Archive for Monday, April 11, 2011

Rural areas get tax break from Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback

April 11, 2011


— Gov. Sam Brownback is embarking on an experiment that he says he hopes will help revitalize rural areas of Kansas that have experienced consistent loss of population for decades.

Brownback, a Republican who took office in January, pushed through with relative ease a proposal that designates 50 counties as rural opportunity zones, and provides a state individual income tax exemption for people who move into those counties from out of state.

It also authorizes those counties to participate in a state-matching program to repay student loans of up to $15,000 for students who move to those counties.

“I’m already getting a lot of feedback on this,” Brownback said at a recent news conference.

He signed the measure into law last week, and today plans to conduct ceremonial signings in Belleville, Colby, Wichita and Yates Center.

He said the proposal will give the designated counties another tool to recruit doctors, dentists, retirees and others.

“I think it has an opportunity to grow an area of the state,” he said.

Lea Ann Seiler, economic development director for Hodgeman County, said she will use the new law to promote her area.

“From an economic development standpoint, we think it will be wonderful,” Seiler said.

Like many rural counties, Hodgeman, which has a population of about 2,000, has already put in place incentives to lure people, including providing some funds for people who build new homes.

Seiler said she hoped the student loan repayment provision would bring in some recent graduates, although she said it will be difficult for the county to find the funds to match that program.

“County coffers are tight now,” she said.

Under the law, those who qualify would receive a full tax credit against their state income tax liability. They must have been living outside the state for five or more years prior to establishing residency in the rural opportunity zone.

Under the student loan repayment plan, the eligible counties would be authorized to adopt resolutions to participate and pay half of certain student loan costs. The maximum amount would be $15,000, which the state and county would split.

The tax exemption will reduce funds to state coffers by $1.5 million in its first year, and $4.4 million in its second year, according to state estimates. Brownback has recommended transferring $1.3 million in economic development funds to the Kansas Department of Commerce to cover the student loan repayment program.

Seiler said she doesn’t believe there will be any hard feelings from people who already live in those counties and aren’t getting the tax break. Supporters of the measure say they hope the new law will benefit all by increasing economic activity.


Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago


People pay for medicare insurance there is nothing free about it. How is that an entitlement?

People pay for Social Security Insurance. How is that an entitlement?

Let's talk entitlements:

A. Why not cut off tax dollar subsidies that go to many many wealthy corporations?

B. Why not curtail tax abatements,tax rebates,Tax Increment Financing and other tax dollar entitlement subsidies?

C. Of course tax cuts such as Bush Tax Cuts are entitlements:

D. How about that automatic $4,000 increase in pay to legislators? Of course that is an entitlement.

People voted the democrats into control to avoid the reckless management of OUR tax dollars when Obama was elected president. Republicans have managed to control the democrats ever since. What happened?

Flap Doodle 6 years, 11 months ago

You know, I'd swear I saw this very same post on another thread this morning.....

Flap Doodle 6 years, 11 months ago

A 10 year old article from dollars&sense needs to be poked at us every few days? I think not.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 11 months ago

These are empty gestures and, in the end, will cost the state almost nothing. They may get a handful of retirees. But for the others, there is no incentive to move there, especially from out of state. Tax breaks simply aren't enough. The biggest problem is lack of employment. Not even one doctor can support themselves on a county of 2,000 and that's if he/she sees everyone. Same for a dentist. Bottom line, if there is no way to provide ongoing support to yourself; buy gas, pay the grocery bill, etc. all the tax breaks in the world won't help. You can't eat tax breaks.

grandnanny 6 years, 11 months ago

Brownback's rich friends buy a little property in one of these counties, say they are living there and don't pay income taxes for five years. Do people have to prove that they actually live there or just own property? What a nice scam. This plan has to be one of the lamest Brownback has put together as he included not one real incentive for people to move to an area with no jobs, no quality education, no entertainment, etc. Now Brownback can get busy saving marriages. I can hardly wait. Meanwhile, the Brownback family continues to collect farm subsidies (agricultural welfare) from the federal government. I LOVE KANSAS!

imastinker 6 years, 11 months ago

The Kansas income tax is 6%. Who would move to avoid 6% in taxes for a few years?

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 11 months ago

How is it a "good idea" if ti doesn't work? Aren't "good ideas" supposed to work?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 11 months ago

Both sides of the political isle come up with good "sounding" ideas that don't work because they forget to take account of the human element. Things like self-interest, greed, etc., are all part of human nature. It's that part of the equation that causes so many good sounding ideas to fail, and to fail again and again.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 11 months ago

The real question is whether Brownback will be held accountable for jobs.

Because this isn't going to create a single job, and he has promised 110,000 new ones.

Grump 6 years, 11 months ago

That state is paying people to move to areas that are not economically viable?

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 11 months ago

Social engineering.

Seems to me the market is letting itself be heard about the viability of rural Kansas.

tolawdjk 6 years, 11 months ago

Does it still count if it is a legal Mexican? Or are they only wanting white people?

I love that he is signing in Wichita. Is Sedwick County rurally challenged?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 11 months ago

legal, yes. Illegal, no. Color of skin, doesn't matter.

tolawdjk 6 years, 11 months ago

Acoording to the mantra, illegals already have the benefit of not paying state income taxes. So why would the distinction matter in this case?

This tax break doesn't require anything, other than to move into one of 50 counties. You don't have to obtain a job, bring a job, build a house, buy a -anything- to improve the impoverished area. Just move there and get a tax break. Heck I don't even see anything stated that you have to actually even physically live there.

Rent an address. "Relocate" you business there. Say you have offices in Paris, New York, Milan, Barbados, Prague, and Dighton. Your "main office" and "home" is in Dighton where you enjoy the climate and laid back lifestyle, but work demands you maintain a presence globally.

preebo 6 years, 11 months ago

What happened to the GOP tag-line that says Gov't shouldn't be picking winners? Let the market decide, right?

Isn't the fact that rural communities are diminishing in population a direct result of the market? This has been a worldwide phenomenon for centuries. It has even been taught in elementary social studies courses (even in KS) as part of human migration for decades.

hmati 6 years, 11 months ago

It is crazy that while education is being cut more and more, Mr. Brownback would want to give tax breaks to encourage people to relocate to rural Kansas. The same areas he wants to encourage growth in are the areas that take some of the largest hits from loss of education funding. Many have not been able to sustain schools at all and have closed schools and consolidated with other small schools. They have cut all extras, programs, activities, and have thinned their staffs down to beyond the bare minimum. Many rural schools are just barely surviving at all, but people should pack up their families and move there? Seems like a very unviable plan. No jobs, no schools, minimal services in these communities, but somehow we can afford to offer tax breaks to try and attempt to get people to live there anyway?

tolawdjk 6 years, 11 months ago

The only people that will take advantage of this "tax shelter" will be those that will abuse it.

thefisherman 6 years, 11 months ago

If it were Obama's idea, you'd all be praising it.

tolawdjk 6 years, 11 months ago

And if it was, you would be against it.

The fact is, it is a bad idea. It does nothing to fix the underlying difficulty of bringing people to rural Kansas, namely jobs, and puts an additional tax burden on the existing population...namely the counties coming up with matching funds to write off student loans.

In fact, it forces the "growing" counties to subsidize the state's portion of the write off. This has all the hallmarks of a what the right rails against in a tax plan, yet sails through with great support.

"Seiler said she doesn’t believe there will be any hard feelings from people who already live in those counties and aren’t getting the tax break. Supporters of the measure say they hope the new law will benefit all by increasing economic activity."

Seller is either delusional or stupid. This creates legal leeches rather than illegal ones. Legal or illegal, everyone needs to buy a gallon of milk. The economy doesn't care where the dollar came from, only that it is a dollar. The only thing that is different is that legals pay income taxes, illegals don't.

thefisherman 6 years, 11 months ago

You only assume I'd be against it. The difference is that I know you're against it as is, not because you only talk about the idea being bad, but because you speak so negatively about the person who pushed it through.

I grew up in western Kansas and know first hand the problem the area faces. I prefer the openness and beauty of the rural counties, but the fact is there are few jobs to support a life out there.

The concept of subsidizing student loans to live in a rural county is a good one, but it stops short in terms of fixing the problem. There needs to be an incentive for business and industry to move out there. Until that happens you can pay all the student loans you want without putting a roof over somebody's head or feeding their family.

Baby steps.

beatrice 6 years, 11 months ago

Social experimentation? It should be interesting watching conservatives defend this one.

If you add to it the incentive to get married recently proposed, a young couple might actually come out ahead on this deal.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 11 months ago

Maybe Sam's Muscular Jesus will move to Wichita County. He can bust the unions there and crack a few heads in the name of the love of money. Not exactly biblical, but the C-Street Cult that trained Sam gave up on the bible long ago.

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