Democrats on the Colorado House committee that hears most business-related legislation passed two small-business bills Tuesday that had died last year under Republican control, but they found that the partisan divide over both of those issues remains.
House Bill 1002, sponsored by Rep. Max Tyler, D-Lakewood, would allot $1 million in additional funding over the next two years to the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) program, which works with startup and expanding companies to give advice on business plans and help them be able to find private funding.
And HB 1003, sponsored by Democratic Reps. Pete Lee of Colorado Springs and Leroy Garcia of Pueblo, would use about $400,000 of that money to create a statewide ?economic gardening? program in which trained staffers could advise about 20 to 25 growing businesses how to expand sales out of state or outside the country.
The bills both received approval from the House Business, Labor, Economic and Workforce Development Committee on Democratic-led 6-5 party-line votes.
The measures stem from their sponsors? belief that paying to help local businesses grow is a more efficient use of state funds than giving large sums to large businesses to relocate to Colorado.
Tyler noted that the SBDC program created nearly 1,700 jobs in 2011 with just $85,000 in state general-fund money ? spending of roughly $43 per job created.
?A lot of these businesses don?t even understand the opportunities they have in expanding or growth potential,? said Kelly Manning, state director of the SBDC program. ?That?s where we come into play.?
Ed Sealover covers government, health care, tourism, airlines and hospitality for the Denver Business Journal and writes for the "Capitol Business" blog. Phone: 303-803-9229.