Innovative business ideas needed for 2014 Legislature

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Walking the neighborhoods of House District 18 and listening to my constituents in western El Paso County, it is clear that jobs and the economy remain the top issues of concern. Even as we rebound from the Great Recession, too many businesses are struggling and too many people are still unemployed or underemployed.

I am often asked, “What can the Colorado Legislature do to make things better?”

While political and philosophical differences may dictate different answers to that question, most people will agree with a couple of principles:

One, government can help to create a business friendly environment in which businesses can grow and thrive, attract capital and hire workers.


Improving Colorado’s economic climate and making our state attractive and friendly to business remain my top priorities.

Two, government can invest in education to produce a better-qualified workforce, which increases productivity and raises overall wages, thereby contributing to prosperity.

During my first three years as a state legislator, I have proposed more than a half-dozen bills to promote jobs and economic development. This past session I was the prime sponsor of three successful business bills: HB13-1003, to promote “economic gardening,” an innovative approach to nurture and grow local small businesses; HB13-1138, to enable for-profit corporations to create or pursue public good by having a positive impact on the environment or society; and HB13-1292, Hire Colorado/Buy Colorado, which changes rules to encourage the state government to use our tax dollars to contract with Colorado companies and hire Colorado workers rather than outsourcing to other states or overseas.

Having spent my early working years with two Fortune 500-size corporations and practicing business law for 25 years, I know business needs. As a state representative, I have consistently incorporated their ideas into the bills I have brought to the Legislature.

I am proud to have been named by the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance as one of its Legislative Champions of Business. Making our state attractive and friendly to business remain my top priorities.

With the 2014 legislative session less than four months away, I again seek your input. I recently reached out to Joe Raso, president of the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance, to seek advice from its members, and I welcome suggestions from readers of the Business Journal. Many ideas for bills actually come directly from constituents.

Please contact me with ideas for legislation to help improve Colorado’s economy. If there’s a regulation that you consider needlessly burdensome, I want to hear about it.

If you encounter impediments to capital formation, benefits management or the hiring and training of workers, I ask you to contact me.

If there are state laws or rules that run counter to sound business practices or you think have no redeeming social or economic value, let me know.

If you want to propose tax incentives that would promote economic growth or attract companies to invest in Colorado or to complain about existing incentives that you think are missing their target, I’m all ears.

Nothing is off the table. Our state government works best when the people who know best participate and are involved.

Not all wishes can be granted, of course. I can’t make death or taxes go away, and I won’t propose shortcuts that might jeopardize the health or well-being of your workers, your investors, the environment or the general public.

But as I start to prepare my legislative agenda for 2014, I am interested in hearing your ideas. If you’ve ever thought, “There ought to be a law,” now’s your chance to put that thought in motion.

Thanks in advance for your input. My thanks also to the Business Journal for giving me this opportunity to communicate with their readers in the Pikes Peak region business community.

State Rep. Pete Lee’s House District 18 includes downtown, central and western Colorado Springs and all of Manitou Springs. Contact him at or 303-866-2932.