Colorado governor signs jobs creation bills

Steven K. Paulson
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter signed two of the top-priority bills for job creation and business development from this session of the Legislature on Monday.

The bills will provide tax incentives to companies that create new jobs and will strengthen job-training programs with industry and community colleges.

Ritter signed another bill that will require homebuilders to offer prospective homeowners the option of having their home pre-wired for solar energy and heating.

“We’re facing an unprecedented economic downturn. Everyone is struggling. That’s why we’re focusing on jobs,” Ritter said as he signed the bills, surrounded by business leaders at Denver’s World Trade Center.

The jobs bill will allow companies to apply to the Colorado Economic Development Commission for a state income tax credit for creating at least 20 new jobs in urban areas or five new jobs in rural areas that pay wages above the local average.

Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, said the bill will attract new companies to Colorado to put people to work.

The other measure will build on last year’s bill to create partnerships between businesses and community colleges to train workers for renewable energy jobs.

Current training programs are restricted to employees who already have jobs and are getting new skills. The new legislation will create training programs available to anyone.

Mike Kazmierski, president of the Economic Development Council of Colorado Springs, said last month, 250 families a day in Colorado experience job loss. He said the bills will provide significant help attracting new jobs.

“This is a game changer,” he said.

Rep. Mike Merrifield, D-Manitou Springs, said having homes prewired for solar heat and energy could save homeowners thousands of dollars.