DESPITE HICCUPS,REGIONS ECONOMYREMAINS STRONG
Times-News, Twin Falls
Dutchmen Travel Trailers Inc. announced its plans last week to soon shutter its Burley plant, costing the region 160 jobs.
Such a closure is a blow to any community. Tax revenue and employment are essential for a communitys growth.
But the relative lack of panic from Burley and Cassia County officials struck us strange, but also a positive sign.
We have people coming to this state looking for an existing facility. Thats just another opportunity, said Burley Mayor Terry Greenman.
Greenmans optimism could be viewed as political spin, but we think theres something to it.
Much of the regions industry is rooted in agriculture, a point reinforced by last years opening of the massive Chobani plant in Twin Falls. But the Magic Valleys economy continues to diversify. And its that industrial fluidity that gives us hope that closures of large plants, such as those in Burley over the past decade, are nothing more than hiccups.
It was a gut punch to the community when J.R. Simplot took with it 600 jobs in 2003 when its Heyburn plant went dark. But, since then, 10 manufacturing businesses opened plants in the small city.
The Magic Valley with its breadbasket of dairies and farms, a willing workforce and governments offering rewards to newcomers is a proving desirable place for industry to set up shop.
In a nation riddled with the dilapidated remains of a bygone industrial age, the Magic Valley is in the midst of a fabrication renaissance. While manufacturers sent jobs abroad and the nation hurdled toward the Great Recession, industry continued to grow here. State Labor Department data tells a decadelong story of a growing, evolving economy.
We havent worked through the growing pains, yet.
Jeromes overtaxed sewer is a prime example of how many communities arent prepared to handle an influx of industry. Local governments must be willing to make the infrastructure investment if they want the long-term reward.
Dutchmens closure is ultimately a cautionary tale of how fast something can disappear. Local officials cant become too complacent or begin courting just one kind of manufacturing. Having Chobani yogurt in the refrigerator is a welcome expression of local pride. But even the yogurt giant isnt bulletproof.
Its the Magic Valleys industrial diversity that makes it strong. And, with a little taxpayer investment in sewers and roads, the region could be a manufacturing hub for decades to come.
JEER TO JFAC CHAIRS
JEERS ... to Idaho Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, and Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome. Under their leadership, Idahos Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee decided to continue its southeastern Idaho tour rather than attend former Idaho Secretary of State Pete Cenarrusas funeral in Boise on Friday morning. Cenarrusa was a genuine member of Idahos Greatest Generation. Theres a reason why Cenarrusa is the first Idahoan to lie in state in the Idaho Capitol Rotunda in nearly 25 years.
Between nine terms in the House and nearly as many as secretary of state, he spent more than 50 years in elective office an Idaho record exceeded only by Cenarrusas dedication to serving the public in an impeccably fair manner. For a legislative committee to conduct its official business without interruption is a sign of disrespect to Cenarrusa and all he contributed, however unintentional.