Ritter proposes measures to boost arts, film industry

Gov. Bill Ritter unveiled three proposals designed to help boost arts and entertainment in the state for the Legislature to consider when it convenes next week.

The Democratic governor said the measures will create more jobs in Colorado without costing the state a dime.

“In this tough economy, nothing is more important than growing jobs, getting people back to work and ushering businesses through the downturn,” Ritter said Tuesday. “State government alone can’t fix the economy, but we are doing our part.”

Ritter said Colorado’s “creative industry” employs about 186,000 people and almost 800 businesses, making it the fifth-largest industry in the state.

The measures, to be introduced by several Democrats and one Republican, are designed to coordinate arts programs, increase public art projects and encourage the entertainment industry to film productions in the state, he said.

One measure drew immediate criticism from Republicans. It calls for dedicating to public art 1 percent of money the state finances with bonds or other funding mechanisms that are issued to pay for capital construction projects in the state.

House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, said he supports the arts but that state construction projects are expensive enough without adding millions of dollars to the cost.

Another measure would consolidate three state-run arts programs — the Colorado Council on the Arts, Art in Public Places and the Colorado Office of Film —  under the governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

The third measure, to be carried by Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, will expand a tax rebate the state already offers to the film industry, clarifying it also may be used for commercial and video-game productions.


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