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Democrats in the Colorado House yesterday announced their ideas for spurring job creation in the state. House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino of Denver characterized the package of legislation as a “host of practical solutions that take a bottom-up approach to economic development”. The plan aims to scrutinize tax breaks and prop up programs that democrats say will help businesses thrive. The democratic plan was greeted with skepticism, however, amongst republicans. Representative John Becker of Fort Morgan, who serves on the joint budget committee, says that “at first blush, they increase government, spend more money and take money from other programs that create jobs.” One democratic proposal aims to establish a grant program with the mission of linking innovations hatched at the state’s research universities to private industry. Another seeks to devote more money to the state’s 14 small business development centers. Democrats also propose to extend a tax credit for investment in innovation that they say has been successful and is more essential than ever as access to business capital becomes increasingly scarce.

A report unveiled by Governor John Hickenlooper yesterday, the “Pits and Peeves” report, is the fruit of a year’s work that included six roundtables in the state, with the findings of a months-long review of regulation in the state with an eye on removing unnecessarily burdensome red tape for businesses. Among the things state regulators learned about themselves in the course of developing the report was that for years they had been requiring disclosures from a segment of the real estate industry without any legal authority to do so. And, the Colorado Department of Transportation discovered that it has been requiring event permits for functions on public highways despite legislation passed in 1994 to abandon the requirement. The report has already resulted in the abandonment of some regulatory rules, has cast greater scrutiny on others and led the state to consider disbanding up to 40 of the approximately 300 boards and commissions that have a hand in regulation. Hickenlooper says he believes that regulatory practices can be retooled without legislation. He expects state agencies to drive the process.

12th Judicial District incumbent District Attorney David Mahonee announced yesterday that he will seek the democratic nomination to be the party’s candidate for district attorney in the general election next November. Mahonee is serving his first elected term as district attorney following his election in 2008 and serves as prosecutor for the state’s 12th judicial district, which includes Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache counties. Mahonee says he remains committed to fairness and justice for the people throughout the San Luis Valley.

U.S. Senator Mark Udall will hold a town hall meeting in Trinidad, in the Pioneer Room at Trinidad State Junior College, this Thursday, January 12th, from 4 to 5pm. Senator Udall will hold another town hall meeting in La Junta at the student center at Otero Junior College on Friday, January 13th, from 1 to 2pm. Everyone is invited to attend. And, Senator Michael Bennett’s staff will hold an ag producers roundtable tomorrow at Otero Junior College in La Junta in the Staford Theater from 10am to noon for all producers. Everyone is welcome.

Land for the national guard’s new armory in Alamosa has been purchased and plans are now underway for the area to be annexed into the city of Alamosa. A tract of land of between 30 and 35 acres behind the old county buildings and across the road from the sheriff’s office and the jail, will be the location of the new armory. The property was sold to the state of Colorado for $400,000. The annexation is expected to be completed in February and construction is expected to begin in the spring. The new facility will serve as an armory for about 80 soldiers and will be the army national guard’s recruiting station for the area.