NEWS RELEASE: For Immediate Release
Contact: Megan Ronk | Idaho Commerce | 208.334.2470 | email
Governor Otter Signs Legislation Establishing the Idaho Opportunity Fund
BOISE, Idaho—Monday, March 28, 2013— In a signing ceremony that included bill sponsors and supporters, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed House Bill 100 today, establishing the Idaho Opportunity Fund.
“We extend our sincere appreciation to both the Governor and Legislature for their confidence in the Idaho Department of Commerce’s ability to strategically invest these precious grant dollars,” Commerce Director Jeffery Sayer said. “This new model for grants will enhance our ability to support critical economic development projects that will take us one step closer to achieving and exceeding the goals of Project 60.”
The Idaho Opportunity Fund will enhance the state’s competitive ability to support the expansion of existing Idaho businesses and recruit new companies to the state, ultimately creating new jobs and spurring economic growth in the state.
“This performance-driven tool for creating jobs and economic opportunity is the direct result of how collaboratively and effectively Jeff and his team at Commerce work with local leaders and economic development professionals,” Governor Otter said. “Having the flexibility and the resources to respond to local infrastructure needs that enable growth is a big part of how Commerce can help Idaho’s economy get closer to achieving our unlimited potential.”
The Opportunity Fund and the corresponding $3 million in one-time funding recommended by the Governor and the Legislature’s Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee will provide a critical infusion of new grant resources to Commerce. Grants will be awarded to communities to support public infrastructure needs associated with qualified job creation projects.
“On behalf of the Boise Valley Economic Partnership, I am pleased that Idaho is taking a significant step in positioning our state for future economic prosperity,” said Clark Krause, Executive Director of BVEP. “It’s another tool for BVEP and our fellow economic development offices across the state to utilize in ensuring that big ideas continue to grow here.”
Similar to grant programs in other states that have demonstrated a strong return on investment, the Opportunity Fund includes three critical components including a community match requirement; the ability to negotiate customized grant agreements between the state, municipality, and company; and most importantly a performance-based criteria that ensures grant funds will not be deployed until the company delivers on its promises for job creation and capital investment.
House Bill 100 received strong support from the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, the Idaho Chamber Alliance, Jobs for Idaho and many local economic development organizations throughout the state.