Governor's Office of Economic Development and International Trade
COMMITTEE ON JOINT BUSINESS AFFAIRS & LABOR
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02:17 PM -- Governor's Office of Economic Development and International Trade
Alice Kotrlik, Deputy Director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), and Matt Cheroutes, Director of Communications and External Affairs for OEDIT, introduced themselves. Ms. Kotrlik gave an overview of OEDIT and the office's budget. Ms. Kotrlik explained that much of the office's budget comes from gaming funds, and discussed the programs funded by gaming funds. She described the divisions of OEDIT, and indicated that the office had provided a brochure containing more details (Attachment B). Ms. Kotrlik also discussed a "highlighted fact sheet book" that contains information on every program that provides financial assistance to businesses. This book was not included in the material distributed to committee members.
(Attachment B can be viewed at Archives.)
Ms. Kotrlik explained the office's core objectives and discussed a document that had been provided to the Joint Budget Committee (Attachment C). Ms. Kotrlik explained the office's targeted industries and stated that all core measurements are based on the fiscal year except for the measurements for the Colorado Tourism Office, which are measured on a calendar year basis.
Matt Cheroutes gave an outline of the office's strategy for Colorado's economic development. He described the office's current projects and objectives. He also discussed the office's response to the economic downturn, and noted that the office had been involved in small business finance forums around the state and had retooled its legislative package.
Senator Heath indicated that he was sponsoring some of the bills Mr. Cheroutes had mentioned. He asked Mr. Cheroutes to compare Colorado's actions to the actions of other states. Mr. Cheroutes stated that Colorado is competing on a global level and is not known for being able to offer necessary incentives for economic development, and that now is the time to be aggressive. Mr. Cheroutes discussed recent successes in providing incentives to attract businesses, and also noted that there had been failures to seize opportunities as a result of lacking tools and resources.
Senator Veiga asked Mr. Cheroutes to address whether the office can determine if there is a better way to utilize the funds in the Enterprise Zone Program. She asked if it was feasible for the office to apply the targeting approach used in other programs to the Enterprise Zone Program. Mr. Cheroutes indicated that the office had been exploring options and had discussed areas for improvement. He stated that the office had submitted recommendations for improvements and that the office would continue to engage in a dialogue about the program. Ms. Kotrlik added that efforts to reduce credits in the Enterprise Zone Program may create issues with the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights (TABOR).
Responding to questions from Senator Foster, Ms. Kotrlik explained why the office did not pick up Denver's China office when it closed and discussed the contacts and business prospects that had resulted from OEDIT's trip to Asia. In response to further questions, Ms. Kotrlik stated that OEDIT's only foreign office is located in Mexico. Mr. Cheroutes noted that OEDIT is statutorily required to present information about its International Trade Office to the Joint Finance Committee, but that the office would provide such information to the Business Committees.
Responding to a question from Senator Heath, Mr. Cheroutes discussed Colorado's progress concerning contracts for direct flights from Japan.
Representative Priola discussed the importance of business relationships and noted that Colorado has much to offer due to the high cost-of-living in Japan. Responding to a request from Senator Veiga, Ms. Kotrlik discussed the Colorado Job Creation Performance Incentive Fund and a document providing information about the fund (Attachment D). Mr. Cheroutes added that this document satisfies the statutory requirement for a presentation by the Economic Development Commission.
The committee adjourned.