Gov. Bill Ritter today signed legislation that he believes will help companies create new jobs, allow Colorado to compete for new businesses and strengthen community college job-training programs to better meet workforce needs of emerging industries.

“The two bills I signed today mark a key step toward our long-term vision of creating a modern, knowledge-based economic ecosystem in Colorado,” Ritter said. “This ecosystem depends on controlling healthcare costs, reforming education and building a 21st-century transportation system.

House Bill 1001, sponsored by Rep. Joe Rice (D-Glendale) and Sen. Rollie Heath (D-Boulder), allows companies to apply to the Colorado Economic Development Commission for a state income tax credit based on the payroll tax cost they incur from creating new jobs. To qualify for the credit, companies must create at least 20 new jobs in urban areas or five new jobs in rural areas, and pay wages above the local average.

Dave White, vice president of marketing for the Economic Development Corp. said the legislation will strengthen the EDC’s efforts to attract employers.

Senate Bill 171, sponsored by Sen. Gail Schwartz (D-Denver), is expected to strengthen the Colorado First Program job training program. Current training programs are restricted to employees who already have jobs and are obtaining new skills. SB 171 will allow community college and other training providers to partner with businesses to create industry cluster-based training programs that will be available to everyone.

Gov. Ritter is scheduled to sign a third economic development bill, Senate Bill 67, which will give businesses access to credit and capital, during the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce State of the State luncheon Thursday.

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