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Policy: Technology

Colorado lawmakers seek money to attract tech jobs

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Politics,Associated Press,Colorado,Technology

DENVER (AP) -- A $20 million plan to attract more technology companies to Colorado is expected to be the first House bill of this year's session.

The legislation announced Monday aims to grow the bioscience, aerospace, electronics and information technology sectors. The grants would range from $150,000 for research and development to $500,000 for infrastructure funding.

Gov. John Hickenlooper's Office of Economic Development and International Trade would manage the grant program. The governor has said the "advanced industries" bill is one of his top priorities this year.

Incoming Democratic House Speaker Mark Ferrandino called the proposal a "strategic investment in economic development."

Republicans say they're open to the idea, too.

"If that bill creates opportunity for Coloradoans, and we can do it in a cost-effective manner, Republicans will support that," said GOP House Leader Mark Waller. He noted, however, that he had yet to see the specifics of the bill.

Supporters say they want to take advantage of the research institutions and federal labs in Colorado to spur collaboration with private-sector funders.

The grants would range from small "concept grants" at Colorado research institutions to larger "infrastructure grants" for projects that use multiple high-tech industries and institutions.

In the state Senate, tax cuts for parents are the top priority for Democrats. President John Morse says he's sponsoring a series of child-tax credits that could affect more than 370,000 families. Details were expected Wednesday, when the Legislature convenes for its 120-day session.

"Helping in this way ensures that we don't lose traction on this recovery," Morse said Monday.

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Associated Press writer Kristen Wyatt contributed to this report.

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Find Ivan Moreno on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IvanJourno

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