SkyWest maintenance facility to bring high-paying jobs

SkyWest maintenance facility

BOISE --- A new piece of legislation that took effect in July is being called a game changer for the Idaho economy.

It's a tax break designed to attract businesses to Boise. And this week, we found out it's already working.

SkyWest is building a new airport maintenance facility at the Boise Airport, and the owners say the tax change is the reason they chose Boise.

SkyWest is going to build a new 135,000 square-foot facility to work on planes.

But those with the Idaho Department of Commerce say Boise will now be put on the map when it comes to news business ventures. The tax break is the reason.

Bare land on the south side of the Boise Airport provides plenty of room for growth.

"It truly is more of an investment in our community from an outside company," said Boise Airport Director Rebecca Hupp.

She is thinking about what this means in the long term.

"It means that we will be accelerating our development of the south side of the field, and extending a taxiway and bringing to Boise our important stakeholders," said Hupp.

That stakeholder is SkyWest.

Idaho Commerce Director Jeff Sayer says SkyWest could have gone anywhere but they chose Boise to build their aircraft maintenance facility.

"Just the quality of jobs that are coming to Idaho is a really big win for us," said Sayer.

But without the work of the Legislature this year, he says this would never have happened.

Lawmakers passed Idaho's new Tax Reimbursement Incentive. Now, businesses like SkyWest will receive a 30 percent tax credit for the term of their project.

But the annual wage must exceed the average wage of the county and the community must make a match. The city of Boise is giving more than $2.5 million to this project.

"It is putting Idaho in the game, we have referred to it as a game changer, but it is literally putting Idaho on the map in a way that we have never been considered for projects before because we didn't have competing incentives, but now we have competing incentives and you are going to see Idaho included in more and more projects going forward," said Sayer.

Sayer says already new businesses are eyeing Idaho.

But people are always asking about new air service, Hupp says this facility will ensure flights are coming our way.

"Because of the type of facility that it is, SkyWest will be able to maintain larger aircraft here, which might mean that some of our aircraft are actually increased in size," said Hupp.

When the project is fully staffed, the economic impact to the state could be more than $5 million a year in wages.

Idaho's tax reimbursement incentive was modeled after Utah's. Since they have been doing this, they have reportedly seen billions in new payroll come into their economy.

This is the first project to use the tax break. We are told many more will be forthcoming.


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