Idaho

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Idaho Continues Its Rural Population Decline

The small town of Fairfield, Idaho

New census numbers released this week reinforce something we’ve known for a while: Idaho continues to lose population in rural communities. In 1990, 59 percent of Idahoans lived in cities. Last year, that number was 69 percent. “A third of the city population gain in 2012 came in Ada County, where the suburban community of [...]

Idaho Farmers Make Adjustments As Dry Conditions Set In

Last August, a pivot irrigation system on Jim Tiede's farm gave his potato crop a steady spray of water.

Last year, many of Idaho’s irrigated farmers fared well despite dry conditions because snow and rainfall the year before left reservoirs full. This year the picture is different. There’s less carryover — the term water managers use to describe the water that remains in reservoirs from the previous year — and dry conditions persist. Farmer [...]

Nixing Personal Property Tax Would “Devastate” One Eastern Idaho County

Power County Hospital Administrator Dallas Clinger

This week, we’re devoting some time to understanding Idaho’s business personal property tax. Ending that tax is a priority for the governor and some of the state’s biggest businesses. But it generates millions for local government. Yesterday, we explained what the personal property tax is. Today, we go to Power County, in eastern Idaho. Local [...]

Idaho County And City Leaders Brace For Personal Property Tax Debate

The Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry's Alex LaBeau introduced a bill to phase out Idaho's personal property tax over a seven-year period.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and prominent state legislators have lined up behind the idea of eliminating or scaling back Idaho’s personal property tax.  The issue was high on the agenda as local government leaders came together at an Association of Idaho Cities meeting on Friday. Nearly all property tax dollars collected in Idaho are collected [...]

Aberdeen, Idaho Anxious About Simplot Closure And Personal Property Tax Repeal

Aberdeen's mayor, Morgan Anderson, at a local American Legion Auxiliary event earlier this year

Tomorrow, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and a half-dozen state officials will visit a small eastern Idaho town of fewer than 2,000 people.  That town – Aberdeen – will be Idaho’s Capital for a Day.  Mayor Morgan Anderson says he hopes to use some of the time to explain to state leaders why he’s concerned for [...]

Rural Idaho Faces Diminished Federal Grant Dollars

Rural Idaho communities have struggled with high unemployment, stalled home construction, and shrinking school budgets since the onset of the recession.  Add to that list dwindling federal grant dollars. StateImpact reported in April that funding for the Idaho Community Development Block Grant Program has been cut by a quarter in recent years, leaving the state [...]

Idaho’s Uninsured: Rural Counties Post Highest Rates

To see the Census Bureau's interactive map and full data set, click on the image above.

In five Idaho counties, at least 29 percent of residents are uninsured.  In two — Clark and Owyhee — the rate tops 32 percent.  That’s much above Idaho’s state average of 20.3 percent, which is itself higher than the national average of just over 16 percent. The county-level data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s [...]

How Funding Rural Idaho Schools Became ‘Not Unlike a Barn-Raising’

Council High School's mascot -- the lumberjack -- represents Council's heritage as a timber town.

Sitting on the ground in an overgrown forest outside of Council, Idaho, a couple of weeks ago, logger Mark Mahon strayed from the main subject of conversation.  He was talking about how logging companies like the one he owns with his parents and brother have fared in recent years, but he began talking about the [...]

Idaho Communities Compete For Dollars As Grant Funds Drop

Fairfield, above, and Twin Falls were among the many communities approved for grant funding.

Twin Falls needs to upgrade its water system to meet the demands of the new Chobani Yogurt plant.  Fairfield needs a new pump, because its water pressure is so low that bacteria builds up in its pipes.  They’re just two of the communities applying for a decreasing pool of federal grant funding. For Idaho cities [...]

Rural Idaho Continues To Shrink

Fairfield, Idaho

Rural Idaho counties are becoming, well, rural-er. New data from the U.S. Census Bureau show populations continue to decline in rural parts of the state. Census numbers released this week look at population movement between 2010 and 2011.  According to the Idaho Department of Labor’s analysis, more counties lost population over that year than at [...]

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