Jobs and the Economy
Several years since the economic crisis of 2008, Colorado families and small businesses are still struggling to regain their footing. Now more than ever, job number one for government must be building a more robust economy. We all know that the private sector needs to drive job growth, but government should do everything in its power to create the kind of environment that allows businesses to expand. As your senator, my primary goal is to do everything I can to put the right policies in place to ensure Coloradans have the tools they need to succeed. From my perspective, there are three things the Congress should focus on to help Colorado – and the country – win the global economic race: encouraging innovation, fiscal discipline and reform from within.
I believe that answers to how we can win the global economic race can be found among the many success stories in Colorado. When I came to the Senate in 2009, I immediately launched my Colorado Workforce Tour, in which I travel the state to speak with workers, learn from their experiences and take their good ideas back to Washington.
One consistent theme I continue to hear in touring our state is that small business owners are still finding it hard to access the capital they need to purchase inventory, expand their businesses and hire more workers. To help address this problem, I introduced the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act (S. 509). This bill, which has strong bipartisan support, will free up more than $10 billion in small business lending within its first year of enactment, translating to well over 100,000 new jobs. Simply by getting government out of the way and responsibly easing up on an arbitrary cap on the amount of small business loans that our nation’s credit unions are allowed to make, we can help small business employers expand – all without costing taxpayers a dime. This bill has been endorsed by the National Small Business Association and the National Association of Manufacturers, among others, as well as the credit unions’ independent federal regulator, the National Credit Union Administration.
Another focus during my stops on the Colorado Workforce Tour is on that hallmark of American business: innovation. While there is no question that Coloradans are hurting as a result of global economic conditions, our state's economy is stronger than many others, thanks in part to our diverse, high-tech, innovative and entrepreneurial workforce.
Our strengths in fields like bioscience, aerospace, clean technology and information technology have translated directly into good-paying jobs for Coloradans and business investment in the state.
For example, Colorado's clean-technology sector – those businesses focusing on renewable energy technologies and technologies that help conserve energy – is growing rapidly: they’ve put 33 percent more people to work over the past five years. Colorado’s aerospace economy is one of the top three in the country, employing almost 20,000 Coloradans with good-paying jobs. And Colorado is home to an impressive array of bioscience research institutions and over 400 bioscience companies fostering entrepreneurial activity and biomedical breakthroughs.
We have to encourage this type of groundbreaking work to continue. Supporting innovation means creating the right conditions for American entrepreneurship and job creation, and allowing Americans to reach their full potential. From a federal perspective, Congress can spur more growth by restructuring the tax code to make it simpler and more supportive of innovation.
For more information about where I stand on these topics and what I'm working on, see the Taxes, Fiscal Responsibility and Bridging the Partisan Divide sections of my website.
We also must encourage people with great innovative ideas, no matter where they were born, to develop those ideas right here in America. To that end, I joined with senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar to introduce the StartUp Visa Act (S. 565). This bipartisan bill, which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has strongly endorsed, will help create U.S. jobs by encouraging foreign entrepreneurs – specifically, foreign-born graduates of U.S. universities and lawful immigrants already in the country as professional H-1B workers – to start businesses in the United States.
Among other things, supporting innovation also means investing in science and technology to keep Colorado and the nation on the cutting edge. It also means training the next generation for the jobs of the future. A well-educated workforce with the skills necessary to innovate and lead is the greatest asset we can have and will be the foundation for American success in the future.
For more information about where I stand on science, technology and education - especially the critical “STEM” fields - and what I'm working on, see the Science and Technology and Education sections of my website.
Yet until we get our federal budget under control and get a handle on our structural deficits and long-term debt, both the private and public funding needed to invest in our future will always be in doubt. I believe that one of the most productive ways Congress can help spur economic growth is by demanding good government initiatives and implementing a responsible, comprehensive plan for fiscal reform.
For more information, I invite you to visit my Fiscal Responsibility page to find out about my efforts to address our growing national debt.
As we continue down the path of economic recovery, I’ll keep working with my colleagues - in both parties - to ensure the government is fighting for Colorado families and small businesses - not Wall Street special interests. Now is a time when we must put partisanship and other differences behind us and work for the good of all Americans.
Press Coverage Regarding Senator Udall's Work on Jobs:
- Visa reforms could draw intellectual capital to U.S.
Editorial, The Denver Post
- Summer jobs for ski bums?
Editorial, The Denver Post
To continue my efforts to spur small business growth and jumpstart job creation in communities across Colorado, I reintroduced the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act. This deficit-neutral, bipartisan legislation - which I have championed since 2009 - improves small businesses' access to loans by increasing the cap on a credit union's lending ability. At a time when access to credit remains a challenge for small businesses, this bill removes an artificial barrier to economic development in Colorado and across the nation. Congress should consider every reasonable and responsible way to make credit available to business owners who want to grow their businesses, make new investments or purchase new equipment.
From the largest brewers to the smallest nano-breweries, Colorado's innovative breweries make our state "the Napa Valley of Beer." The bipartisan Brewers Excise and Economic Relief (BEER) Act would lower the federal excise tax small and large brewers pay per barrel of beer, allowing them to reinvest tax savings to grow their business, create jobs and fuel the economy. My bill would result in 90 percent of licensed breweries in Colorado paying $0 in federal excise taxes, while reducing the tax on large brewers to $9 per barrel. This would result in thousands of new Colorado jobs and millions of dollars in wages while supporting established producers, emerging craft brewers and the many agriculture, manufacturing and business service sectors that are affected by increased production levels.
The Marketplace Fairness Act is about achieving equitable treatment for all sales so that businesses with a physical presence in Colorado, employing Colorado workers and living in our communities are not at a competitive disadvantage with out-of-state businesses that sell products online. I co-sponsored the Marketplace Fairness Act, S.336, and co-sponsored the Marketplace Fairness Amendment to the FY14 Budget Resolution. The Marketplace Fairness Act requires out-of-state online sellers to collect and remit local and state sales taxes. This is bipartisan legislation that will level the playing field for Colorado businesses and close a loophole that favors out-of-state sellers.
I joined with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to introduce a bipartisan, common-sense plan to replace the indiscriminate and arbitrary cuts associated with sequestration with more prudent, strategic choices. This plan would give the executive branch more flexibility in implementing the cuts while also allowing Congress to conduct appropriate oversight throughout the process. The Udall-Collins plan would temper the effects sequestration will have on our economy and national security.
I introduced the StartUp Visa Act of 2013 to help keep innovators and entrepreneurs in the United States. This legislation will spur private investment, create good-paying jobs and help ensure America remains the global leader in innovation. The StartUp Visa Act of 2013 is a bipartisan bill that will spur job creation and help immigrant entrepreneurs and highly skilled graduates of U.S. universities start businesses in the United States.