(Jan. 7) – Honoring their commitment to make economic development their highest priority, House Democrats today rolled out the centerpiece of their 2013 economic development package — a measure to spur Colorado’s high-tech sector and the high-salary jobs it provides.
Speaker-designate Mark Ferrandino and Rep. Dave Young (D-Greeley), the lead House Democratic sponsor, were joined at a news conference by Gov. John Hickenlooper, House cosponsor Cheri Gerou (R-Evergreen), Senate cosponsors Rollie Heath (D-Boulder) and Pat Steadman (D-Denver), and a host of others representing companies that form the core of Colorado’s advanced industries sector and institutions of higher education.
The Advanced Industries Accelerator Act “will create high-skilled jobs in Colorado, increase our global competitiveness and drive capital investment,” Rep. Young told the news conference. “I’m very pleased to have Governor Hickenlooper and a bipartisan legislative coalition backing this bill.”
HB13-1001 provides up to $15 million a year for up to 10 years for grants to advanced industries, which include aerospace, bioscience, electronics, energy and natural resources, infrastructure engineering and information technologies. Included in the bill are advanced manufacturing, aerospace, Biosciences, electronics, energy and natural resources, infrastructure engineering, and information technology. All told, these industries make up close to 30% of Colorado’s economy.
The proposal’s authors envision fostering commercialization of new technologies and growth among Colorado’s small high-tech startups through strategic grants. Colorado-based advanced-industry concerns would be eligible for proof-of-concept grants, capped at $150,000; early stage capital and retention grants, capped at $250,000, and infrastructure grants, capped at $500,000.
“Colorado already has a network of world-class research institutions, including federal labs and universities, innovative companies and a highly educated workforce,” Rep. Young said. “Aligning these assets around opportunities to grow the advanced industries will establish Colorado as a global competitor and technology hub, and turn our research strengths into viable companies with good jobs.”
Rep. Ferrandino, who is making the advanced industries bill the first to be introduced in the House, said: “This bipartisan legislation marks a major investment in Colorado’s long-term economic prosperity. It sends a clear message to Colorado’s innovators that we are there for them over the long haul, and to leaders everywhere that Colorado can compete with anyone for any industry.”