Taxpayers Big Losers When It Comes To “Purchasing Prosperity”

With Wednesday’s news that Micron–Idaho’s largest non-profit company–has failed in its latest government subsidized venture comes a message that taxpayer cash is no ticket to prosperity.

The firm announced layoffs of 30 workers and a shutdown of a venture aimed at producing LED lights. The company frittered away $5 million in stimulus money paid by the citizens of America and Idaho. Another Micron venture in Nampa called Transform Solar which closed earlier this year, costing 250 jobs in Nampa. That was a partnership with an Australian firm.

The solar eclipse also hit the Hoku solar panel production facility at Pocatello–also recipient of energy funds, urban renewal money, and God only knows what else. That Chinese outfit couldn’t even pay its electric bill.

Of course we must mention the $2 million the Ada Commishes “invested” in the Dynamis waste to energy scheme at the county landfill which looks doubtful at the present time.

The long-touted Zonda electric bus factory promised for the Valley has never materialized, apparently rerouted. That outfit doesn’t have anything in Idaho, but claims to have its USA headquarters in Boise. They have an Idaho phone number and not much else. Nampa Mayor Tom Dale calls it “the real deal,” obviously taken in by the promise of 1,000 jobs.

With less business travel and an ailing economy, the airlines are dropping Boise flights like losing lottery tickets. In fact passenger loads are lower than they were more than 10 years ago. What to do? The local Chamber of Commerce suggests pouring cash into subsidizing the airlines in hopes that more flights will somehow translate into corporations locating their facilities in Idaho.

Then, to top it off the BOI airport has announced it will sell bonds to pay for a new parking garage.

It’s enough to create major cases of GROWTHOPHOBIA–the fear of growth for the sake of growth. The GUARDIAN message of welcoming businesses and individuals to our community–as long as they pay their fair share of taxes and a decent wage is more important than ever. It’s simply impossible to spend your way to prosperity

Comments & Discussion

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  1. The just don’t do public works projects like they used to. 🙁

    Erie canal 1825
    Transcontinental Railroad 1869
    Tennessee Valley Authority 1933
    Hoover Dam 1935
    Grand Coulee Dam 1942
    I-84 1956
    The Moon 1969
    GPS 1994
    International Space Station 1998

  2. The government should not be in the banking business. Furthermore the government should not bailout banks. Therefore, if and idea is a good one they will get a loan from a bank. If it’s a bad idea it will not happen.

  3. The rich run government and they take from the tax payer.
    But yet we vote them in.

  4. 2 schools of thought here: #1. the Idaho “Cave people” (i.e. “citizens against virtually everything”). They want Idaho to stay backward & poor because a. they’ve already got a lot of money or b. they came to Idaho to “escape”…escape everything, live in the wilds, commune with nature, get away from their betters, etc. and be by themselves & their own ilk.

    #2. the rest of us: who want growth, decently planned but dynamic enough for opportunities to come bubbling-up our way.

    As a backdrop to all this, are the rural Idaho “elite”, more like feudalists, who are scared shitless of growth that would cause them to lose power over the legislature. They’re really the ones that keep Idaho backward. They won’t allow investments in things that would engender growth, they won’t allow Idaho municipalities to have constitutional home rule powers, won’t allow school bonds to pass without a supermajoritity, etc, etc.

    These bad people are about to get their wish. Because along with all the others who’ve left since 2005, another wave of “get the Hell out of Idaho” is on the way. You can see this one coming for miles.

  5. Tommy, Idaho will be doing well again just as soon and we fire up the mines, chainsaws, and nuclear experiments — and not a moment sooner. Robbing Peter to pay Paul was a failed idea a very long time ago. Unless you are the saleman in the middle — and I bet that’s who you are. It clearly is the MO of the elected officials.

  6. As soon as that huge wave of environmentalist californicators departs for a better corporate welfare state which they have not yet destroyed, we’ll be firing up all those sweet machines to exploit the earth again.

  7. cave people
    Dec 14, 2012, 7:06 am

    I have a deal for you Thomas. I’ll support a simple majority vote for school bond elections on one condition. If I own eight separate properties, I get eight votes. If you own one property, you get one vote. Deal?

  8. Conservatism is stagnation. Without growth there is no chance for prosperity among the younger generations. As we are now becoming a country that is losing its hold as the dominate superpower, we in turn need to look for innovative methods to generate success within our own borders. This is difficult as long as we keep electing the ultra-conservatives into office who have the mentality that “their great-granddaddy did it this way, and their granddaddy did too, so did their daddy and by golly they will to.”

  9. Talking with classmates, the general understanding is that once anyone obtains their degree, they need to move outside of Idaho to be successful. This is the general thought for any degree plan other than criminal justice, which pretty much guarantees a job upon completion of the degree. So essentially anyone who graduates with a degree that matters, moves out of Idaho.

  10. As you say that Thomas Idaho has growth and people moving here from California to retire.

  11. Guardian makes a good point but leaves out the big picture of macroeconomics.

    That money wasn’t frittered, it was spent at a time when consumer spending had dropped so much that it threatened a vicious spiral of deflation which is worse than inflation. Just ask the Japanese about deflation.

    Zippo, I’d agree that the government shouldn’t bailout banks but the 2008 TARP Act was without a shadow of a doubt absolutely necessary to prevent the collapse of the entire world’s financial system.

    Like it or not, our world, all the conveniences of the modern world depend on Fractional Reserve Banking. It’s a glorified pyramid scheme and all pyramid schemes are doomed to collapse without very careful oversight and regulation.

    Thomas makes a good point about feudalism in Idaho.

  12. If anyone on here thinks that we can lure businesses to Idaho without state and local subsidies, think again. Every state in this country is competing for jobs. Idaho does and will continue to subsidize business, as long as it pulls a plow, eats grain or grass and produces manure we’re all over it. Unforuntately, most college graduates don’t want milk cows or shovel manure.

    Zippo- if you think mining, timber or nuclear energy is going to revive Idaho, you’re living in some by gone era. Personally, I appreciate Idaho’s legacy of wild and clean running rivers over super fund sites. by the way there are at least three active ones in Idaho right now. I appreciate the salmon and steelhead runs over barren hill sides and silt laden streams. Past timbeer pracrices sealed their own doom. Nuclear energy will never work in the US. It is too expensive and environementally sensitive, it is a viable energy source elsewhere, but will nnot in our future. Why risk it, cheap natural gas, wind and solar energy do work.

    Idaho legisltaures are more interested in reelection than progress. For decades we have refused to invest in our infrastructre i.e. education and highways. We refuse to recognize that in order to grow and prosper requires, absolutely requires investment into our future. For some reason, we seem to be scared of what education and growth might bring.

    Yes, we are growing, at least locally. Idaho is great place to retire and to tele commute from. However, our growth will be in the service industries and small business not technology or manufacturing.
    That’s the way our elected officals want it and apparently most of our residents too.

  13. @Dave, just stiring the pot. It’s fun to see the ideas that come from it.

    I think the biggest issue we have in Idaho and America is that our leaders and managers are selfish and often apparently stupid too. they have allowed too many riding in the wagon and not enough pulling it. It’s a good way to get votes in the short-term. The problem is easy to see when looking at the ever increasing percentage of budgets going to overhead.

    As for Boise, the only reason we ever had big employers like Micron here is because it was where the original money people lived. The money people are now mostly dead and we are discovering that Idaho is not a good location for much other than call centers, military training, mining, and timber production — aka the same as it was in 1970.

    I think if all the folk who moved here to build houses were to move away again we’d have a nice place to retire. Very low home prices/taxes and a lifetime supply of firewood from all the abandon homes.

    However, if we make our airport bigger than LAX everything will be in the black again right?

  14. Hey all–didn’t I hear this morning on the radio that the new Greek yogurt, Chobani Company, slated for Idaho Falls, got some “welcome” money from the state fund?

    JOKI–It is in TWIN Falls and they got lots of breaks including urban renewal funds.

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