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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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
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
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
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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