Idaho Governor Recruits Washington and Oregon Companies – Thanks to Legislatures


March 9, 2010 

Call it brazen. Call it economic development. Whatever your preference, Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter is an opportunist.

In the wake of out-of-control policies and behavior by public officials in Washington and Oregon, he’s issued a press release to recruit companies to his business friendly Idaho.

That’s right, dated Monday, March 8, 2010, the headline reads:


No joke. In capital letters complete with the word “YOUR” in italics, I’ve cut and pasted the headline verbatim.

Here’s an excerpt from his combination “love letter” and news release:

“We now are reaching out to hundreds of Oregon businesses, and will do the same with those in Washington if the legislature there follows Oregon’s lead. We aren’t offering many bells and whistles, but what we can offer is a business-friendly State government, a highly qualified and motivated work force, and communities where people understand that while government cannot be the solution to their problems it can and must be a champion for their own solutions.”

Here’s his salient comment about the Washington State Legislature:

“Legislators in the state of Washington are talking about even bigger tax increases to tackle a budget deficit that figures to be as big as Idaho’s entire State budget. Businesses in both states are like those in Idaho; they are facing the most challenging times in decades, and even incremental cost increases can mean the difference between surviving and closing up.”

About Oregon, he writes: 

“The problem in Oregon is that folks were convinced that state government was what needed to be shored up rather than the jobs- and revenue-producing private sector for which state government is supposed to work. As a result, they’re chasing some of their cash cows to the border. And I welcome those businesses with open arms.”

People have stopped asking me why I write about public policy so much or why I’ve created an Op-Ed category on this Web site. They know significant action is needed for a strong economic climate and the creation of jobs. 

The record is clear. At all levels, government is hindering economic growth and job creation with unproductive policies and behavior.

My hope for Washington state is that voters wake up and smell the coffee for a revolution in this November’s elections and successfully demand government reform – reminiscent of 1994 after the Washington State Legislature imposed huge tax increases on business in 1993. You might recall countless politicians were swept out of office.

Even the Washington State Association of County Assessors took note of the voters’ angst. In Nov. 1994, the association invited me to advise them on media strategies to lower property taxes. Only then-interim King County Assessor Scott Noble opposed me.  As a result in the ensuing legislative session, lawmakers lowered property taxes by 4.7 percent. (Mr. Noble later became the permanent assessor but was driven from office in 2009 after his drunk-driving accident injured two female motorists.)

The 2010 legislative session has grossly increased taxes and destroyed standards of government transparency instead of implementing efficiencies. As a management consultant who performed services at two state agencies, I’ve witnessed the state of Washington is sorely lacking in best-practices management and performance. And as I’ve often warned, this is resulting in more theft of our economic and political freedoms.

From the Coach’s Corner, see for yourself. Here’s the link to Gov. Otter’s invitation.

My thanks and appreciation go to Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center for distributing it.

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.