U.S. Congressman Mike Simpson (R-Idaho’s 2nd District) toured the newly expanded headquarters of Premier Technology, Inc. (“Premier”) this week to see firsthand the benefits of the federal New Markets Tax Credit program, which provides critical financing to projects located in economically distressed areas. The manufacturing company recently completed a $15 million, 65,000-square-foot addition to its Blackfoot facility. The expansion also included an upgrade to the facility’s laser equipment and a state-of-the-art storage system. The NMTC financing was brought to the project by the community development lender, MoFi.
Congressman Simpson has been a longtime supporter of the NMTC program, which is currently set to expire at the end of 2019. In April, Congressman Simpson signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 1680, which would expand the program and make it permanent.
“I’m so pleased to see the completed expansion of Premier’s facility that was enabled by the New Market Tax Credit,” said Congressman Simpson. “This is exactly the kind of project that this program was intended to benefit, and it will allow Premier to continue their great work, promoting the local economy and investing in the people of Eastern Idaho.”
Premier is one of the largest employers in southeast Idaho. It currently employs 300 people, all positions which come with strong wages, a full healthcare plan, retirement, opportunities for advancement, and on-the-job training. Premier currently partners with the College of Eastern Idaho to bring in certified welding instructors that help train new employees and improve skills for existing employees. These in-house training opportunities allow employees to start at an entry level and advance in their professional careers.
MoFi President Dave Glaser said, “We’re grateful to Congressman Simpson for supporting federal legislation that puts capital into the hands of businesses like Premier that are creating good jobs and strengthening economies in Idaho. In fact, MoFi has used the NMTC program to support projects that have created/retained over 1,000 jobs in the Congressman’s district since 2012. We’re thrilled to invest in a company that is, in turn, investing so heavily in its workforce, and helping to create a brighter economic future for the people of Eastern Idaho.”
Premier Technology, Inc. began as a family-owned business in 1996, with three employees sharing a 5,000-square-foot office space on Garrett Way. With origins in manufacturing for both government and commercial clients, Premier grew to include engineering, custom manufacturing, and project management services. The vertically integrated company has contracts with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as private clients in the mining and food processing markets. Today, the woman-owned company is a leading innovator in its industry, both within the state of Idaho and at the national level.
The New Markets Tax Credit program that made the expansion possible was enacted in 2000, a bipartisan effort to spur private investment and economic growth in low-income urban neighborhoods and rural communities that lack access to the capital needed to support and grow businesses, create jobs, and sustain healthy local economies. The credits are awarded annually through a competitive process; to date, MoFi has received nearly $600 million in New Markets Tax Credits. MoFi then works with investors to turn the credits into cash, and uses that cash to fund catalytic development projects in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
However, the credit is currently set to expire at the end of 2019. There are bipartisan bills in the House and Senate to make the NMTC permanent and ensure this important financial tool remains available to rural communities and urban neighborhoods that have been left outside the economic mainstream.
Since 2012, MoFi has used NMTC to help finance over $230 million in projects across Idaho, including new headquarters for Golden Valley Natural beef jerky (Shelley), Western States Caterpillar (Pocatello), and Fresca Mexican Foods and Capitol Distributing, Inc. (both in Caldwell).