Pedal to the Metal on AI Program

(Jan. 28) – A bipartisan bill to accelerate the job-creating Advanced Industries Accelerator program passed its initial legislative hurdle today.

HB14-1011, sponsored by Reps. Dave Young (D-Greeley) and Cheri Gerou (R-Evergreen), speeds the flow of grant dollars into the Advanced Industries Acceleration program, which has proven highly popular since it became law in 2013.

The 2013 law, the Advanced Industries Acceleration Act, was also sponsored by Reps. Young and Gerou. It established a grant program matched by private-sector dollars to promote commercialization of new technologies and growth among Colorado’s advanced manufacturing, aerospace, bioscience, electronics, energy and natural resources, infrastructure engineering, and information technology businesses.

These advanced industries already account for almost 30 percent of Colorado’s economy, and will create a robust, sustainable economy that’s based on modern, high-tech products and good-paying jobs, and is less susceptible to the boom-and-bust cycle typical of the state’s traditional economy based on extractive industries.

Despite Rep. Gerou’s testimony describing the bill’s economic impact in committee members’ districts around the state, all the Republicans on the Business, Labor, Economic & Workforce Development Committee – Reps. Chris Holbert (R-Parker), Clarice Navarro (R-Pueblo West), Daniel Nordberg (R-Colorado Springs), Libby Szabo (R-Arvada) and Jared Wright (R-Fruita) — voted against it.

“We want to create jobs right here in Colorado,” Rep. Young said. “The business community is solidly behind this legislation. I’m disappointed that we didn’t get every committee member to vote to support Colorado jobs and Colorado economic development.”

The Business Committee’s 6-5 vote moves the bill to the Appropriations Committee.

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