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Survey: Boise is growing at right pace; option tax faces mixed popularity

Future of Downtown

News analysis by Don Day
BoiseDev.com

 Rooftops are going up by the dozen - like these in Boise's Barber Valley.  
Rooftops are going up by the dozen – like these in Boise’s Barber Valley.  

A new survey by the Boise State School of Public Service shows a slight majority of Treasure Valley residents think the area is growing at the right pace.

In the survey, 50.3% of respondents say growth is “about right,” with 2.8% saying growth is actually “too slow” – meaning a total of 53.1% of those surveyed are pro-growth.  A strong minority, however, thinks the area is growing too fast – 44.5%.

One-thousand residents in three counties – Ada, Canyon & Owyhee – were surveyed.

Would you say that the Treasure Valley is growing too fast, too slow or about right?

Courtesy Boise State University School of Public Service
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Future of Downtown

In Ada County, residents are somewhat happier with the growth than in the 2C.  Of the Ada crowd, 52.4% said growth was about right. In Canyon County, there’s an exact deadlock between the about right group and too fast group – 46.5%.  A slightly higher number of Canyon Co. residents think the growth is too slow – 3.7% vs. 2.4% in Ada Co.

Would you say that the Treasure Valley is growing too fast, too slow or about right?

Courtesy Boise State University School of Public Service

When you slice the data by age – you see a trend toward younger folks being happier with how the area is growing, with older folks not being as happy with growth.

Would you say that the Treasure Valley is growing too fast, too slow or about right?

Courtesy Boise State University School of Public Service

Earlier this month, I took a look at Boise Mayor Dave Bieter’s plan to push a local option tax for residents across Idaho and specifically in Boise. A local option tax has to cross too hurdles before it starts bringing revenue into city coffers.  First, the Idaho legislature and governor must approve a change to Idaho law (or through a statewide ballot initiative). Then, if that bar can be crossed, voters in a city must vote to approve the tax.

While the survey only polled three counties, there is strong support to give voters the option to hike their own taxes – with 62% saying they’d be in favor of giving cities the options to rise taxes. Important to remember this is not a statewide poll.

Overall, 47.8% of residents are opposed to a local option tax in their town, with 41.2% saying they’d go for it.  In Boise specifically, 48.1% of those polled said they would vote yes – with 41.7% saying no.  However, when you look at the overall data by age – the older the respondent, the less likely they are to be in favor of a local option tax in their town – with only residents aged 18-29 being cool with a tax hike. And in Idaho, older residents vote in much higher numbers.

If your town or city were to propose a local option tax, would you favor or oppose that plan?

Courtesy Boise State University School of Public Service

There’s a significant amount of additional data – read the whole survey here.

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Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

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