End of session wrap-up

Posted 5/4/09

At the beginning of the 2009 legislative session, I stated that my priorities would be jobs, jobs, jobs, transportation and health care. I am …

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End of session wrap-up


At the beginning of the 2009 legislative session, I stated that my priorities would be jobs, jobs, jobs, transportation and health care. I am delighted to report that this Legislature made great strides in those three, or five, areas.

I sponsored House Bill 1001, the first bill introduced in the House of Representatives this session, to authorize tax credits for firms that create jobs in Colorado. The credits are for companies that create 20 or more jobs, earning at least 110 percent of the average wage in the county where they are created. The tax credit is estimated to create several thousand new jobs a year.

The biggest jobs bill was Senate Bill 108, Funding Advancement for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery (FASTER), which will secured as many as 8,000 good jobs for shovel-ready projects that repair our 126 structurally deficient bridges. FASTER will help address the $1 billion per year shortfall in transportation funding that Colorado needs to maintain our existing transportation infrastructure.

Unexpected medical bills are one of the primary causes of bankruptcy in Colorado. To keep costs low and cover more people, the 2009 Legislature passed the Colorado Healthcare Affordability Act. This act will provide more than 100,000 uninsured Coloradans with affordable healthcare and make sure that the costs of the uninsured will no longer be passed on to those with private health insurance.

I also sponsored a bill promoting wellness and prevention programs by giving individuals and businesses a break in health care premiums for participating in wellness programs. By allowing insurance providers to offer incentives to people participating in wellness and disease prevention programs, the legislation will promote public health without increasing costs.

In addition to the priorities listed above, high quality public education is a huge concern for most residents of my district. The concern becomes more intense and important during tough economic times. The legislature developed several innovative ideas to improve education in Colorado. One of them is a program called “ASCENT,” which creates another way for students to graduate and succeed: Students can be enrolled in both high school and college and work towards a degree.

During the 2009 session, the Legislature dealt with the harsh realities of these tough economic times. Just as most families have been doing, we were forced to make some very difficult financial decisions. While nobody at the Capitol is happy with all of the decisions that had to be made, we know that we did our best to produce a balanced budget and focus on the priorities important to Coloradans.

Joe Rice is the state representative for House District 38, which includes Littleton, Greenwood Village, Bow Mar, and Columbine Valley, as well as the southern third of Englewood and small parts of Aurora and Centennial.


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