Scorched Earth for Economic Gardening

February 16, 2012

(Denver) – A key element in the House Democrats’ 2012 jobs package died today in the House Economic and Business Development Committee.

The vote was 6-5 on party lines.

HB12-1133, sponsored by Reps. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) and Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D-Gunbarrel), would have provided management and technical assistance to businesses that have advanced beyond the startup phase. Run by the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade, it would have complemented the state’s small business development program, which targets startups.

“Our focus has to be on job creation,” Rep. Lee told the committee. “This is a targeted, specific, niche program which is cost-effective and cost-efficient. It is targeted toward the folks who do create the jobs, and it does it efficiently and effectively.”

“This was a good-government bill that Republicans chose to play politics with and killed,” Rep. Hullinghorst said after the vote.

The economic gardening concept was developed by Chris Gibbons, director of business and industry affairs for the city of Littleton, which has used the program to spur homegrown companies, achieving job growth at more than double the statewide rate. Testifying for the bill, Gibbons noted that many states have adopted economic gardening programs.

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