The Treasure Valley didn’t meet some of the criteria Amazon wanted to see in candidates for its HQ2 — the online retail giant’s second North American headquarters.
For example, nowhere in Idaho qualifies as a metropolitan area “with more than 1 million people.” The total population of both Canyon and Ada counties is about 650,000.
Also, Amazon’s request for proposals states that the company plans to hire 50,000 new employees over the next 10 to 15 years. That’s more jobs than in all of Downtown Boise, so it’s hard to imagine where in Idaho all those people could find offices.
Nevertheless, Idaho is on Amazon’s list of 238 states or regions that submitted HQ2 responses from the United States, Canada and Mexico.
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Idaho might not be ready for HQ2, but Amazon should keep the Gem State in mind because it could benefit from headquartering other projects here, said letters from Gov. Butch Otter and Boise Valley Economic Partnership, an economic development organization that represents the city of Boise as well as Ada, Canyon, Gem and Owyhee counties.
“Idaho is recognized for its favorable business climate, stable tax rates, reasonable regulations, low-cost renewable energy and affordable land,” Otter’s letter reads. “We have a skilled, motivated workforce and state policies that recognize the importance of economic activity to our Idaho way of life. We balance our budget without raising taxes and we know that the best way to help business is to simply get out of the way.”
Clark Krause is executive director of BVEP. He said the Treasure Valley’s agricultural companies, such as the J.R. Simplot Co. in Boise and GoGo Squeez in Nampa, offer food distribution expertise that would benefit Amazon as it expands its grocery business. Krause denied an Idaho Statesman request to review BVEP’s letter. He said the group, which is a division of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, doesn’t release its documents to the public.
Otter’s letter didn’t specifically reference Idaho’s agricultural assets. Instead, it highlighted the governor’s efforts to make the state “the best place in America to successfully start or expand a business.”
“After the dust settles, we hope you have time to review Idaho’s highlights on this site and consider us to be part of your future growth plans,” Otter’s letter reads. “So in other words, save us for later in your cart!”