Economic development officials: R.I.P., H.B. 1350

Filed under: Daily News |

Proposed legislation designed to evaluate the effectiveness of Colorado’s job-creation financial incentives, died on the Senate floor Friday – to the relief of economic development officials.

The bill, HB 1350, sponsored by Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, has been called a “reputation killer” by the state’s economic-development community.

It would have required any company getting $25,000 in grants or in tax exemptions or credits from the state to file a report listing how that aid helped it to create jobs. Those businesses that could not show that the money was achieving the economic-development purpose for which it was created could have been forced to give the funding back to the state.

Opponents said that it not only hurt the state’s ability to attract relocating companies but that it became unnecessary in its final form.

Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp. CEO Mike Kazmierski was following the issue closely.

“We came out strongly opposed to it. (HB) 1350 just added more layer of bureaucracy to a system that is functioning well already,” he said.

The measure would have also eliminated enterprise zones, often used by states and municipalities as part of broader incentive packages.

Today if a business is interested in moving to a city in Colorado, local economic development corporations work with the state, the city and utilities to develop an incentive package.  A company has to execute certain agreed-upon conditions in their application for economic development funds.

“It’s called performance-based incentives. At the end of the first year, if they’ve met all the conditions for hiring and they’ve paid wages for a period of time, they can request a rebate,” Kazmierski said.