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Public Policy Survey

Over the past couple of weeks, we conducted a brief survey regarding issues that affect the public policy positions the Coeur d’Alene Chamber will advocate for at the next legislative session. This data will help the Public Policy Committee (aka Advocacy Council) make recommendations for advocacy positions to the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Some of the responses may surprise you while others are reaffirmations of classic Chamber and business interests. Thank you to the 139 persons who chose to participate in the 12-question survey.

Tax Issues:
It is no surprise that just under 78% believe that the Chamber should continue to advocate for a reduction in the income tax rates. 85% believe that we should continue to advocate for the authority to impose a voter approved local sales tax.

What might be surprising is that given the choice of only receiving an income tax rate reduction, or eliminating the tax on groceries, respondents were split 50-50. Unfortunately, no additional questions regarding the grocery tax were asked.

Transportation:

  • 72% believe that the state should invest more in our transportation infrastructure. 
  • 63% suggest a fuel tax increase as a means of paying for the increased investment. 

Healthcare:

  • 58% indicate that Idaho should develop its own plan to cover the uninsured
  • 26% believe we need to wait for the Feds
  • 5% believe we should stick to our current system
  • 11% answered “other.”

Education:
There was a clear message on policy and a not so clear message regarding funding.

  • 78% believe that we should advocate for an education system that places more emphasis on all pathways to careers and integrates project-based learning. 
  • 70% believe that high school students should be required to take a workplace readiness program as a condition of graduation.

Discussions about funding formulas were held last year in Boise. So, our survey asked a question regarding performance based funding for higher education, the results did not show a majority.

  • 43% believe a change should be made, 30% say no, and 
  • 27% are “unsure.” More specifics on this are needed.

Respondents were asked to “prioritize additional levels of funding,” from pre-K through adult non-credited classes. We received a real mixed bag of answers.

Sharing the most votes as the “top priority” was K-12 and Workforce Development/Career & Technical at roughly 36%. While pre-K received 15.5% of the top priority vote, it also received 21% of the “lowest priority” vote. What is clear, is that our respondents place a very low priority on additional funding for higher education. Just over 3% felt that it is a top priority, with 15% placing it at the lowest, and another 15% placing it as second to the lowest.

  • Year-round kindergarten was also thought to be of lesser importance.
  • 44% rated it lowest or second lowest just ahead of non-credited adult learning.

When combining these answers with the other education answers above, a clear message of placing more emphasis on all learning pathways and incorporating projects that relate to career skills down the road surfaced as solid suggestions for change, both at the high school and post-high school levels, well at least from this sample size.

Again, thanks to all who participated.

Steve Wilson,
President/CEO

Membership Engagement Survey

During the first week of October the Chamber conducted a survey asking member input as to their engagement with the Chamber. The following is a summary of the  questions asked, and the results:

 

How long have you been a CDA Chamber Member?

34% of respondents have been members for 16 or more years; with 24.5% less than 3 years.

 

What are the top reasons that you belong to the Chamber?

63.5% indicated it is for the networking opportunities

52% for being engaged in the greater good for the local economy

50% for being community minded

45% voiced that they want to stay up to date on what’s happening in the community.

 

Do you read your weekly email from the Chamber?

73% stated that they read the Chamber’s weekly emails.

How important is it to you that your business is listed on the Chamber website?

58% believe that their business listing on the Chamber’s website is very important.

 

What programs have you or co-workers attended in the past year? 

78% attend Upbeat Breakfast

67% Business After Hours

45% The Business Fair

64% Other events

 

Have you or a co-worker attended a non-chamber class, seminar or event that was promoted in the Chamber newsletter?

51% have used the newsletter to learn about seminars and attend programs that are put on by other organizations, such as SBDC and Idaho Department of Labor.

 

What can the Chamber do to help your business?

36.5% did make comments and provided open-ended feedback that staff is currently analyzing.

 

Off the top of your head, do you know what the acronym NICHE stands for?

The acronym NICHE stands for North Idaho Consortium for Higher Education.