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.


tange 3 years ago

Well, if you're going to lure people to Kansas, you're going to have to take down all the "dumber than you think" billboards.

/ is it too late for Lawrence to secede? Washingourhands, District of Conundria


Paul R Getto 3 years 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.


not_holroyd 3 years ago

"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."

Seilier is either lying or is an idiot.


beatrice 3 years 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.


thefisherman 3 years ago

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


tolawdjk 3 years ago

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


hmati 3 years 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?


preebo 3 years 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.


tolawdjk 3 years 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?


yourworstnightmare 3 years ago

Social engineering.

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


prospector 3 years ago

Have you ever heard someone say, you would have to pay me to live there. Sam is dreaming.


Grump 3 years ago

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


Bob_Keeshan 3 years 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.


autie 3 years ago

good idea. that won't work.


grandnanny 3 years 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!


Cait McKnelly 3 years 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.


Richard Heckler 3 years 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?


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