April 25, 2012

(Denver) –A key Democratic jobs bill was killed in committee today on a party-line vote in the House State, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.

Senate Bill 1, also known as the HIRE Colorado act, sponsored by Reps. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) and Su Ryden (D-Aurora), would have given incentives in state contracts to companies that hire Colorado workers and provide benefits.

“This is an immediate, fast and direct way that we can create jobs,” Rep. Ryden said.

The bill would have given up to a 5 percent preference on contracts by state agencies to companies that meet certain criteria. There would be a 3 percent preference if a contractor certifies 90 percent of its employees are Colorado residents, and an additional 2 percent preference for contractors who provide health care benefits and retirement benefits to their employees.

Rep. Duran said too much taxpayer money, over $700 million since 2009 alone, goes to companies outside of Colorado that do not hire Coloradans. Twenty-six other states have implemented state contract preference bills such as this to ensure that state tax dollars are going to provide jobs within the state.

“Colorado has a 7.8 percent unemployment rate, and we need to put all options on the table,” Rep. Duran said. “This bill would have helped strengthen Colorado small businesses and would have strengthened and developed our Colorado workforce.”

Rep. Ryden said her number one priority continues to be looking at ways to get Coloradans back to work.

“An overwhelming number of Coloradans support legislation like this that will promote hiring Coloradans, and I’m disappointed the bill was killed in committee,” Rep. Ryden said. “I will continue to work toward getting more Coloradans back to work.”

Sen. Evie Hudak (D-Westminster), the Senate cosponsor of the bill, said the HIRE Act would have spurred job creation.

“We have an obligation to work on behalf of our constituents to get citizens back to work, and this is exactly what the HIRE Colorado Act aimed to do,” Sen. Hudak said.

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