This morning, Idaho’s largest industry lobby introduced a bill to eliminate the personal property tax on businesses, at a five year conservative an annual cost to the state of $110 to $120 million, after a five year phase-in starting next year.
The bill comes a day after Micron announced vague future plans to locate a new fabrication plant in Boise. The Idaho Statesman reminded readers this morning that in 2005 Micron made a similar announcement and received a major break on property taxes from the Legislature.
PaleoMedia.org received a copy of a “Dear Friends” email circulated last week by Micron’s government affairs office, a million dollar plus operation, that is asserting the company’s continued positive relations with Idaho government figures. The email is a response to an Idaho Statesman business blog entry from Ken Dey:
“I also find it interesting that the sudden support of this company shows how much Micron appears to have lost its luster with the Legislature.
No one in the Legislature from the Governor on down is giving any indication that they want to help Micron through its recent troubles. I’ve actually heard that Micron has asked for help, but legislators have balked.”
Of course, the state sets it’s budget with an eye to Micron’s success or failure and Micron insiders are well-represented within the Governor’s office and at the Statehouse. And as the email below indicates, Micron still gets plenty of attention from the state — weekly check-ins, in fact.
That’s the set-up for the debate on eliminating the personal business property tax that is coming down the line… the email below offers some insights into Idaho’s largest employer’s chances…
From: Mike [sic]
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2008 11:49 PM
Subject: Idaho State Government and Micron
I am dropping you this note today to correct some misinformation showing up in “blogs” and “opinion pages” of reporters who follow Idaho’s public policy process. Unfortunately, if you don’t stamp out a rumor right away, it tends to grow.
In the wake of some of the economic stimulus proposals being discussed at the Capitol Annex, there have been claims that Micron is being ignored or snubbed by the Governor and State Legislature. There have also been claims that somehow the Legislature and Governor have balked when Micron has asked for help.
For the record there is no truth in these claims.
To expand on this, during the last year, the Governor has personally met – on multiple occasions – with Micron’s leadership. As we have discussed the current economics of our industry, his first reaction has always been, “How can Idaho help?”.
I should also clarify that these meetings have occurred due to the Governor reaching out to Micron. He has worked hard to develop an understanding of Micron’s business and our volatile industry. He has learned about our manufacturing processes, our investment decisions, our research and development efforts, our strategic partnerships with other companies, our employee programs — you name it, he has asked the questions.
In addition, the Idaho Department of Commerce, the Idaho Department of Labor and multiple members of the Governor’s staff contact me on a weekly basis to get an update on our business and offer any assistance that we may need.
And the buck doesn’t stop at the executive branch. The members of the Idaho State Legislature read the same newspapers and Internet reports that you do. They are fully aware that the semiconductor industry is in a downturn and that Micron has taken necessary steps to cope with these difficult times and remain competitive.
Like the Governor, the overwhelming response from the Legislature is, “How can Idaho help?”
It isn’t just one or two Boise-area legislators·. This support has come from legislators throughout the state. They offer encouragement and optimism. They seem to feel a pride of ownership with respect to Micron as so many are aware of our humble beginnings as a small Idaho business.
Personally, I applaud the efforts of the state to provide economic stimulus to employers. They are aware that other states and countries are aggressively trying to lure current and future employers away from Idaho. Instead of giving up, our state government continues to make jobs and a strong economy a priority as they develop public policy.
I started out writing a brief note to dispel a rumor and let a few of my friends know that Micron and Idaho’s government officials continue to have a strong partnership. I have probably exceeded the “brief” part, but I hope the message comes through.
Idaho Government Affairs Manager
Micron Technology, Inc.