FORTCOLLINS — At a regional energy and climate forum co-hosted by the White House, Gov. Bill Ritter today encouraged the federal government to follow Colorado‘s New Energy Economy model when considering comprehensive national legislation.
“Colorado isn’t just a mile high state – we’re miles ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to creating a New Energy Economy,” Gov. Ritter said during the forum, attended by hundreds of energy and climate stakeholders and business and civic leaders at FossilRidgeHigh School.
“Over the past few years, we’ve established a clean-energy template that is creating thousands of new jobs, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and generating innovative technologies for the future,” Gov. Ritter said. “The New Energy Economy in Colorado can serve as a pathway for all of America that will lead to greater economic, energy and environmental security.”
Gov. Ritter, U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and White House Council on Environmental Quality Chairwoman Nancy Sutley co-hosted the forum. Also taking part in panel discussions were Michael Chrisman from the California Department of Natural Resources, and Jay Manning from Washington‘s Department of Ecology.
Gov. Ritter called for a national energy and climate policy that will allow other states to duplicate and share in the successes that Colorado has enjoyed from the New Energy Economy.
“These are still very difficult economic times,” Gov. Ritter said. “We are starting to see signs of stability, and we know that developing our clean-energy sector will be a key part of our recovery. One of the best things government can do to help grow the New Energy Economy on a national scale is to provide the private sector with a predictable regulatory environment. For businesses to attract venture capital, they need to have certainty of federal regulations and incentives.”
Gov. Ritter cited the doubling of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard within his first 100 days in office in 2007 as a key reason for Colorado‘s success. The RPS requires the state’s major utility companies to generate 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020. The Governor also issued Colorado‘s first climate action plan in late 2007, calling for a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050.
“We recognized in Colorado the need for energy and climate policies because they directly impact our economy. Climate change directly affects our state’s top industries, including tourism and agriculture. As a nation, we must increase the use of clean-burning natural gas, solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal and other clean-energy sources as we create a new energy future for every student at this forum and every child in Colorado.”
Noon Gov. Ritter will deliver remarks at the Alliance to Save Energy Policy Perspectives Forum on howColorado‘s New Energy Economy is leveraging energy efficiency to create jobs, save energy and money. Attendees will include leaders from corporations, trade associations, public interest groups and research organizations and others who work in the field of energy efficiency. Location: Hotel Monaco,
1717 Champa St., Denver
1 p.m. Gov. Ritter and U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey will co-host a Clean Energy Economy Forum in Fort Collins with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley. The forum will discuss how President Obama’s vision for a comprehensive energy plan will jump-start the American clean energy sector and create millions of new jobs developing technologies that will cut pollution while producing alternative sources of energy. Gov. Ritter will discuss Colorado‘s New Energy Economy, which is creating thousands of jobs and reshaping how we use and create power. Location: Fossil Ridge High School,
5400 Ziegler Road, Fort Collins
Statewide business groups joined Gov. Bill Ritter today and endorsed the next step forward for the governor’s job-creation strategy. The Colorado Jobs Cabinet presented Gov. Ritter with recommendations to improve workforce quality and better meet the needs of businesses today and into the future.
“These are tough times,” Gov. Ritter said, “but over the past 2½ years we’ve developed a focused business- development strategy and made key investments in education, job training and workforce development. These recommendations add to that and will help ensure we recover stronger, quicker and healthier. The Jobs Cabinet has laid out a roadmap that will help us create a highly skilled and educated workforce and improve the competitiveness ofColorado business. This will be a key part of our job-creation strategy as we lead Colorado forward.”
Gov. Ritter last year convened the Jobs Cabinet, a group composed of top business, economic development, education and workforce development experts, along with several members of the Governor’s Cabinet. The group was co-chaired by attorney and community leader Jim Lyons, Qwest Executive Vice President Teresa Taylor and retired Trinidad State Junior College President Ruth Ann Woods. The Jobs Cabinet met 19 times with constituents around the state.
The report released today, “Economic Competitiveness through Collaboration, Talent Development and Innovation,” offers five major recommendations:
· Collaboration: Strengthen, expand and align existing — but isolated — local education, economic development and workforce training programs so they better meet businesses’ workforce needs.
· Engagement: Do a better job talking to and engaging employers in the job-training process so that education, economic development and workforce-training providers have a better sense of what businesses need.
· Marketing: Aggressively promote workforce development programs so Colorado businesses can utilize those programs instead of spending money on more expensive in-house training programs.
· Information: Develop a coordinated website that provides business with easy access to local workforce resources and information.
· Leadership: Provide senior executive leadership from the Governor’s Office to spearhead implementation of these recommendations, measure progress and make adjustments as necessary.
“By implementing these recommendations, we will strengthen Colorado‘s existing talent-development and job-training programs, do a better job of connecting businesses to those programs, and ultimately save businesses thousands of dollars on in-house job-training costs,” Gov. Ritter said.
“Government alone cannot fix this economy or create more private-sector jobs,” the governor said. “But we can do our part. We can create a better business-friendly environment. We can strengthen relationships and break down silos. And we can do a better job asking businesses ‘what can we do for you?’ rather than sticking to business as usual.”
“The members of the Jobs Cabinet – representing business, education, work force and economic development from around the state – have worked hard these last 15 months to bring the Governor’s vision to reality,” said Jobs Cabinet co-chairman Jim Lyons. “Today’s recommendations are a major step toward maximizing our resources for a world class work force in Colorado.”
Many Colorado businesses joined Gov. Ritter today, endorsing the recommendations and committing to collaborate with all partners.
“As the chairman of Colorado Concern, I can say first-hand that our organization recognizes the important work the Colorado’s Jobs Cabinet has accomplished in the areas of economic development and education to promote a highly skilled and educated workforce,” said Walter Isenberg, chairman of Colorado Concern. “These efforts directly impact our state’s competitiveness, which is critical in this global environment.”
Supporters of the recommendations include: Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Concern, National Federation of Independent Businesses, Colorado Community College System, the Colorado Workforce Development Council, Colorado Workforce Investment Boards, Economic Development Council of Colorado, Colorado Commission on Higher Education, and Action 22.
The Jobs Cabinet recommendations for collaboration will assist Colorado‘s economic developers in retaining and attracting jobs, and will help job seekers gain the skills necessary to land good-paying jobs.
“Colorado‘s success in a competitive global market is based on the state’s ability to meet the needs of employers with well-educated and trained employees,” Gov. Ritter said. “
Investing time and resources into developing a highly skilled workforce will give Colorado an edge when attracting businesses, and growing and sustaining existing businesses already located in our state.”
10 to 10:45 a.m. Gov. Bill Ritter and Budget Director Todd Saliman will outline a new budget-balancing plan for fiscal year 2009-10 to the Joint Budget Committee and other lawmakers. Spending reductions will amount to hundreds of millions of dollars and take effect Sept. 1. Location: Old Supreme Court Chambers, State Capitol. Listen online by clicking here.
11:15 a.m. Gov. Ritter and members of the JBC and legislative leadership will hold a news conference to discuss the balancing plan with reporters. Location: West Foyer, State Capitol.
3:30 p.m. Gov. Ritter will hold a tele-conference call with radio reporters from outside the metro area to discuss the balancing plan. Interested media should call or e-mail Megan Castle for details at 303.319.8513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
10:30 a.m. Gov. Ritter will take part in a news conference to launch the national Connected Care Telehealth Network, sponsored by United Healthcare with local partners Centura Health and the Colorado Rural Health Center. The program involves establishing Connected Care telehealth clinics in several existing rural health centers. Clinics will feature sophisticated audio, video and other healthcare technologies to connect patients with medical specialists hundreds of miles away. At today’s kickoff, a large 18-wheeler RV display truck will demonstrate the telehealth technologies that will be used in the clinics. Location: West Steps, State Capitol.
Gov. Bill Ritter and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper today announced that REpower USA Corp. is relocating its U.S. corporate headquarters from Oregon to Denver. The business, which is responsible for USA sales, project management and service for REpower turbines, is one of the first to take advantage of job incentive funds available through a new state law: the Colorado Job Growth Incentive Program (HB 09-1001).
“I am honored and privileged to welcome REpower to Colorado as the newest member to our New Energy Economy,” said Gov. Ritter. “Even in these tough times, we’re investing in things that matter to businesses like REpower: education, transportation, healthcare, the environment, and in businesses themselves. REpower is one of the first companies to take advantage of the Colorado Job Growth Incentive Program, demonstrating that even in these tough times, Colorado is an attractive place for companies to do business and for employees and their families to live, work and play. REpower’s decision to relocate its headquarters to Denver is further testament to the strength of Colorado’s business ecosystem and another great example of how we are leading Colorado forward.”
House Bill 09-1001 created the Colorado Job Growth Incentive Program, which allows Colorado to strategically compete for jobs by providing tax incentives to companies that move to Colorado and create at least 20 new jobs in urban areas or at least 5 new jobs in rural areas. REpower’s Denver office will initially be made up of about 25 relocating or newly hired employees, with staff levels expected to double within the next year.
“To maintain REpower’s future competitiveness and meet our customers’ needs in the growing US marketplace, it is crucial to be strategically located and close to all our customers and projects,” said Steve Dayney, CEO of REpower USA Corp. “Denver – centrally located, with an excellent national and international transportation infrastructure and supportive business climate – provides those characteristics we believe will help us succeed in meeting our US business goals.”
“We are proud to welcome REpower to downtown Denver and pleased to see a company taking advantage of our central location, highly-educated work force and growing transportation system,” said Mayor John Hickenlooper. “Colorado is fast becoming the epicenter for renewable energy. REpower’s decision to relocate its headquarters here is a welcome boost to our local economy and will help shine the light on all of the good things happening in our region.”
About the Colorado Job Growth Incentive Program (HB 09-1001)
- The program’s goal is to attract and create jobs throughout Colorado. In order to qualify for this program, a company must create at least 20 new jobs in an urban area or 5 new jobs in rural areas. Jobs must pay at least 110% of the county wage.
- A company must create and maintain any new job for one full year before becoming eligible to receive this credit.
- The amount of the tax credit will be calculated on a case-by-case basis according to the company’s future Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes. The company will be eligible to receive a tax credit up to 50% of their annual FICA taxes on new FTE’s.
The Economic Development Commission determines which projects are eligible for the tax incentive.
- The program allows Colorado to finally compete in the national and international economic development picture.