- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - State officials won’t release the name of a company applying for Idaho’s newest tax break incentive, said Idaho Commerce Jeff Sayer.

Instead, details of the company’s proposed project, job descriptions and estimated state tax revenue were discussed in executive session while the Idaho Economic Advisory Council met Tuesday.

Sayer said the company has not yet made a final decision about moving to Idaho.

The council is in charge of approving the state’s latest tax rebate incentive that went into effect July 1.

According to the law, a company becomes eligible to receive up to a 30 percent break on its state corporate income, payroll and sales taxes for up to 15 years if it offers 20 new jobs in rural areas or 50 new jobs in urban areas. Those jobs must also pay at least the average annual wage in the county.

Few details were released about the agreement, Sayer referred to the company - identified as an aerospace firm - as “Project Sky.” The company is currently looking to relocate to Ada County, where the average wage is roughly $42,000 annually.

The council voted unanimously to offer a 25 percent rebate to the company for 12 years. The break is contingent on the company staying in Idaho for the entire time.

Last week, Sayer told The Spokesman-Review the name of the firm would be released at the council meeting. On Tuesday, however, Sayer said he misspoke and he is now following the company’s request to keep the name private.

Sayer said he hoped to be able to release the name of the company in a month, but it was dependent on its acceptance of the state’s incentive package.

“We are learning as we go,” he said. “But we remain very excited about the interest we’ve seen so far.”

Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the free-market think tank Idaho Freedom Foundation, said the decision by Sayer and the council to remain secretive was the opposite of what was promised when the bill was being debated during this past legislative session.

Hoffman testified against the bill twice before it was eventually signed into law.

“Sayer said all Idahoans will be able to review the policy,” he said. “Now they will find out about the deal after it’s too late. I am very discouraged by this.”

Earlier this year, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter announced that the city - located in Ada County - was being considered as a site for a maintenance building for SkyWest Airlines. The project would bring as many as 100 jobs and $20 million in construction investment.

Boise spokesman Adam Park said he didn’t know if SkyWest was the same company being considered for the state tax rebate. SkyWest spokeswoman Marissa Snow said the company was not publicly discussing if it was applying for state tax breaks.

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