Idaho’s low cost of living, lax environmental regulations, and large number of subsidy programs make it an attractive location for technology companies. Those include economic development subsidies are a tax credit for investment in machinery and equipment, a sales tax exemption for data centers, and a discretionary deal-closing grant.
Most of Idaho’s incentive programs are administered by the Department of Commerce, and a few by the Tax Commission. The costliest among those for which costs are known is the 3 Percent Investment Tax Credit—an as-of-right credit that eligible companies can claim without going through a competitive award process.
Idaho’s transparency is poor among states. Recipient-level disclosures are absent for all but one program, “Tax Reimbursement Incentive,” and even for that one, many deals are referred to by project code names so as to hide company names.
The Idaho Tax Commission does publish tax expenditures but not in the most systematic manner. Income and Sales Tax deductions and credits are just pages extracted out of the General Fund Revenue Book detailing all types of tax revenues. Summary analyses can be found in the Commission’s annual reports and what are called “tax burden studies.” Some Idaho local governments report tax abatements in accordance with Statement No. 77 but only a handful of school districts (out of nearly 100) do.
Idaho does not review or evaluate any of its incentive programs. The annual reports for the “Tax Reimbursement Incentive” include some cost-and-benefit information and independently audited financial statements for program funds, but there is no independent analysis of the program’s effectiveness.