April 17, 2012

(Denver) – Republicans shot down much of what remained of the House’s 2012 jobs agenda today, defeating two Democratic measures that would have connected Coloradans to good jobs.

HB12-1129, Rep. Max Tyler’s bill to increase funding for the state’s Small Business Development Centers, was killed this morning by the House Appropriations Committee on a 6-7 party-line vote. SBDCs have proven to be the state’s most effective economic development program.

“We had a chance to give a big boost to small businesses, which are our biggest job creators,” said Rep. Tyler (D-Lakewood). “I’m disappointed that we failed to seize the opportunity.”

Also biting the dust in Approps on the same party-line vote was HB12-1044, sponsored by Reps. Dave Young and Mark Ferrandino. The bill would have created a grant program administered by the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade to speed the transfer of new technologies developed in Colorado’s research laboratories to the marketplace.

“These were good measures to enhance innovation, create Colorado jobs now and build for future growth,” said Rep. Young (D-Greeley). “Killing these measures is extremely short-sighted and flies in the face of our No. 1 priority – job creation.”

Both bills passed committees earlier this session with at least some GOP support. Democrats moved amendments during debate on the budget “long bill” to fund the jobs creation programs, but those amendments died.

Of more than a dozen jobs bills they offered in 2012, House Democrats managed to get four past the House GOP firing squad.

·        The Skills for Jobs Act, HB12-1061 by Rep. Daniel Kagan (D-Cherry Hills Village), was signed into law this month by Gov. John Hickenlooper. It directs the state to develop workforce projections to connect students, educators and employers in a coordinated system where employers will more easily find fully qualified workers for the jobs they need to fill and students will get guideposts to help them choose a career that’s marketable.

·        HB12-1272, sponsored by Rep. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) with Rep. Robert Ramirez (R-Westminster), would invest $8 million in enhanced unemployment benefits for unemployed people who want training for a high-demand occupation. The bill passed the House and is now in the Senate.

·        HB12-1286, sponsored by Rep. Ferrandino (D-Denver), the House Democratic leader, with Rep. Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs), to increase tax incentives for film production in Colorado, has passed the House and is before the Senate.

·        HB12-1241, by Rep. Ferrandino, would create a task force to recommend reforms to the enterprise zone system, the state’s largest but least efficient economic development program. The bill passed the House unanimously and is now in the Senate.

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