Jobs Bill to Assess Colorado Venture Capital Lag Dies by Party Line

March 13, 2012

(Denver) – A bill to create a board to look at venture capital in Colorado failed on a party-line vote today in the House Economic and Business Development Committee.

SB12-058, sponsored by Rep. Su Ryden (D-Aurora), would have created a nine-member board to evaluate other states that are improving access to venture capital for companies and look at whether any of these models are creating successes thus creating jobs.

This bill is a response to Colorado’s decline in venture capital activity for Colorado businesses. The supply of venture capital dollars under management declined 81 percent between 2004 and 2009, and venture capital activity in the state was down more than 50 percent for 2005-09 compared to 2000-04, according to a 2010 report from the governor’s advisory committee on venture capital investment.

The bill had no opposition testimony and no fiscal impact.  A representative of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade testified in support, as did an attorney who works with a third of the venture capital companies in Colorado.

Rep. Ryden said she was disappointed with the vote but hopes this will start a conversation about what can do to attract more venture capital.  The bill passed the Senate on Feb. 17 with bipartisan support.

“This bill was about asking one question, ‘Is there something more we can be doing to spur access to venture capital in Colorado?’” Rep. Ryden said. “Colorado has fallen behind in this area, and it is smart for us to look at what other states are doing and whether those models would work here.”

Sen. Rollie Heath (D-Boulder), who is the Senate sponsor of the bill, added that he was disappointed to learn the bill was defeated.

“With no cost to the taxpayers, we could have made major strides toward increasing investments in our economic future,” Sen. Heath said. “Instead, other states will continue to enjoy a competitive advantage over us. I can’t fathom how anyone could think that is a good thing.”

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