Dem Package Dismantled in Long Bill Debate

April 11, 2012

(Denver) – House Republicans’ indifference to jobs for Coloradans was on breathtaking display today when they rejected a series of Democratic proposals to boost the state’s economy and create jobs.

During debate this afternoon on the state budget “long bill,” the GOP struck down Democratic amendment after Democratic amendment to invest in programs that are proven to connect Coloradans to good jobs. Among them:

·        Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Economic Development Commission, which offers performance-based incentives to retain companies in Colorado and attract new ones, repeating big-ticket successes like the recent move of Arrow Electronics to Colorado. Republicans rejected  amendments from Reps. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) and Cherylin Peniston (D-Westminster) to transfer $5.7 million for an expansion of the CSAP/TCAP tests two years before they are mandated.

·        The “Tech Transfer” program, sponsored by Reps. Dave Young (D-Greeley) and House Democratic Leader Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver), making it easier for Colorado businesses to bring new products and services out of the laboratory and into the market, producing more well-paid jobs. Rep. Young wanted to transfer $5 million from the controlled maintenance trust fund to fully fund the program; Rep. Ferrandino’s funding-lite version would have moved $1.5 million from the same source.

·        The state’s Small Business Development Centers, Colorado’s most effective economic development program. Rep. Max Tyler (D-Lakewood) sought to transfer $300,000 from the CSAP fund.

·        The “Angel Investor” program sponsored by Rep. John Kefalas (D-Fort Collins), which would give tax incentives to venture capitalists who invest in Colorado companies. His amendment would have transferred $250,000 from the CSAP fund.

Even Rep. Lee’ proposed footnote, which merely urged the governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade to give preference in contracts to companies based in Colorado and using Colorado workers, was defeated.

The House Republicans put no job-creation measures of their own into the state budget. If the state legislature is going to invest a single nickel to boost economic activity and job creation in Colorado, the initiative will have to come from the Democratic-controlled Senate.

“The GOP seems to think our recovery from the Bush Recession is complete and everything’s hunky-dory,” Rep. Ferrandino said after the Democratic amendments were shot down. “It’s pitiful to see the Republicans sit on their hands when there are so many people across this state who are still knocking on the door to opportunity.”

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