Bringing the Economy Home

Farewell, StateImpact Idaho

Reporters Emilie Ritter Saunders, Molly Messick, and Boise State Public Radio news director Sadie Babits.

Becky Lettenberger / NPR StateImpact

Reporters Emilie Ritter Saunders, Molly Messick, and Boise State Public Radio news director Sadie Babits.

On August 29, 2011 StateImpact Idaho wrote this welcome post, introducing ourselves to the state, and explaining the stories we hoped to tell. Now, just shy of two years later, we’re signing off.

Don’t worry, this site will remain here as an archive, and we hope, as a resource. But it will no longer be updated daily. For continued in-depth coverage of Idaho, please turn to Boise State Public Radio.

StateImpact Idaho, a collaboration of Boise State Public Radio and NPR, set out to tell the stories of Idahoans affected by the Great Recession and the state policy decisions (or indecisions) that most directly affected their daily lives.

We told you about the negative impact cuts to Idaho’s Medicaid program were having on people. We explored the Boise-metro housing market after a boom and bust shattered bits of the regional economy. And we shed light on the state’s economic recovery policies.

In the last two years, we’ve produced 73 radio features, nearly 900 web stories, almost 100 data charts and tables, 69 topic explainers, and 11 interactive maps. All of this work earned us 23 state and regional journalism awards. If we had to boil it all down to the very best of, here’s what you can’t miss.

  • Jobless In Idaho: We followed a handful of Idahoans through their quest to find work after being laid off, back from war, or starting from scratch. The series included 14 stories told in a 23-month time span and an interactive app.
  • Bottom Rung: The number of minimum wage jobs in Idaho grew 60 percent in one year. We wanted to know why. This 14-piece series explores the educational gap, state policy, and population change that’s contributing to the abundance of minimum wage, low wage, and low skill jobs in Idaho.
  • Doctor Shortage: Idaho doesn’t have enough doctors, and the shortage is expected to get worse as aging physicians hang up their stethoscopes. This 8-piece series explains why it’s tough to recruit doctors to Idaho, and what’s being done to shift the trend.
  • Personal Property Tax: Idaho has long been trying to ax its equipment tax on businesses. In 2012, it got close. The state eliminated the personal property tax for 90 percent of businesses, while keeping the majority of the revenue in place. We explained what would happen if the tax was eliminated, who would be affected, and what drove policy makers to cast their votes.
  • Mapping Migration: After two decades of intense growth, Idaho’s population boom seems to have slowed. The population grew by less than 1 percent in 2012. We mapped where Idahoans are moving, and who is moving in.
  • Idaho’s Old Industries: For much of Idaho’s history, the economy has been driven by agriculture, mining, and timber extraction. The 21st Century has changed how those old industries work, their scope, and their economic impact.
  • Education Funding: The share of state tax dollars funding public education in Idaho has sharply declined in the last decade. That’s leaving many districts to raise their own money, and rely on voters to approve it. Every economist and business leader we’ve spoken to in the last two years says a thriving public school system is the best way to rebuild Idaho’s economy.

Thank you for your continued support of StateImpact Idaho.



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StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
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