour stops that are more indicative of the reality of Idaho’s economy. But first, we have a question:
When the governor’s tour visits Glanbia Foods in the Magic Valley, will he invite the 50 people who got laid off after Glanbia received $1.25 million in local urban renewal funds?
Also, the following are places the governor is not likely to visit as he tries to persuade Idahoans they are better off economically under his watch:
● Maximus Call Center (Boise):
Idaho’s Obamacare call center will be laying-off some 1,600 employees later this month, due to failures associated with the federal law.
● Hoku facility (Pocatello):
The Chinese polysilicon factory that received millions in subsidies, funds, and tax breaks only to shut its doors a few years later. The wreckage included loss of some 250 promised jobs, bills gone unpaid, and obligations left on the backs of taxpayers.
● Transform Solar (Nampa):
After receiving $1.68 million in workforce training grants from the state, it laid 250 people off.
● “Buses” staged at the College of Southern Idaho:
Where each day, Idahoans load onto five buses to work at the casinos in Jackpot, Nevada.
● H.J. Heinz (Pocatello):
The food processing producer closed its plant and shifted its operations elsewhere after taking $880,000 in worker training subsidies. The shutdown will cost 400 people their jobs.
● The Raspberry Stand on Yellowstone Avenue in Pocatello:
The Idaho State Tax Commission confronted and demanded 6% sales tax from a 12 year old boy who was selling raspberries. The child was earning money to save for a motorcycle.
● Canyon County Community Clinic (Caldwell):
This clinic provides free medical care from volunteers who are saving Idaho taxpayers millions of dollars. One of 13 charity care clinics across the state, Canyon County saved $630,000 in preventive costs on Diabetes in 2012 alone. Charity clinics are a component of Fulcher’s alternative plan to Obamacare. They are just one example of what the community does right to help its’ people, and yet is something Governor Otter does not appear to be considering.
● Idaho Obamacare Exchange / Your Health Idaho:
The governor voluntarily embraced Obamacare, bringing this job-killing, mandate-driven federal program into Idaho. It is stifling economic growth and hurting Idaho businesses. The governor chose to take this path rather than stand with states that have taken their own approach.
● Any Grocery Store in Idaho:
Idahoans face some of the highest personal and business income taxes in the West, while our tax code is riddled with exemptions for special interests. The governor refused to support legislation in the 2014 session to remove the sales tax on groceries at the till. Moreover, he has not demonstrated any ongoing efforts to examine and change Idaho’s tax climate to make our state more attractive for economic growth.
Idahoans know that Governor Otter has no plan to make Idaho a better place to do business and help Idahoans prosper. He has had seven years with a majority in the legislature and has enjoyed support from Idahoans. Yet, Idaho has languished during his tenure as governor.
Senator Fulcher stated, “The Otter administration will be remembered as eight years of missed opportunities. An announcement tour to a select group of businesses that are friendly to him cannot hide his lack of leadership on the issues most important to Idaho. Everything is not ‘awesome’ as Otter would like us to believe. Idaho can do better.”