Well, another year, another legislative session.
I focused on helping small businesses grow and continued my work to ensure that Colorado is a leader in renewable energy.
We passed an extensive package of jobs bills to help Colorado businesses and workers. Some were a few years in the making.
In 2011, I worked on a bill that would have helped entrepreneurs expand their businesses and provided job-seekers with new training. Though that bill was killed, we brought back these ideas as parts of our 2013 jobs agenda.
My top-priority jobs bill increased funding for the state’s Small Business Development Centers, which provide coaching and consultation for startups and growing businesses.
With only $85,000 in state dollars in 2011, companies utilizing SBDCs produced 1,700 new jobs – a higher rate of return than any other Colorado economic development program. My bill provided $200,000 more a year and will help create thousands of Colorado jobs.
We also passed an “economic gardening” bill, which provides similar support to Colorado’s second-stage companies that are on the verge of taking off.
In addition to boosting support for businesses, we worked to connect Coloradans to good jobs. We created a career pathways program to help the unemployed obtain skills needed for in-demand jobs.
We also launched a pilot program to combine skills training and basic education courses for out-of-work adult Coloradans to help them obtain certificates in specific fields faster.
These are a few of the jobs bills we passed to support small businesses and help Colorado workers gain the skills they need for good-paying jobs.
My second focus this session was to ensure that Colorado remains a leader in clean energy. Modernizing Colorado’s energy portfolio is a win-win, creating thousands of good-paying jobs while protecting Colorado’s environment by reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants.
This year, we took meaningful steps to reduce our carbon footprint in three key areas:
• Power Generation – In 2010, I sponsored a bill to increase the renewable energy standard to 30 percent by 2020 for Colorado’s largest utilities. This year, we increased the standard for major suppliers to rural co-ops to 20 percent by 2020. Together, these steps have put Colorado on a path to being a leader in the flourishing renewable energy economy.
• Homes and Offices – We created a program to offer incentives for energy-efficient new homes and energy improvements to existing homes. Another bill I sponsored makes it easier for commercial building owners to access long-term financing for energy improvements.
• Transportation – We passed bills to renew the alternative-fuel-vehicle tax credit, require electric-vehicle drivers to pay their fair share of taxes for road maintenance, and allow cities and counties to use gas tax revenues for transit projects.
We accomplished a lot for the people of Colorado this year — much more than the headlines showed.
If you want to hear more about the work we did, check out my web site, www.maxtyler.us.
State Rep. Max Tyler’s House District 23 includes northern and western Lakewood. He serves on the House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee and is the chairman of the House Transportation & Energy Committee.