Everyone in Colorado has to get out and push our collective car to create more jobs to get our state moving faster.  This will take a multi-prong approach.

Below I have summarized the legislative initiatives that will have a positive impact on our economy currently making their way through the General Assembly:

HB13-1001: Advanced Industries Accelerator

has passed with bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and will soon be debated in the Senate. This bill will promote the growth of Colorado’s advanced industries by encouraging public-private partnerships, increasing access to early-stage capital, and creating a strong infrastructure that increases the state’s capacity to be globally competitive. I am proud to have voted yes to kick-start our advanced industries, which drive Colorado’s economy with hundreds of thousands of primary and ancillary jobs.

HB13-1002: Small Business Development

Colorado’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) served over 5,000 businesses, created 1,700 jobs and assisted in nearly $132 million in small business capital formation in 2011 alone for Colorado start-ups. There are many more start-ups that need help, and this bill will boost support for the centers all across Colorado to help entrepreneurs turn their great ideas into profitable, job-creating businesses. This bill passed in the House Business Committee on Jan. 29 and will soon be discussed in House Appropriations.

HB13-1003: Economic Gardening

This bill creates an Economic Gardening Pilot Program to train and certify SBDCs to provide a full year of strategic assistance to at least 20 second-stage Colorado companies to foster growth and job creation right here in Colorado.  Economic Gardening is a method developed in Colorado that is proven to help mid-level companies grow to the next level, streamline business strategies, and put more Coloradans back to work. This bill passed in the House Business Committee on Jan. 29 and will soon be discussed in House Appropriations.

HB13-1004: Colorado Careers Act

This bill aims to match skills training programs with the jobs that are available today. It will foster collaboration across various state agencies and the private sector to identify those sectors where skills training is most needed. Job seekers will be able to access the training most likely to lead them to a job. This bill passed the House Business Committee on Feb. 7.

HB13-1005: Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST)

This bill will address the needs of 360,000 working-age adults in CO who lack a high school diploma or GED by creating pilot programs in career and technical education. Students will learn basic professional and technical skills in real-world scenarios. This bill passed the House Education Committee on Jan. 28.

I also will advocate for the following goals:

We simply MUST complete FasTracks on time, by the end of 2020.  According to RTD, this entails “122 miles of new commuter and light rail, 18 miles of bus rapid transit, 21,000 new parking spaces…, and enhanced bus services.”  Because of the enormous regional economic impact of the new light rail system and the associated carefully planned Transit Oriented Development around rail stations, I fully support efforts to get this project done.  We can’t shrug our shoulders, ignore our future population growth, and allow the project to get done in 2042 at a far higher cost and far lower economic impact.  Residents of Colo. House District 9 already benefit greatly from the existence of the light rail system, and we need to extend that boost to the rest of the Denver Metro area.

Small business is key to economic growth.  As your legislator, I will work my hardest to expand the Colorado Credit Reserve Program.  This state program guarantees small business loans by private banks to entrepreneurs.  That way Coloradans can employ themselves and then hire others.

Another program that will get my full support to expand is the Colorado Innovation Investment Tax Credit.  At this point the program is not funded, but it has great potential to entice “angel investors” to help provide capital to small businesses and entrepreneurs to start up and grow.

Tourism is a key industry for our state.  I will be a leading voice to increase the investment in programs like the Marketing Grant Program where the state leverages and matches a company’s marketing efforts up to $15,000.  When a company gets its message out about its products and services, it makes more money and can hire more people.

Colorado has over 300 sunny days per year.  It is beyond belief that there is not far greater usage of solar panels to power our economy.  A new project passed only in 2010 that I’ll be working to have people take greater advantage of is Community Solar Gardens.  If you can’t afford it or your roof isn’t right to install solar panels, you and 10 of your neighbors can group together to share the cost and benefits of solar panels.  Naturally that means trained technicians have jobs in order to install the panels and solar panel users like you benefit from lower energy costs.  Recently a group got together in Colorado Springs and is installing a solar garden.

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