With cash to spare, Idaho ought to spend money on housing | Opinion

This editorial was published by the Post Register of Idaho Falls.

Idaho’s tax revenues continue to accumulate much faster than the state spends them. This is welcome news because it offers legislators many options: further tax breaks and funding programs that are still underfunded, such as the state’s public education system.

With all the money flowing around, it should be easy to fund a small but potentially very powerful program that has been dormant since its inception some 30 years ago.

As Kelcie Moseley-Morris of Idaho Capital Sun explained last month, Idaho is one of the few states in the country with a state trust fund for real estate, but no money. A housing trust fund is money that is matched against federal funds that can then be used by the state to run affordable housing programs. As reported by Moseley-Morris, the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that Idaho is short of around 22,200 affordable housing.

Idaho first established its trust fund in 1992. He has a board of directors. The only problem: the legislature has never appropriated a cent for it.

There has never been a more urgent time to put money in this account.

Some resort communities in eastern Idaho should serve as a full warning about how a lack of affordable housing can hamper business because of the unusual conditions there. When you talk to Stanley companies about their biggest challenges, housing is always at the top of their list for their employees. The same goes for communities around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. It is commonplace to hear of workers in these areas who live in tents or trucks for long periods of time.

In resort communities, this problem is driven by a limited amount of building land and astronomically high property prices. But that second part of the problem is quickly becoming Idaho’s problem. As the demand for housing continues to outpace supply and more people move to Idaho, property prices rise and long-term residents are losing sight of the housing options they have relied on for their entire lives.

The long term solution is to build lots and lots of affordable homes and the trust fund could be an important part of that solution.

A one-time grant of $ 3 million would put the Idaho Real Estate Trust Fund on a solid footing, and it would be relatively easy to find a small source of income to keep it going in the future – many states use a portion of the mortgage fees for the trust. The money would be matched against federal funds, and this would allow Idaho to support low-income tenants by building cheaper housing units.

It would be a boon to businesses in need of workers and low-income workers in need of housing, and it would only require 0.2 percent of the surplus Idaho currently has on the books.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little urges residents to get Covid vaccine

Idaho Governor Brad Little on Friday urged state residents to get vaccinated against Covid, citing concerns about the Delta variant and its potential to stifle economic progress.

“We’re just asking everyone to get vaccinated,” Little said on CNBCs.The exchange. “

Little said his biggest concern and “one of the most damaging things” to the economy would be if children don’t go to full-time school in the fall and parents stay at home with them. “This is going to slow the economy down, so we want the vaccination rate to go up and protect our Idaho citizens,” said Little, a Republican who took office in 2019. He was previously the lieutenant governor.

Idaho has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with around 46% of residents aged 12 and over being fully vaccinated and nearly 51% receiving at least one dose, according to the state health department. Both numbers are behind the national value.

In the US as a whole, 58% of Americans 12 and older are fully vaccinated, while 68% received at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Half of the entire American population is now fully vaccinated against Covid, a White House official Tweeted Friday in front of the CDC posted the data on his website.

That Number of daily cases is also on the rise in Idaho as the highly contagious Delta variant devastates largely unvaccinated parts of the country.

Has little fail impose a statewide mask mandate, though some counties and a dozen or so cities in Idaho have enacted local requirements to help contain the spread of the virus. Late May, little an implementing regulation repealed except for mask mandates, which Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin issued while he was at a conference.

“I believe in empowering businesses and local governments to do the right thing,” Little told CNBC. “We are advocates of vaccination and do all health protocols to contain the spread, but we are very concerned about” the Delta variant.

Little said he hopes more residents who get vaccinated will demonstrate the benefits to those who are reluctant to get the vaccination. “Every day that goes by that more people are vaccinated and protected means their neighbors, friends, family members are aware,” he said.

Despite short-term Covid worries, Little said Idaho’s economic activity continued to be strong. He noted that the population of Idaho one of the fastest growing in the US

“We’re worried about the new line and some more positivity rates, but we have a great booming economy here right now,” he said.

Idaho residents to see tax aid cash as quickly as subsequent week

BOISE (STONE) – Idaho residents could get tax breaks as early as next week, Governor Brad Little’s office said Friday.

The income tax relief will be sent out from next week either by direct deposit or by postal check as part of the state’s tax relief package passed earlier this year. The refunds are part of the Building Idaho’s Future plan, which diverts and invests the state’s surplus into tax breaks to keep pace with Idaho’s growth.

Payments will be made to each year-round resident in 2019 and 2020 who filed an individual income tax return or grocery loan refund, according to the Tax Refund FAQ. Payments are $ 50 per taxpayer, or 9% of the tax amount shown on various forms.

“Idaho’s economy continues to beat forecasts. We run the country in economic prosperity. This year we achieved the largest tax cut in the history of the state! We returned your tax dollars with our record budget surplus, ”Governor Brad Little said in a statement. “These tax cuts will make Idahoans more prosperous, keep our tax rates competitive and our business climate alive.”

The tax break comes from the largest income tax cut in the state of $ 445 million for families and businesses in Idaho, including $ 163 million in permanent ongoing income tax cuts and $ 8 million in ongoing property tax cuts offset by the General Fund, according to a press release from Little’s office.

Location Change: Metropolis of Moscow Strikes ‘Leisure within the Park’ Occasion to Hamilton Indoor Recreation Middle | Idaho

MOSCOW – The city of Moscow has announced that the July 1st “Entertainment in the Park” event will be relocated to the Hamilton Indoor Recreation Center due to the excessive heat warning for the Palouse area.

This FREE family-friendly event opens with a special story time for local youth presented by the Moscow Public Library.

The Sesitshaya Marimba Ensemble will perform in the first act of the evening. This Moscow-based group plays traditional and contemporary African songs from sub-Saharan Africa and shares the lively rhythmic sounds of Zimbabwe’s Kwanongoma marimbas mixed with marimbas from the Pacific Northwest.

Sesitshaya Marimba Ensemble

Sesitshaya Marimba Ensemble

Izzy Burns, an 18 year old indie / folk singer-songwriter from Moscow, will close the event. Burns is a self-proclaimed folk music, jamming and hats lover who sings originals and reinvented classics.

Izzy Burns

Izzy Burns

The Hamilton Indoor Recreation Center is located at 1724 E. F St. For more event details, please visit the Moscow City Facebook page or visit https://www.ci.moscow.id.us/196/Entertainment-in-the-Park.

The entertainment in the park is sponsored by Moscow City, Moscow Art Commission, Friends of Moscow Public Library, Latah District Library District, and Avista.

Newest Idaho information, sports activities, enterprise and leisure at 11:20 a.m. MDT


Idaho lawmaker accused of rape resigns following ethics ruling

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – An Idaho lawmaker charged with rape by a 19-year-old intern resigned after an ethics committee found he should be officially censored. The investigation into Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger began in March. A young employee said he raped her in his apartment after the two of them had dinner in a Boise restaurant. Von Ehlinger has denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he had consensual sexual contact with the young woman. His resignation letter was read to the whole house on Thursday afternoon. Boise Police are investigating the rape allegations and von Ehlinger has not been charged.


US agency wants to bring Bison back to refuge in Montana

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – U.S. officials say they will consider reintroducing wild bison into a million-acre federal reserve in central Montana in the coming years. Such a move would be at odds with Republicans in the state who have tried to limit the range of bison. The US Fish and Wildlife Service plans to “involve tribes and stakeholders on the issues of the reintroduction of bison and bighorn sheep into the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge” beginning in July. The remote wasteland and prairie landscape is bisected by the Missouri River. Bison historically roamed the area, but was wiped out by overhunting in most of North America in the late 19th century.


Brown extends Oregon COVID emergency if cases rise

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Governor Kate Brown extends Oregon’s state of emergency for COVID-19 through June 28. A fourth spike in the pandemic is triggered by variants of the disease, leading to increased cases and hospitalizations. The statement allows Brown to issue executive orders that restrict activities and help the state use federal COVID aid funds, the governor’s office said Thursday. Brown is placing 15 counties, which include the state’s largest cities, in the state’s extreme risk category as of Friday, and imposing restrictions that include bans on indoor restaurants. The restaurant sector has objected to Brown’s actions.


Yellowstone closes the southern road to cyclists in spring

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) – Cyclists are no longer allowed to enter Yellowstone National Park through the South Gate before the road opens to motorized vehicles each spring. After the spring plow, Yellowstone officials keep some of the park’s interior streets closed to motorized vehicles for several weeks while they are opened for human recreation. The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that the park recently announced a permanent ban on bicycles between the South Entrance and Grant Village during the spring shoulder season. Yellowstone spokeswoman Linda Veress says high snow banks along the road make safety less safe for cyclists in the spring.


Despite snow and rain, the Pacific Northwest faces drought

MOUNT VERNON, Washington (AP) – Despite a healthy amount of snowfall in the North Cascades over the winter and some recent rainfall, the Pacific Northwest slipped into the “unusually dry” category last week. Kelsey Jencso of the Montana Climate Office says there has been an intensification of the drought since February. According to the US Drought Monitor, large parts of Washington, Oregon and Idaho are already experiencing moderate, severe and even extreme drought conditions. Ryan Lucas of NOAA’s Northwest River Forecast Center said rainfall is expected to continue through July. He says the rainfall is not keeping up with normal levels.


Idaho governor signs non-discrimination law

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Brad Little, Governor of Idaho, has signed law to prevent schools and universities from “indoctrinating” students by teaching racial critical theory. It examines how race and racism influence American politics, culture, and American law. The Republican governor signed the bill late Wednesday. It allows the teaching of critical racial theory but prohibits the imposing of belief systems on students who claim that a group of people, as defined by gender, race, ethnicity, or religion, is inferior or superior to others. Some GOP lawmakers fear belief systems will be imposed on Idaho students and have kept the education budget bills high until Little signed that bill for what is taught in schools.

East Idaho Eats: Lucy’s serves up contemporary, hand-tossed, New York-style pizza day by day

Lucy’s pizza clerk tosses crust into the kitchen by hand. See how we try some of the menu items in the video player above. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS – For more than a decade, Lucy’s Pizza has served customers with hot, hand-thrown New York-style pizza.

With three locations in eastern Idaho, one in Twin Falls and one in Orem, Utah, the menu offers nine pizza specialties and calzones, as well as a variety of salads, subs, wings and starters.

We stopped in downtown Idaho Falls to try four of the restaurant’s most popular products. Check it out in the video player above.

CONNECTION | Popular pizza restaurant will soon move to the city center

Geoff Padigimus and his partners Brian Padigimus and Tim Wright have owned the company since it opened in 2009. Geoff explains that getting involved in opening the restaurant was a breeze for him.

“I’ve done a lot of different deals with the other two,” he says. “The three of us together are more doers than speakers, and it makes sense to stay on the same train with like-minded people.”

The inspiration for opening a pizzeria came from the trio’s experience of eating hot stuff pizza while they were working on construction. They planned to open their own location until a Connecticut acquaintance introduced them to New York-style pizza.

“He hooked us up with his brother Frank Franco, who had Franco’s pizza on 1st Street for six to nine months. We ended up buying this kitchen and all of the equipment there (which is still in use at the Roberts site), ”says Geoff.

Each pizza is hand tossed and cooked exactly the way pizzas are made in New York.

“We went to (New York) a few times for research and development,” says Geoff. “You throw it by hand. It looks very similar. Our ovens are actually a lot of the same ovens used in New York. “

Supreme pizza at Lucy’s Pizza. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

In addition to the typical style, according to Geoff, the time and effort that employees spend preparing food on a daily basis is another special feature that sets them apart from other companies. All the meat and batter are made fresh every day and they chop up the cheese and make the sauce themselves.

All the vegetables are cut in-house and nothing on the menu is frozen, he says.

“It’s rightly homemade in our kitchen,” says Geoff.

Geoff and his team added a new menu item in January. It’s a pizza flavor called The Blaise and features bacon, chicken, mushrooms, and cheese, plus a pungent honey and garlic sauce mixed with ranch. Geoff says it’s very popular at the Twin Falls location.

He plans to open another store in Utah and Boise in the near future. If you’re looking for a job, Geoff says they’re currently hiring. Interested parties can apply in person or in person through the website.

The Idaho Falls locations are open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and closed at 10 p.m. on weekends. The Roberts site has its own schedule.

‘Social Distancing Idaho Fashion:’ Fish & Recreation studies massive rise in searching, fishing | Native Information

BOISE – In the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Idaho saw fishing license sales up 65% year over year, Fish & Game officials told lawmakers today, as Idahoers practiced the “Idaho social distancing style.”

Paul Kline, Assistant Director of Policies and Programs, Idaho Fish & Game: “Idahoers have found much-needed respite in Idaho’s nature, including hunting and fishing.”

For 2020 as a whole, he said, “Over 450,000 Idahoans have obtained an annual fishing or hunting license, an 11% increase from 2019. And I’m sure tens of thousands of younger children who don’t need a license would fish these too Family outings. “

The Joint Finance Appropriations Committee held its budget hearing in the Fish and Game Department on Monday. The department does not receive any state general tax revenue. Instead, it is funded at 52% through licenses for hunting and fishing. and federal grants for the rest.

Fish & Game director Ed Schriever did not attend Monday’s budget hearing because he was sick. “He’s under the weather and made the difficult but right decision to stay home,” Kline told JFAC.

When the pandemic hit Idaho, Kline said, “Idaho Fish & Game has worked diligently to keep facilities and access points open to ensure people have had the opportunity to recreate themselves.” He said he had “worked to fight against the initial response to closed facilities and access to recreational facilities – knowing that these measures simply lead to more crowds in fewer places, unsafe conditions and resource degradation.”

“Fishing and hunting are generally great for social distancing,” said Kline. “However… it’s a balancing act, and the increased use and participation of recreational activities presented challenges in terms of overcrowding and congestion. These concerns are greater than responding to short-term housing orders, and are related to Idaho’s population growth and the general popularity of hunting and fishing in our large state. “

The way the State Fish and Game Commission has dealt with it is to restrict non-residents, especially in general hunting for deer and elk. “The actions taken by the Commission to limit foreign participation to 10 or 15% of the total number of hunters will reduce non-residents’ participation in some of our general moose hunts by up to 50%,” said Kline. “It will make a significant difference in the number of hunters and ease the crowd.”

Licensed equipment suppliers in Idaho were still assigned a portion of the non-resident tags that corresponded to their historical use in each elk zone.

Last year lawmakers approved a substantial increase in hunting and fishing fees for non-residents. The switch to a new license provider was also financed. “The culmination of this effort was December 1, when over 20,000 non-residents logged into our new system to purchase a license and label for the 2021 deer and elk hunting season,” said Kline. “For the first time in our history, the department published over 13,000 items and sold nearly $ 10 million worth of license approvals and tags in one day. The response from non-residents indicated that Idaho remains a destination for hunters because of the variety and quality of opportunities our resources offer. “

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The fee increase for non-residents should be revenue-neutral, Kline said, selling fewer permits and tags at higher prices. “So far, sales have come close to that original forecast,” he said.

Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy, R-Genesee, praised the moves. “We get a lot of complaints about things that happen in Fish & Game. I think it’s a blood pressure issue for a lot of people, ”she said. “And this year I loved the complaints I got because I had a lot of complaints from friends of mine who live out of state and were frustrated because they couldn’t go online for a day and they were very frustrated with the limited number of tags. I told them if they want to hunt Idaho game they’d better move to Idaho. “

Fish & Game executives also noticed significant changes in the agency’s “presence” in Treasure Valley. A new regional office opened in Nampa consolidated a range of services previously relocated with a “new facility more centrally located to better serve the people of Treasure Valley,” Kline said . As a result, the agency’s Garden City location is no longer needed and is currently for sale in the market. Plans call for the proceeds to be used to pay off remaining leases for five regional offices, resulting in ongoing budget savings of $ 500,000 per year in the future.

Fish & Game is also currently building a new main building in Boise. By the time it opens in December, Fish & Game will have dropped from five locations in Treasure Valley to two, Kline said. “For the first time in over 20 years, we will bring all employees at our headquarters under one roof and demonstrate our commitment to financial responsibility to the athletes.”

The governor’s proposed Fish & Game budget for next year reflects a 3.7% increase in overall funding excluding general funding. The increase includes $ 6 million lease repayments and mitigation work related to the Albeni Falls Dam in northern Idaho, funded through a negotiated agreement between the Bonneville Power Administration and the state of Idaho. Due to delays related to COVID-19, $ 2 million due to be spent this year was invested in next year’s work, increasing next year’s amount.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise Chief Executive and State Capital Reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.