Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mesa County Commissioners support bill to create economic development grant program for rural counties

The Mesa County Commissioners on Tuesday sent a letter of support for Colorado House Bill 15-1177, which would create an economic development initiative grant program for "highly distressed" rural counties. If the bill passes, local governments and private employers in up to 30 rural counties could apply for grants to attract new jobs or encourage private capital investment.

Applicants would need to provide matching funds and meet certain performance criteria.

The bill on Tuesday passed out of the State House Business Affairs and Labor Committee on a 12-1 vote, with some amendments. It will now be considered by the State House Appropriations Committee.

In their letter, the Mesa County Commissioners wrote:

"Many counties on the Western Slope were hit hard by the economic downturn that began in 2008, and for many reasons, such as low commodity prices, regulatory pressures and an over-abundance of federally controlled land, we have yet to see the economic recovery that other areas of Colorado are currently experiencing.

"HB 15-1177 would provide capital, through a carefully managed grant system, for private companies and local governments to initiate economic development projects in order to help breathe life into struggling rural economies."

For a full copy of the letter, go here.

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