Ritter, BillNational online investment firm Scottrade is expanding its operations, adding 285 jobs to a new location in Westminster. Though it will be five years before all the jobs are created, the news gives Governor Bill Ritter a little room to boast about the state’s economy: “Colorado continues to retain and attract new, quality jobs despite the current economic downturn” (via 9News). But the downturn part is the toughie.

Holiday shopping turned out to be weak, and the extreme cold last month didn’t help much either, two factors that prompted an increase in unemployment, to 7.5 percent, up from 5.8 percent in December 2008, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Ritter, a Democrat who has decided not to run for a second term this year, has floated the idea of eliminating several tax breaks to help bolster Colorado’s ailing coffers.

But a new survey by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry finds that nearly 75 percent of state businesses would delay plans to expand if 13 specific tax exemptions are suspended by the state, notes the Denver Business Journal. Moreover, half of the businesses surveyed would cut worker pay and freeze hiring if such a plan is approved.