Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Democratic proposals will create jobs


Rep. Wendy Jaquet and I recently held town meetings in Gooding, Camas, Lincoln and Blaine Counties. We heard much concern about the economy and the effects it is having on our schools, our parks, our public television programming, our businesses and worst of all our families whose breadwinner is unemployed. People wanted to know what is being done about job creation. Replacing those 60,000 Idaho jobs that have been lost is the cornerstone of getting our economy rolling again.

Idaho Jobs and Opportunity Blueprint, or I-JOBS, is a plan for our future offered by the Democrats in the Legislature. It is a package of six pieces of legislation that contain specific benefits for small business job development, tax incentives for job creation and help for small businesses seeking capital. They were focused on small business because that's traditionally where the majority of new jobs are created. The six bills are outlined below:

· Each year Idaho sends almost $3 billion out of state to purchase energy. That money and those jobs should stay in Idaho. The Grow Green Idaho Jobs Act, SB 1273, is focused on the fact that Idaho is blessed with a variety of renewable resources that, if developed, will create jobs throughout the state.

· To cultivate new and additional jobs, the 2010 Idaho Jobs Council Act, SB 1274, directs an advisory council comprised of both governmental and private representatives to make recommendations on job growth. It will bring new energy and directives for Idaho's businesses.

· Eighty percent of Idaho's workforce is employed by small business. The Idaho Home Grown Business and Jobs Act, SB 1275, directs the Department of Labor to provide useful market intelligence to small businesses. This act will allow small businesses to better compete with large corporations.

Also included in the I-JOBs package are three additional House bills that will be introduced to committee.

· The Idaho Small Business Venture Capital Investment Act creates jobs by increasing access to capital for small businesses and offers a tax credit to venture capitalists who invest in Idaho companies.

· Starting a new company is time and energy consuming. Businesses are often in need of additional resources to get their business off the ground. The Small Business Incubator and Jobs Act directs the departments of Commerce and Labor to focus existing low-cost resources to startup companies.

· The Small Business Jobs Development Act intends to jumpstart job creation for long-term, livable wages. Long-term job creation is dependent upon serious investment in Idaho's workers along with an innovative environment. This act will accelerate the creation of jobs for small businesses by providing a tax credit for jobs paying $35,000 per year or more and health benefits.

So far the legislative response has been to cut so we have a balanced budget. While this is necessary, why not simultaneously invest in steps to turn the economy around? This lemon of an economy may be an opportunity to grow a 21st-century economy that uses the creativity, talents and work ethic inherent in Idaho. I-JOBS is a vision of how to accomplish this. We invite our colleagues in the Legislature to join in, add to and improve this blueprint. Working together we can move Idaho forward.

Rep. Donna Pence, D-Gooding, represents District 25 in the Idaho House of Representatives.

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