Last month the Democrats introduced a “jobs” bill that landed with a great big DUD. It was a protectionist bill that had failed last session and baffled observers who wondered what the Democrats had been doing in the seven months since the last session ended. Today, the GOP announced their own plans, including legislation to rid the state of ridiculous red tape despised by anyone who owns a business.

Eli Stokols of Fox 31 reports:

The session is shaping up as a battle between Republicans and Democrats, who introduced the centerpiece of their own jobs platform last month, over which party can deliver on the one issue that will matter most to voters in the November election.

Last summer, McNulty and other GOP leaders traveled around Colorado to meet with small business owners, whose feedback served as the impetus for much of the legislation Republicans plan to introduce.

…One measure outlined by Republicans, dubbed the “CLEAR Act”, will seek to prevent changes to the application and permitting process for businesses so that the rules don't change as businesses are applying for permits and thus force those businesses to re-apply.

The Democrats bill aimed to give special advantage to Colorado companies for contracts with the state government. The bill failed last session, leaving many folks scratching their heads as to why Democrats would give it the symbolic value of being the first bill they introduce in the Senate this year. 

From Tim Hoover's write up on the bill:

[C]ompanies bidding on state construction contracts would get a 3 percent preference if they had 90 percent of their workers in Colorado, an additional 1 percent for offering benefits and an additional 1 percent for those who “have access to an apprentice training program.”

The bill is similar to HB11-1233, offered last year by Rep. Angela Williams, D-Denver. That bill would have given a 5 percent preference on construction contracts to companies with at least 80 percent Colorado workers. Williams’ bill, however, died in committee amid a variety of concerns, including that it would drive up construction costs for state agencies and universities.

A fiscal analysis of the bill said that had it been in effect in 2010, the state’s construction costs would have increased by close to $7 million. That’s because in some cases, companies with higher bids would be awarded contracts after getting preferences taken into account.

Additional concerns have been expressed about union kickbacks in the bill, designed to reward Democrats' top campaign cash contributors, to the detriment of non-unionized Colorado businesses.

The contrast between the GOP and Democrats' competing jobs proposal is quite striking.

The Democrats' bill is a warmed over piece of protectionism crap that would raise costs for a state government already strapped for cash, in addition to having already been defeated last year. 

On the other side, the GOP legislation is a bill crafted with the input of Colorado business owners and potentially supported by Governor Hickenlooper who has previously expressed interest in reforming a broken regulatory regime.

In the battle sure to define the 2012 legislative session, the lines have been drawn, and they don't look particularly good for those on the left side of the aisle.