There is no other issue more important to Coloradans than the creation of good jobs. With a state unemployment rate of 6.8% as of October 2013, the most frequent concern I hear from the people in my district is what are we doing to help our local businesses start hiring again. As an experienced businessman and small business owner, I understand business and economic issues. An educated workforce is important to employers looking to locate or grow in Colorado. However, Colorado is ranked 50th in per capita spending on higher education and almost as poorly on secondary education. To remain attractive to businesses, we must invest in education.
I want Colorado businesses to grow sustainably. My legislative goal is to work for a economy that puts people to work in good paying jobs. Our ability to provide public services is directly tied to a vibrant economy with abundant, well paying jobs. I am committed to economic recovery and job creation. Here are a few ideas:
- Encourage and Enable Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- Develop a Statewide Economic Development Plan
- Continue the Focus on a Renewable Energy Economy
- Encourage Business Lending
- Support Tourism
- Implement a Buy Colorado Initiative
Small businesses create 70% of all new jobs, so we must have an economic environment that encourages their prosperity. I am skeptical of legislation that imposes additional costs or burdens on business – our low personal, corporate, property and capital gain tax rates and low utility costs are appealing to businesses. I support efforts to preserve and promote our low tax, business friendly environment.
Removing Barriers to Economic Recovery
Over the last few months, business men and women have been telling me that the business personal property tax, the Gallagher Amendment, and The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) are major impediments to job creation and economic growth. Colorado’s business personal property tax is one of the highest in the country. The Gallagher Amendment, which sets the ratio of assessed valuation of residential property to non-residential property, has resulted in a non-residential property assessment of 29%, which as almost three times that paid on residential property. TABOR’s “ratchet effect” makes it difficult for governments to restore services and can slow or prevent economic recovery. We should begin a statewide conversation about how to fix the Gallagher Amendment, the business personal property tax, and TABOR. For the long term improvement of Colorado’s economy, we need tax provisions that are more favorable to commercial property, capital equipment and variable economic cycles. Since constitutional action is required, we need to start the conversation among the voters.
Encouraging National Efforts to Fix the Economy
The anemic economy is a direct result of outsourcing (moving jobs overseas), continuing trade deficits (importing more products than we are exporting), unfair trade practices, currency manipulation by foreign governments and an energy policy dependent on fossil fuels and imported oil. In 2010, I worked with a bipartisan group of local businessmen, the Coalition for a Prosperous America, to encourage congressional leaders to address these issues. With near unanimous approval, the State Legislature adopted our resolution, HR10-1013, which calls for federal policies that reduce the trade deficit and remedy unfair trade practices. I will continue my bipartisan efforts in the legislature to create a future of prosperity and opportunity in Colorado for our children and grandchildren
To encourage and enable innovation and entrepreneurship I support local efforts, such as the EDC’s Operation 6035 Plan; to attract new businesses and nurture new innovative ones by helping them access resources, capital and know-how to grow their businesses. We must also facilitate access to information and provide an “intellectual infrastructure” where courses and collaborations are readily available and connections to trade associations, think tanks and academic institutions are easily accessed. Expanded internet access and broadband are one way to improve this access.
To develop a Statewide Economic Development Plan we need an effective state wide economic development plan that leverages existing community assets and supplements local efforts by selectively using incentives, such as tax credits, rebates, exemptions, abatements, expanded enterprise zones and job training assistance.Experiences in other states and communities have proven the effectiveness of “economic gardening”, a strategy that focuses on supporting high-growth, and high-potential local small businesses to generate a large number of new sustainable jobs. The primary role of state government in supporting these businesses is to cultivate a business environment responsive to the growth needs of this rapidly growing business sector. Linking local homegrown businesses to resources, technology, data bases, training programs, educational institutions and expertise has proven effective in helping them to grow. In 2013, I passed a statewide economic gardening strategy to nurture Colorado companies and help kick start Colorado’s economy.