Tuesday, April 22, 2008


DENVER—Today the Senate passed a landmark package of economic development bills designed to invest in local businesses and bring financial security and new prosperity to Colorado.

The Senate gave final approval to the following five bills:

Bioscience Grants (Bacon/Riesberg) – Extends the grant program to make $26.5 million available to universities and start-up companies to energize one of Colorado’s most promising industries.

Eliminate the “Fly-Away” Tax (Bacon/Buescher) – Encourages aircraft manufacturers to come to Colorado by eliminating the sales tax imposed on airplanes manufactured in the state.

Rural Broadband (Schwartz/Riesberg) – Directs the Chief Information Officer of Colorado to create public WIFI service areas. The bill could provide rural communities access to telemedicine, online education resources and equip small business owners with the tools they need to compete globally.

TIF Downtown Development Authority (Bacon/Buescher) – Extends the period for tax increment financing revenue collected by a downtown development authority.

Performance-based Incentive for New Jobs (Veiga/Hodge) – Creates monetary incentives for business to create at least one new job every five weeks in rural areas and every two and half weeks in urban areas.

The Senate also gave initial approval to the following bill:

New Solar Energy Technologies (Schwartz) – Directs the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to encourage utilities to enhance renewable energy standards and to evaluate energy efficiency regarding public projects. Requires the PUC to publish findings regarding the economic characteristics of varying types of energy technology.