Monday, December 8, 2008


Gov. Bill Ritter issued the following statement today responding to economist Richard Wobbekind's 2009 forecast for Colorado:
"Colorado obviously is not immune to the global economic crisis. People are losing their jobs, families are struggling to keep food on the table and businesses are doing their best to stay afloat.
"Fortunately, Colorado remains in better shape than many other states thanks to our diverse economy, our well-educated workforce and strong sectors like energy and aerospace. But we must be even more aggressive in our pursuit of business-development, investment and job-creation opportunities.
"We must continue to play to our strengths and stay focused on 21st-century, knowledge-based growth sectors like the New Energy Economy, biosciences, technology and aerospace – and other Colorado mainstays like tourism -- to help get Colorado's economy moving again."
Gov. Ritter is consulting regularly with economic and industry leaders, and he has initiated a number of steps to address the economic crisis:
·   Advising and working with President-elect Obama and his transition team on the plan to make economic recovery and stimulus investments in transportation and energy infrastructure projects. Colorado has more than 160 highway, bridge, transit and airport projects, worth more than $1.4 billion, that would be "shovel-ready" within 180 days. For every $1 billion in transportation construction spending, nearly 40,000 jobs are created or preserved, according to industry estimates. The state also has natural-gas pipeline and numerous renewable-energy projects, including building transmission lines, that could be jump-started by a federal stimulus package.
·   Launching a series of statewide small business finance forums starting this week in Pueblo. The "Surviving Tough Times: Counseling, Tools and Resources for Small Business" forums will give small businesses direct access to resources and information specifically designed to help them get through the downturn.
·   Embarking on economic-development missions to Spain, Japan and China this year to promote Colorado's New Energy Economy, bioscience and air travel sectors.
·   Proposing a $12 million job creation, job training and business-assistance legislative package.
·   Beefing up efforts to connect job-seekers with employment opportunities through job fairs, open houses at the state's 60 workforce development centers and the website. Thousands of Coloradans took part in the statewide Keep Colorado Working Day hiring events and open houses on Nov. 20.