Idaho Falls was worried the Senate might ice the puck and stop their efforts
The Associated Press reports that the Idaho Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee, in a squeaker of a vote at 5-4, approved a measure that would cap the taxable value of a possible Areva uranium enrichment plant near Idaho Falls at $400 million if the company invests at least $1 billion within seven years.
AP reports the committee also voted 7-2 to approve a separate bill to extend a sales tax exemption for production equipment that handles nuclear fuel. The two bills now go to the full Senate. The House has already approved both measures. Idaho Falls officials and building groups statewide are pulling out all the stops to land Areva's $2 billion plant.
Areva has said it will make a decision within a few weeks on where to build the plant. The potential sites are in Washington, Ohio, Texas, New Mexico and Idaho. The company has promoted the need for tax incentives in all of the states, but has been particularly vocal about the need for Idaho to "be competitive." With high level Areva executives visiting all five states to promote the best possible terms for the company, the result is a mad scramble for the plant that has all the elegance of a face off in the second to last game of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Back in Idaho opposition to the measure reportedly came from Senators who worried that one of Idaho's biggest employers, Micron Technologies of Boise, would now come to the legislature for the same deal. In 2005, lawmakers limited the taxable property valuation for Micron's semiconductor plant to $800 million, double Areva's limit should the new bill become law.
Economic development groups in Idaho Falls are probably knocking back a few double scotches tonight because they are still in the game.