Colo. governor issues order to track job creation
Associated Press Writer
Vail, CO Colorado
DENVER – Responding to criticism from lawmakers and jobseekers, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter issued an executive order Wednesday directing state agencies to track job creation.
The executive order requires the Colorado Economic Development Commission to include information about job-creation activities in its annual report to the state Legislature.
It also instructs the commission to prepare a plan to track jobs created from grants, loans and tax credits provided by the commission.
Lawmakers are skeptical of claims that Ritter has created thousands of jobs with his new energy economy programs.
“I’m sure this order makes the governor feel good so he can pretend to create jobs, but it doesn’t create jobs,” said state Senate Minority Leader Mike May, a Republican from Parker.
Lawmakers introduced at least three bills this year that would require proof that new jobs are being created. The bills included the New Energy Jobs Creation Act, the Green Jobs Colorado Training Pilot Program and another key bill, Requirements for Economic Incentives, which Republicans tried to amend to require the governor’s office to conduct a study “of all so-called green jobs” created through tax incentives.
Rep. Sal Pace, a Democrat from Pueblo whose tax incentives bill was killed by the Legislature, said Ritter’s executive order is “a step in the right direction.”
Pace said his bill was killed by special interest groups including business groups, chambers of commerce and economic development councils who complained it was too much work to justify their funding.
Pace said members of those groups get an estimated $1.2 billion a year in tax incentives.
“We don’t know where it goes,” Pace said.
The other two bills passed, and are awaiting the governor’s signature.
Ritter said at a speech last week in Washington, D.C., that his new energy economy is producing results, including 2,500 jobs from Denmark-based Vestas Wind Systems, which made Colorado its North American manufacturing hub, and 700 jobs from SMA Solar, which is opening a manufacturing plant in Colorado this summer, its first outside Germany.