Boise's Mayor Says To Attract Top Talent, City Must Invest In Itself

Jun 13, 2013

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter
Credit Dave Bieter's Facebook Page / City of Boise

Boise's mayor said Wednesday the city needs to invest in its infrastructure as a means of improving quality of life, and in turn, economic development.

In his 10th State of the City address, Mayor Dave Bieter proposed a bond election that would ask residents pay $40 to $50 million more in taxes to improve city facilities.

Watch Bieter's 2013 State of the City address courtesy of the City of Boise.

Bieter wants to use the money to add and upgrade fire and police infrastructure, build new parks on existing park spaces, and a new neighborhood library in southeast Boise. He told KBSX the city should continue its effort to secure more of the adjacent foothills for public use while land prices are relatively low.

Bieter says showing potential new residents and companies that Boise is investing in itself will give the city a better chance of business recruitment.

"We're pushing for high-skilled, high-paying jobs," he says. "We've had some real success in the city doing that. But if we're going to continue that run, the people in those industries both here and that might be coming here, they need to know that we're committed."

Beiter was critical of the state's economic development approach, which has included cutting taxes and spending in hopes of making the cost of doing business lower.  That mayor says as a result, Idaho has a the highest percentage of jobs in the country that pay minimum wage

"We need to counter the low road of economic development with the high road of high skills and investments," Bieter says. "From libraries to parks, to more foothills property, those amenities draw first rate talent and keep it here."

Bieter made his comments at the same time Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says he wants the state to cut taxes for the third-straight year in 2014.  The mayor's remarks also came the same day an Idaho legislative report was released that suggests lawmakers should consider more than just tax rates when setting business tax policy.  

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