Lawmakers roll out $20 million plan to boost high tech industries

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DENVER — A $20 million plan to attract more high-tech industries to Colorado will be the first House bill of this year’s session.

The legislation, introduced at the Capitol Monday by Gov. John Hickenlooper and a bipartisan group of lawmakers, supports the state’s advanced industries, which include bioscience, aerospace, electronics and information technology with grants ranging from $150,000 for research and development to $500,000 for infrastructure funding.
 
The governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade would manage the grant program.
 
Incoming Democratic House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, called the proposal, dubbed the Advanced Industries Accelerator Act, a “strategic investment in economic development.”
 
Supporters of the bill say they want to take advantage of the research institutions and federal labs in Colorado to spur collaboration with private-sector funders.

“Colorado already has a network of world-class research institutions, including federal labs and universities, innovative companies and a highly educated workforce,” said Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley, the bill’s sponsor. “Aligning these assets around opportunities to grow the advanced industries will establish Colorado as a global competitor and technology hub, and turn our research strengths into viable companies with good jobs.”

House Bill 1001 aims to provide up to $15 million a year for up to 10 years for grants to advanced industries, which account for close to 30% of Colorado’s economy. 

Rep. Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen, is co-sponsoring the legislation.