Affordable housing, growing businesses and dark-sky communities benefit from 2022 legislative session

Colorado State Capitol

Every year, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) works with state legislators to pass bills that support our mission to achieve and sustain a healthy Colorado economy that works for everyone. Typically, these bills create additional funding and/or support for existing OEDIT programs and new initiatives that benefit businesses, communities, and tourist destinations across Colorado.

This year, as part of the 2022 legislative session, 10 bills were passed infusing over $150 million into Colorado’s economy. These dollars are in addition to ongoing funding provided to OEDIT programs via the annual budget or “Long Bill.” Here are a few of the highlights:

Housing, Business Growth and Workforce Development
Across Colorado, in cities and rural communities, it’s almost impossible to talk about the availability of workers without discussing the attainability of affordable housing. Two bills from the 2022 legislative session seek to address these topics in unique and creative ways:

Innovative Housing Incentive Program (HB22-1282)
This bill creates a new incentive program to help innovative housing businesses—think companies that sell modular, manufactured or kit homes—grow. Eligible businesses whose projects increase the affordable and attainable housing supply will be able to apply for working capital grants and other financial incentives or loans for factory development. OEDIT will partner with the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to administer this new program, which will foster housing through economic development. It will be funded by $40 million out of the General Fund.

Regional Talent Collaborative (HB22-1350) 
HB22-1350 will fund qualified proposals for talent development initiatives in regions working to recover from the pandemic. It also seeks to smooth the transition from one phase of education or employment to another and foster opportunities for regional “learners and earners” to be more economically mobile and earn living wages through in-demand, high-skill, high-wage occupations. The bill provides $91 million in funding for the program, with the majority coming from American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Preserving Access to Night Skies as a Form of Tourism 
Colorado is recognized for its outdoor recreation experiences like hiking, biking and fishing, but in some parts of the state, viewing the night sky itself has become a tourist attraction. One new bill, Support Dark Sky Designation And Promotion In Colorado (HB22-1382), aims to identify and support Colorado communities to implement strategies that enhance access to stargazing experiences. It also provides promotional support to the Colorado stargazing network, a collection of destinations that seek to build awareness of tourism opportunities in locations that achieve International Dark-Sky designation. The Colorado Tourism Office will manage this technical assistance grant program.


Reauthorization of the Advanced Industries Investment Tax Credit
This one sounds technical and detailed, but it has real-world benefits for businesses across Colorado. The Advanced Industries Investment Tax Credit helps companies in advanced manufacturing, aerospace, energy and natural resources, and other advanced industry sectors secure investment. The proven program offers Colorado investors a state income tax credit when they invest in these advanced industry businesses. HB22-1149 reauthorizes the program and increases the program cap from $750,000 to $4 million. 

Improving Film Incentives 
Film incentives bring jobs and economic activity into towns across Colorado by supporting the filming and production of television, films and other visual media in Colorado, making HB22-1408 an important one. It creates a task force to assess how to make performance-based incentives for film production in Colorado more effective. It also gives the OEDIT executive director the authorization to approve incentives higher than the current limit of 20% of qualifying local expenditures, and infuses $2 million into the Colorado Office of Film, Television and Media for fiscal year 2022-23.

Other Bills
For those looking to go deep into this year’s legislative session, here’s a look at four more of the bills that passed impacting OEDIT programming: 

HB22-1187: Office of Economic Development COVID Relief Program Extension
HB22-1332: Office of Economic Development and International Trade American Rescue Plan Act Funds For Rural Colorado
SB22-194: Money In Creative Industries Cash Fund 
HB22-1409: Community Revitalization Grant Program Funding