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Posted on  

July 25, 2003

Oregon gets Ethanol Plant

Robbie Johnson
Idaho's NewsChannel 7

BOISE - An $80 million dollar ethanol plant once proposed for Idaho will be built in Oregon instead.

Idaho showed all its cards to ethanol plant backers, but it wasn't enough to lure the business to the Gem state.

To get the plant, Oregon is waiving property taxes for the next 5 years. A perk Idaho didn't offer. The incentives to locate in Ontario added up to about $28 million and made the decision to go to Oregon easy, said Hamilton.

"The incentive program the Oregon governors council community solutions team put together was very impressive," said John Hamilton, the Project Manager.

The company had hoped to locate the plant in Payette County, but those efforts fell apart in May. That's when county commissioners could not agree on a zoning change that would have cleared the way for the plant. Idaho even offered some perks too.

"You know in Idaho the best thing we have for companies are number one low cost of operation and from there we don't have a lot of cash give aways kind of incentive programs," said Cliff Long with the Idaho Department of Commerce.

Long says there is a training fund that can help companies out.

"Then we have a great tax investment credit in Idaho that can help companies reduce their income tax when they make a new capital investment."

Hamilton says without a property tax waiver, the incentives in Idaho only added up to about one point $8 million.

The Idaho legislature has rejected the idea of property tax waivers because the state needs the tax revenue.

"In tight revenue times it gives away property tax revenue and you have to make the tough decision. Do we want investment or do we want that tax revenue?," said Long.

Hamilton says Idaho farmers will still benefit because the plant will use local crops to make ethanol, which will then be sold for use in vehicles.

The ethanol plant will be located in a wheat field near Ontario. It will employ 60 full time employees. Construction is set to begin next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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