Lament Of A Growthophobe (A Rant)

The GUARDIAN created the word “growthophobe,” welcomed new people and businesses if they wished to pay their fair share of taxes and offer good wages. Otherwise relocate elsewhere.

Meanwhile local politico mothers and fathers work overtime to attract more population, cars, trains, planes, and buses through “incentives.” They want those of us who live here to finance their addictive habit.

As budget approval times approach for local governments, tax increases are coming and expansion of everything from schools to roads, coppers, city workers and traffic are imminent.

Those of us who have lived here and revere the lifestyle, weather, and culture of SW Idaho are an endangered species. In a nutshell we are being exploited by outside forces and have to pay the bill so developers and other “birds of prey” can flourish.

We often hear the cry, “We have been discovered and we can’t keep people from moving here!” True, but we shouldn’t have to PAY them to come here. Paylocity posted a testimonial on a chamber of commerce site which is worth noting:

“In Boise’s favor were state incentives like a Workforce Development Training Fund, a reimbursement program to help cover the costs of training and onboarding initiatives, and a Tax Reimbursement Incentive (TRI) of 28 percent for 15 years. TRI is an incentive available to new or existing Idaho companies that create 50 or more high-wage jobs in Idaho. Companies have the ability to receive a reimbursement on their payroll, sales and corporate income taxes up to 30 percent for a maximum of 15 years. TRI is awarded to companies that prove their stability and significant economic impact to the industry, community and state.”

Wouldn’t we ALL like to have a 28 percent tax kickback for 15 years?

To top it off, the land was formerly agricultural cropland. Meridian made it an urban renewal agency and none of the taxes on the multimillion dollar buildings go to schools, ACHD, the city or the county. Sadly, the scenario is repeated over and over.

In the annual budget competition between local governments to see who can offer the most “savings,” Ada County is this year’s winner. The commishes budget includes a $12M cut in property taxes. Don’t hold your breath because future budgets can “clawback” the foregone taxing authority. Just ask the Ada County Highway District.

ACHD is faced with dozens of needed road projects and they are exploring to use that clawback feature to add $7.5 million cash to their bank account. See this BoiseDev piece.

Boise City has approved a $276.2 million budget to include 44 new hires in various departments–because of growth. Officials predict a 29% tax hike.

All these new people and companies need a bigger airport with more flights. Alaska Airlines has a deal with the University of idaho to pay the carrier if their new route to Moscow-Pullman is not profitable. Also, we wonder about the “incentives” offered to airlines for new flight routes. Do they pay landing and gate fees like everyone else?

In summary, when local government works against the will of the citizens thinking they are “creating jobs” and “competing with other cities,” they are destroying our culture and a way of life that has been eroded almost to the point of destruction.

When growth is the number one concern of society it is counter- productive to encourage growth. The politicos have caused the price of housing to climb out of sight and then they strive to build some cheap housing to take care of the problem they themselves created.
They create that which they seek to escape.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Foregone Revenue
    Jul 28, 2021, 12:12 am

    The 2 new Ada County Commissioners should prove they really mean long-term property tax relief by voting to not “clawback” the foregone revenue. That will prove they mean it today and in the future.

  2. “Pay their fair share”
    What exactly does that mean? Anything like “a livable wage”?

    Does a retiree pay their fair share when they get a property tax reduction because their income is low?

    Does a family of 8 kids pay their fair share for the school budget?

    Does a farmer getting govt subsidies pay their fair share?

    Does a doctor getting their student loan forgiven pay their fair share?

    Does a paper-jockey veteran pay their fair share with free health care?

    When the Meridian farmer cashes out for 10 million dollars from the developer, do they pay their fair share?

    Better to grow than to die.

  3. The TRI program is also available for existing businesses EXPANDING in Idaho.

    It is also for areas of Idaho other than just Ada County.

    I bet folks in Burley, Lewiston, and Greenleaf appreciate the new jobs.

    More info at:

  4. Wow is this the same Boise Guardian that had a solution for the Murgoitio Park issue…SELL SELL a developer!!!!

    “The honest way to handle the entire deal would be for the city to sell the Murgoitio Park site at auction, then simply give the Harris folks $15 million cash from the auction proceeds which would logically bring in many millions more than the proposed $15 million trade deal.”

    EDITOR NOTE–Porc, our issue at the time was to kill the TRADE deal and call their bluff on the true intent of the city which was to favor Harris Ranch rather than play by the rules. The city has land all over the place they use for “trading stock” to avoid auctions.

  5. For the politicos wishing to raise taxes, I hate to tell you, but you can’t get blood from a stone. The average person around here is, shall we put it bluntly, broke. In particular, anyone who is paying exorbitant prices for rent or anyone who has bought an overpriced house in the last 5 years is barely scraping by. The selling point of Idaho as an area with a low cost of doing business is not present at the moment. The only thing left attracting people to move here (or buy houses here) is the housing bubble, but that is rapidly fading. I seriously hope the commishes and councilors are preparing for real estate values to get cut in half or more. But if history is any guide, no, they are whistling past the graveyard.

    We had the boom, now enjoy the bust.

  6. I’m still trying to figure out why it is the city government’s, i.e. taxpayers, responsibility to make “affordable” housing available.

  7. Even complete anarchy would be a better form of governance than this convoluted kleptocracy.

  8. Got to love it… our issue was to kill the deal by trying to get the city to put the ground up for action….

  9. Until the city makes a move to regulate short-term rentals, all of their talk about “affordable” housing is just hot air. About 20% of housing sales in the area are to non-owner-occupiers, so placing limits on AirBNBs would go a long way to increasing the supply of long-term rentals and reducing prices. Building more housing units just brings in more real estate gamblers, at least in the short term.

  10. Boise Lawyer
    Jul 28, 2021, 11:02 pm

    ““In Boise’s favor were *STATE* incentives like a Workforce Development Training Fund, a reimbursement program . . .”

    I agree these types of programs are terrible but this isn’t local government issue.

    EDITOR NOTE–You are correct, but LOCALS have to respond with schools, roads, police, fire, etc. and because they created the urban renewal district there is no new tax money. The STATE attracts the newbies and LOCALS have to pay for the resulting demands for services. Time to kill the incentives!

  11. GregN must not be one of the employers trying to hire entry level employees in Boise (or anywhere).

    McCall & Sun Valley have this problem to a bigger degree. GregN would say, “employer, build your own affordable employee housing.” Good luck small business owners.
    Or maybe GregN just lives in the 19th Century.

    FunkHobo69 has a great point. There is some talk within city folk about that issue.

  12. Night Trader
    Jul 29, 2021, 3:56 pm

    So what Villager? GregN makes perfect sense to me. If you can’t pay your entry-level employees enough to live here; guess you don’t belong in business here.

  13. Hard line realities
    Jul 30, 2021, 8:18 am

    I say a quip recently that seemed to ring true.

    In a true capitalistic setting, supply would automatically increase to meet demand.

    At what price is another question. All most landlords can do is sell to the highest bidder.

    Idaho could create a tax solution for this.

  14. Dave your right about those Idaho natives subsidizing out of the area home buyers. Most of your followers would be surprised at the number of investors vs families making the purchases. Of course not to many, if any, families are, developing all the apartments?
    On our street a Californian purchased a home for $380,000 last September, commuted back and forth from CA to work on it. They split the lot and the house sold for $550,000. The lot is listed for sale. Don’t know the asking price.
    That house should be assessed for the sales price of $550,000. THE YEAR OF THE TRANSACTION. It won’t be, not even next year. So the neighbors living in their homes for years CONTINUE TO subsidize Californians exploitation of Boise.
    As far as Boise hiring more bodies I ask you this, do you think some of our appointed and hired public servants aren’t qualified for their position?

  15. Navillus.55
    Aug 1, 2021, 1:53 pm

    I moved here from the Midwest in June 1970 — my husband at the time had grown up in the Nampa/Caldwell area and wanted to return. The population was 79,000 and we bought a two-story almost new house on half-an-acre for $30,000.00. I worked at Albertson’s General Office and I remember the Department Head said he had never paid anyone $100.00 per week and he expected me to do the work of two people. Boise was such a nice place then and no worries what-so-ever about crime or traffic. (I do recall there weren’t any kindergartens in the schools, but that was okay.) Now, I live alone in a much smaller townhome and a lady down the street just sold her unit for $420,000.00. What is happening today in Boise is absolutely crazy !!! If we could only go back to the good ole days…

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: