BOISE -- It's no secret Idahoans have been hit hard by the recession. Many people are still without work.
Today at the Statehouse, Democratic lawmakers introduced their plan to change that.
Democrats presented their package called IJobs 2.0. It's a group of policies they believe could put more Idahoans back to work. The proposals range from making it easier for start-up companies to get loans to rewarding businesses that bring new companies to the state.
Here are the six proposals:
The Value-Added Agriculture and Farmer Empowerment Act is designed to encouraged farmers and ranchers to invest in more processing plants and cooperatives. Democrats believe this would cut down on costs and create new jobs. Under the proposal, Idaho farmers and ranchers would be given a 50 percent tax credit for every dollar they invest toward agricultural processing facilities or cooperatives.
The Idaho Partnership Bank would make more capital available to small businesses by partnering with local community banks. Democrats modeled this proposal after a successful model in North Dakota.
The Business Relocation and Finder's Fee Tax Credit rewards Idaho businesses that convince companies to relocate to Idaho. If a company can get a partner or vendor to move into Idaho, it and the company that is relocating would be eligible for a $500 tax credit for each full-time employee hired by the relocating business for two years.
The Idaho Corporate Accountability and Transparency Act would require public disclosure of tax incentives given to corporations. Democrats want companies to release the amount of tax incentives and how many jobs have been created with that money.
The Buy Idaho First Contracting Act would allow state agencies to give preference to Idaho companies when awarding contracts. Democrats want contracts to go to Idaho companies even if their bids are 5 percent higher than the lowest bidder.
The Micro Enterprise Bridge Loan Program would help small businesses and start-ups get loans of up to $35,000 by resources created through public and private stakeholders.
Democrats said right now more than 60,000 people in Idaho are unemployed. They see IJobs 2.0 as the first steps toward job growth.
"That is what we are trying to do here is to get this economy moving again, to get more jobs and proactively taking steps that are going to create prosperity in communities throughout the state," said Rep. Brian Cronin, D-Boise.
Democrats did not say how much their proposals will cost.
We spoke to Republican leadership in both the House and Senate, but lawmakers had not seen the specifics of IJobs 2.0 so they did not want to comment until they have looked over the proposal.
Three of the proposals have been introduced by lawmakers as personal bills, but none of them have been heard in committee yet.