Grassroots Organization Created to Reform Economic Development within the State of Colorado

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CIO Colorado has been launched as a citizens’ task force to fill the need for an office of innovation within the State of Colorado – Chief Innovation Office. It will support economic development reform with the goal of turning around the State of Colorado’s economy leading to the formation of new business and creation of new jobs.

Within the next sixty days, CIO Colorado plans to solicit ideas for economic development, develop them for implementation and submit them to Governor-elect John Hickenlooper. It is the general view of small businesses within the State of Colorado that major changes are needed in how the State engages in economic development in order to reverse the recession and make Colorado the superior location to start a new business.

It is a widely known fact that most new jobs come from new small businesses. However, in Colorado, small businesses are an even greater source of new jobs: creating 99.7% of Colorado's net new jobs from 2004 to 2005. [Source – U.S. Small Business Administration].

Historically, Colorado has focused economic development programs on large businesses with such efforts led by individuals with no small business experience. The recent election of John Hickenlooper as the next governor of Colorado is viewed as an opportunity to change this practice because he a former small businessperson.

Responsibility for economic development can no longer be completely outsourced to government agencies: whether they are local, state or federal. The private sector must retain responsibility for educating and assisting government agencies in economic development. In addition, the private sector must initiate completely private economic development activities to complement the work of the government and social enterprises.

Governments must take into consideration the impact of any new tax, law or regulation upon small businesses before any action is taken.

CIO Colorado takes the position that now the election is over, its time to get to work. A failure to reform economic development will leave the State of Colorado mired in a serious economic recession that threatens the ability of the State to provide public services. Action in formulating new economic development policies must be immediate so that work may commence as soon as Governor-elect Hickenlooper is inaugurated and the Colorado legislative session opens in January of 2011.

A website has been established,, where anyone may submit an idea for an economic development initiative. Submitted initiatives will be assigned to teams of small businesspeople and economic advisors to develop workable plans for implementation. Draft plans will be published for public feedback and refinement. Small business members of CIO Colorado will vote on the list of all initiatives. The top ten initiatives will be incorporated within a report and recommended to Governor-elect Hickenlooper.

Ideas already being considered include unification of sales taxes within the State, enabling the State to invest in businesses and waiver of all State taxes for the first five years of operation of a new business.

CIO Colorado extends an invitation to all small businesses in the State of Colorado to join in this effort.

Contact:    Ron Yeager, spokesperson for CIO Colorado


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Karl Dakin
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