Advanced Industries Win Support in Colorado Legislature

May 19, 2014

Through last year’s passage of the Advanced Industries Accelerator Act, Colorado lawmakers established three grant programs designed to leverage state assets and grow the number of companies in seven key sectors. In further support of the initiative, lawmakers recently provided level funding of $5 million and approved an angel investor tax incentive specifically geared toward companies operating within those seven advanced industry sectors.

The FY15 budget signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper provides $5 million in general funds (the same as last year) for three types of grant programs under the Advanced Industries initiative. This includes proof-of-concept, early stage capital and retention and infrastructure funding. The program is administered by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, which helps identify eligible companies in the fields of aerospace, advanced manufacturing, bioscience, electronics, energy and natural resources, technology and information, and infrastructure engineering.   

Those companies also may benefit from a new angel investor tax credit (HB14-1012), which expands and refines previous legislation that had limited success. The bill provides up to $50,000 in tax credits for qualified investors who invest at least $10,000 in early stage companies within the specified sectors. The legislature capped the state’s total investment at $750,000 and included a sunset provision three years from the effective date of July 1. In addition, the initial level of investment was modified from $25,000 to $10,000, allowing for more investor participation.

Similar legislation was passed in 2009, establishing a pilot program for the state called the Colorado Innovation Investment Tax Credit. Two years later, a bill was passed to reinvigorate the fund and leverage the program to help the state receive a federal grant, which did not come to fruition. During the most recent session, policymakers went back to the original bill to determine issues that prevented its success and identified other promising programs, including those in North Carolina and Wisconsin for Colorado to emulate, according to the Colorado Bioscience Association.

Gov. Hickenlooper also signed into law SB14-001, the College Affordability Act, which allocates an additional $100 million for colleges and universities. Under the legislation, higher education institutions may not raise tuition by more than 6 percent a year.

Another bill, SB14-011, provides $2 million in matching funds to the Colorado Energy Research Collaboratory, a clean energy research consortium of CU-Boulder, for early stage energy research. Read the press release