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Ag companies ask about new tax credit

Sean Ellis
An Idaho tax incentive bill recently signed into law includes the main elements of a previously proposed Ag Jobs bill that enjoyed widespread support from the state's farm community but failed to pass during the 2012 and 2013 legislative sessions.

BOISE — Several agricultural companies have already asked state economic development officials how they could use a new tax incentive that was recently signed into law.

The Idaho Reimbursement Incentive Act provides a tax credit of up to 30 percent for up to 15 years on corporate, income and sales taxes paid as a result of a new project that creates a minimum of 50 jobs in an urban area or 20 in a rural area.

There is no limit on the amount of the credit and it’s available to new and existing businesses.

Idaho Department of Commerce Director Jeff Sayer said he has received a lot of phone calls from businesses around the state asking about the incentive, including several farm-related companies.

“This is a tool that will help the Magic Valley, for example, to grow its dairy and ag sector even further,” he said. “We’ve already been talking with (people) in that valley and they’re very much aware of this and I do think it’s going to be a great tool for them.”

Sayer said the incentive could be used by ag companies to bring more research jobs to the state.

“This is a way that Chobani and Glanbia and others who are trying to invest in the research side of things can be rewarded for bringing their research jobs to Idaho,” he said.

The bill, which passed the House 61-7 and the Senate 28-6, was signed into law April 3 by Gov. Butch Otter.

“There are a lot of expectations for this bill, expectations of success,” said Otter, a rancher.

The bill, which is effective July 1, accomplishes much of what a previously proposed Ag Jobs bill did. Sayer said elements of that bill were blended into the new one.

The Ag Jobs bill, which was authored by Sen. Roy Lacey, D-Pocatello, and Rep. Donna Pence, D-Gooding, was supported by virtually all of Idaho’s main farm groups.

Despite enjoying widespread support, it failed to pass the legislature in 2012 and 2013. Lacey said he and Pence opted to hold their bill this year when Sayer explained what the new bill accomplished.

“We planted the idea,” Lacey said. “But Jeff worked really hard on this bill and … it’s a great concept. Who gets the credit doesn’t make any difference to me.”

Lacey said the main differences are that Sayer’s bill has no credit cap, it is based on taxes paid as opposed to capital outlays and it doesn’t apply only to agriculture.

Idaho Grain Producers Association Executive Director Travis Jones said farm groups that supported Lacey and Pence’s bill also supported Sayer’s bill.

“It takes a more broad approach but the core elements of Sen. Lacey’s bill are reflected in that bill and we (support) it as well,” he said. “It was a win-win whichever bill made it through.”



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