Colo. jobs proposals may not make a big dent

6:54 PM, Jan 5, 2012   |    comments
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"You're going to hear a lot about jobs and the economy this session," says Colorado House Speaker Frank McNulty (R). "You'll hear it from Republicans, you'll hear it from Democrats."

McNulty rolled out what Republicans plan to do in the upcoming session to create jobs, highlighting a package of nine bills.

Those include a grace period before companies can be fined by state regulators for minor infractions.

"A generator on a work site has the wrong number or doesn't have the permit number on it," McNulty gave for an example.

Another bill would allow lumber from trees killed by bark beetles to be used in more construction in the state, which could help create jobs at one sawmill in Montrose.

"It will improve Colorado's economic environment and it will result in the creation of jobs," McNulty said of the package.

Many of these proposals could indeed help but only a little according to experts.

"It's more political than economic," says University of Denver business professor Mac Clouse.

He says the problems won't fix the fundamental problems keeping businesses from hiring, like a lack of demand from consumers.

That's a bigger problem than a state government can really control.

And it's not just the Republicans trumpeting jobs proposals.

Last month Democrats announced a jobs bill that would give companies a slight edge to win contracts with the state if they use mainly Colorado workers on their projects.

But Clouse says that only helps in cases when bidding on a contract already makes sense for a company.

"It could help in some [cases] but it's not going to be a giant wave of positive impact," Clouse explains.

Fortunately, there are signs the economy is recovering on its own.

Clouse says the reason politicians will be very vocal about relatively small jobs bills is that both political parties want to position themselves to take credit when things get better.

"Maybe things settle down in Europe and the economy comes back and that's the real factor, but you just happened to get your bill passed and so you'll claim credit," says Clouse.

Republicans did make one proposal that could actually cause more spending on construction.

They want to re-instate a six percent cap on the state budget's growth, something Democrats successfully threw out of state law.

Republicans want half of any money the state makes above the cap to be spent on building highways and public facilities.



(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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