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CO Governor Accelerates Regional Jobs Plan, Calls for More Economic Development Funds

November 16, 2011

Just three months after unveiling a statewide regional economic development plan, Gov. John Hickenlooper released a new version of the document that speeds up timelines and adds more specific measurable outcomes to the plan's 24 job creation strategies. The governor also submitted a budget proposal for FY13 that calls for additional funds to help the Economic Development Commission attract high-wage jobs and support initiatives that address distinct market barriers in the energy sector.

The Colorado Blueprint: A Bottom-up Approach to Economic Development, was developed with input from all of the state's 64 counties and provides benchmarks to measure achievement of the 24 action items, which are focused around six areas, including cultivating innovation and technology (see the July 27, 2011 issue of the Digest). In the newest version, the plan calls for development of a comprehensive statewide industry cluster strategy in the next three months, rather than the next nine months. Revisions also include an increased focus on local and regional infrastructure development and a structure for engaging industry partners in promoting the Colorado brand through the International Trade and Tourism Ambassador Program.

The governor's $7.4 billion state general fund budget increases spending by 3.2 percent for FY13 and includes an additional $6 million for economic development incentives and $3.1 million for energy initiatives within the Governor's Office. The Economic Development Commission would receive $5.75 million to provide performance-based incentives to businesses seeking to expand or relocate in the state. The request estimates adding 2,300 new jobs at an average wage of $53,500. Another $250,000 would be allocated for Global Business Development to retain businesses that are part of targeted cluster industries. Within the Governor's Energy Office, $3.1 million would be used to fund eight initiatives that address distinct market barriers in the energy sector, such as diversification of fuel use and greening government. Funds would come from limited gaming and would otherwise be directed to the general fund. Budget documents are available at: http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/OSPB/GOVR/1251608971702.

Coloradostate budget, workforce, policy recommendations, strategic plan