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Otter: Economy looking up in Pocatello, Chubbuck

In a breakfast organized by the Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce, Gov. Butch Otter said Idaho’s economy is diversifying thanks to local businesses.

“I’ve got a great faith in the state of Idaho because of everything that’s happening, folks,” said Otter in his speech in Idaho State University’s ballroom.

‘Everything’ being the spur of business in Pocatello and Chubbuck. In his nine years in office, Otter said seeing a room full of business leaders is reassuring for the state.

“(In) 2008, 2009, 2010, you wouldn’t have seen the room this full,” he said. “These folks didn’t have the time to come and listen to the governor.”

Matt Hunter, the CEO of the Pocatello-Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce, agreed, and said things are looking up.

“Chamber membership is growing and sponsorships are up. It’s a definite sign that businesses are doing better,” Hunter said.

Calling it his mid-year state of the state, Otter revealed big numbers for Idaho. He said there’s $161.5 million in the budget stabilization fund and $257.1 million in total reserve funds. The numbers are as of May 30.

He credited the savings to the creation and retainment of jobs by local businesses. Amy’s Kitchen in Pocatello, for example, is expected to bring 1,000 jobs in coming years, and Portneuf Medical Center has created 1,500 jobs. Great Western Malting will also be doubling capacity at their current Pocatello plant.

“We used to ship the malt barley someplace else and now we produce it right here. We got the jobs, we got the taxbase and we got the marketability,” said Otter.

Otter also said the state had $101 million of unanticipated funds. He said half will be going into the general stabilization fund, while the other half will be one-time relief for transportation development.

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