DENVER, Colo. -- In recognition that many counties in rural Colorado face continuing economic hardships more acute than the urban Front Range parts of the state, Lawmakers today passed a bipartisan bill, SB-282, which gives the state’s most distressed counties a potent new tool for jump-starting local job growth.
A signature from Gov. John Hickenlooper is all that’s needed to make this legislation into law. That should not be a problem because the Governor’s staff was consulted in drafting the bipartisan legislation.
"Enterprise zones" have long been used to successfully spark urban redevelopment. This new program offers a mix of tax credits and tax exemptions both the businesses and their new-hire employees. Colorado counties that meet the criteria for being designated “highly distressed” can offer enterprise zone-like tax benefits and incentives to any new business that bring at least 5 new jobs to the county.
The program will be directed by the Economic Development Commission and coordinated locally by post-secondary institutions in each region.
Bill Sponsor Ray Scott, a senator from Grand Junction, said he believes the bill will offer a lifeline to parts of Colorado that are still hurting despite the upturn in other parts of the state.
"There are parts of this state that are on economic life support, especially west of the Continental Divide," said Scott. "We believe this bill, if the governor signs it, will help give those hurting counties a pulse again."