Idaho's Intermodal Commerce Zones
I've read the legislation for the County-Based Intermodal Commerce Authorities. Bill numbers are below. I'm not an attorney, but I feel it is very important to issue an alert on this legislation so that people can begin investigating it. My understanding is that this is a means of usurping representative government and drawing tax revenues away from cities by authorizing a quasi-governmental entity which is essentially private authority of appointees to engage in commercial activities with special tax exempt status and financing authority.
This legislation gives county supervisors the power to establish an Intermodal Commerce Authority (ICA). This Authority which is basically the same as managers of a city will have essentially what are government powers to establish 'zones of commerce' within their jurisdictions - giving the Authority powers similar to that of Cities except without the power to tax - at least so far. Once established, the Authority can only be dissolved assuming no harm will be done to the bond holders. In other words, if the taxpayers of the jurisdiction assume the obligation of the bonds, then the Authority can be dissolved (if H590 passes).
The ICA's will have the authority to borrow money via bonds and to draw income from the facilities they build for all types of economic activity - including manufacturing, services and presumably retail that occurs within their zones. I suspect that if we look at theSmartPort, we will see what they have in mind by the time they incrementally implement the full package of legislation.
To be perfectly blunt, this deal allows the Authority to select who will be in business and who won't. Because of the powers given, and the tax exempt status, businesses that locate within the zone will have a business advantage over those that don't. That makes this a sweetheart deal for the insiders and a blindsided, sucker punch to the unfortunate businessmen who are not 'connected' and who can't get into the zone. In addition, it will draw tax revenues away from cities as businesses are forced by unfair competition to try and move into the zone.
That's my take on it - but as I said, I'm not an attorney.
Links Updated 5/25/2010
Legislation for Intermodal Commerce Zones
S. 1439 Amendment to Title 70, Chapter 22 (i.e. S. 1384)
H0376 - "Intermodal Commerce Authority"
H590 Amends existing law - Title 70, Chapter 22
H408 - Eminent Domain limitations