Feds could mirror Jump-Start

Gardner says he'll use template to introduce bill in Congress

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, center, R.-Colo., and Tim Foster, left, president of Colorado Mesa University, listen as Joshua Vajda explains his Jump-Start business at the CMU Innovation Center. Vajda is the lead chemical engineer of General Synfuels International. Gardner also visited West Springs psychiatric hospital during his visit to Grand Junction.

Colorado’s Rural Jump-Start Tax Credit Program could serve as a template for a federal effort aimed at boosting economic recovery, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said Monday.

Gardner is planning a bill for the 115th Congress to introduce a “mirror image” of the Colorado program, he said after meeting with representatives of four of the eight Jump-Start companies based in Mesa County.

Gardner met with company representatives and students at the Innovation Center at Colorado Mesa University as he toured through western Colorado.

What the federal program won’t do, he said, is recreate a bureaucracy to offer a federal benefit. It would rely on states with similar programs to cull through applicants, and those companies that qualify for state programs also would qualify for a federal one.

Eliminating federal income taxes for a specified period — Colorado eliminates state income taxes for eight years for qualifying positions in qualifying companies — would be helpful, Gardner was told.

Growing companies also could benefit from grants that would help them grow at specific times, several entrepreneurs said.

Even though Colorado Clear, which makes biodegradable amphorae for water and other liquids, is well ahead of the growth it anticipated, it can’t easily attract $250,000 to $500,000 to hire personnel needed to move to a different level, so grants could help, said Tim Huff, owner of Colorado Clear, based in Palisade.

Such grants could allow companies to clear those times between when new hires catch on to the system and when they begin contributing to cash flow, said Aaron Young, owner of Kaart Group, which is based in Grand Junction.

That’s the “valley of death” for many small companies that are seeking to expand but don’t have the capital to move forward, Gardner said.

It’s not just companies, but communities that could benefit from support for growing but not big ventures.

“With a little funding, I think we can turn this area into a tech hub,” Young told Gardner.


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