Original publish date: Oct. 20, 2011
We’ve all heard it: Bad news comes in threes. Well, not in metro Denver last week.
Here, it was quite the opposite with the announcement of a trio of big economic developments.
In fact, the Denver Post called it “The best week in years – maybe ever for luring big corporations to our state.”
In a matter of days, Arrow Electronics, a $300 million General Electric solar panel plant and the possible return of outdoor-equipment company Coleman, which left the state 14 years ago, came one after another and are expected to bring more than 1500 jobs to the state.
These wins for Colorado signals that our economic development efforts are paying off – largely because of our collaborative strategy.
Ken Lund, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade -and former Chamber Board Member – told the Post of the Arrow Electronics move, “It was government at the local, regional and state level, institutions of higher education and others crossing and working together to bring a company to Colorado. If we continue to do that, then we can continue to compete for companies, because that collaboration does not happen in other states.”
Further, state leadership has worked to incentivize moves like those Arrow and General Electric have made. Arrow is eligible for up to $11.4 million in state income tax credits over the next five years, through the state’s Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit, if it indeed creates 1,250 jobs or more in that time frame.
That tax credit was developed under former Governor Bill Ritter’s watch, and Governor John Hickenlooper is building upon that solid foundation. Those in the know – including our own Tom Clark of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation – say the governor is engaging himself in the process in an unprecedented manner that is helping to ensure these deals get sealed.
Meanwhile, GE was offered a $28 million incentive to bring its solar panel plant here – including $2 million from the state and $26 million from Aurora. That money, combined with other factors, was enough to best a $30 million offer from New York.
The location of this plant in Colorado means so much more to our state than the good jobs and economic impact it will bring. It means we are continuing to strengthen our position as a center of innovation in cleantech – the strongest growing industry cluster in Colorado amid this economic slump.
Monday, the U.S. Census reported that Colorado ranked No.1 in solar jobs per capita and No. 2 for overall solar jobs, just behind California.
In the past year, the number of solar workers in Colorado has increased 16 percent over 2010. Our state’s job growth in that sector is 20 times faster than the country’s job growth overall, the Census shows.
Each of us works to ensure a bright future for our state and the success of its economy and those are efforts are being noticed and rewarded in the best possible way-with results. Our strategy of working together toward a common goal is reaping rewards for all of us.
We hope this is the first in a series of banner weeks for our state. While the economic recovery is a bit slow, these successes certainly reinforce our confidence that is sure. Nice work team!