Bringing the Economy Home


Video: Governor Otter Responds to Areva Announcement

As we reported yesterday, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter says plans for Areva’s Idaho uranium enrichment facility are moving forward.

But the CEO of the French energy company announced Tuesday its uranium enrichment plant near Idaho Falls is on hold.

“The assurances that I got from the folks over there when I called them, said that’s not the case, that the headline is totally misleading,” Otter says.  “The enrichment project is going forward…in fact it’s fully funded through 2012.”

Here’s Governor Otter’s reaction:

The Associated Press reports the vice president of communications for Areva North America, Laurence Pernot, said the announcement should not be interpreted as a decision to abandon future plans in Idaho.

“With a growing market in the United States … this remains a very solid and robust project and we stay committed to it,” Pernot said. “This may impact the construction schedule. But we will continue to work this year on design and pre-construction activities.”

The company has already bought the land and invested significant resources in hopes of beginning construction in early 2012 and to be up and running by 2014. Company officials and economists projected the construction would create several thousand jobs, 700 permanent jobs during operation and join the Idaho National Laboratory as one of the primary drivers of the eastern Idaho economy.

Ketchum Coffee Shop Wins National Video Contest

A Ketchum, Idaho business is one of 36 winners in a nationwide contest sponsored by American Express and Google.  The Idaho Department of Commerce announced today Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee is one winner in the My Business Story contest.

Here is Liz Roquet’s winning video:

The Department of Commerce reports Roquet won a $5,000 digital media plan for her coffee shop courtesy of American Express and Google.

“We’re so excited to have been selected as one of the contest winners, and love the efforts behind the Shop Small promotion,” says Liz Roquet, Owner of Lizzy’s Fresh coffee. “Small businesses across the country are a core asset to their local communities. I hope people are inspired by the diverse and unique small businesses featured as the 36 contest winners, and make an effort shop at a small businesses.”

Lizzy’s Fresh Coffee was founded in 2008.

New Business Filings Decline in Idaho, Nationwide

A prominent DC-based think-tank says real growth in U.S. jobs is attributed primarily to new startup companies, not existing small businesses.  The Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization, reports most jobs created in the last 30 years have come from young, new enterprises.  In the video below, Brookings Senior Fellow Robert Litan says the age of a business is a better predictor of its job-creating potential than the size of that business.  Many successful startups began during periods of economic trouble, he adds.

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Assessing the Local Impact of the New Mortgage Refinancing Plan

We here at StateImpact have been trying to get a sense of the potential local impact of the expansion of a federal mortgage refinancing program, announced last week.  The program is intended to allow underwater borrowers to refinance, but only if they are up-to-date on their payments, and only if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac acquired the loan before June 2009.

Nicolas Asfouri / Getty Images

Twenty-three percent of all mortgaged properties in Idaho were underwater at the end of June, according to the most recent negative equity report from financial data firm CoreLogic.  Finding out what percentage of those homeowners are current on their payments and might be able to take advantage of the new program is more difficult.  Until the lender sends a notice of default or begins the foreclosure process, that information is between the borrower and the lender.  “I want to know this answer more than you do,” said Mark Lebowitz, Executive Officer of the Ada County Association of RealtorsContinue Reading

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