Kansas House passes bill to make it easier to see which businesses get tax breaks, other incentives

Kansas Statehouse in Topeka, February 2014.

? The Kansas House gave final passage Friday to a bill requiring more public disclosure about which companies benefit from certain state and local economic development incentives.

Supporters of House Bill 2572 noted that state and local governments in Kansas give away millions of dollars each year in various incentives, including tax credits and property tax abatements, as well as various kinds of bonds that are issued to pay for development costs.

The bill would require the Kansas Department of Commerce to set up a publicly accessible database to provide data on most programs that provide more than $50,000 a year in incentives.

That data would include the names and addresses of individuals or entities receiving benefits from those programs, the annual amount of incentives claimed and distributed to each recipient, as well as the criteria used to qualify someone for receiving incentives and the benchmarks, such as number of jobs created, that the recipient is expected to meet.

For recipients of sales tax and revenue bonds, or STAR bonds, the bill requires disclosure of the names of the principals and officers of each project development being financed with those bonds.

It also provides an exception, though, to prevent disclosure of information that is confidential under federal law, or information that is protected under a confidentiality agreement signed before July 1, 2018.

The bill would not apply to certain social and domestic tax credits such as the earned income tax credit, food sales tax credits, child and dependent care tax credits or the homestead property tax refund credits.

The bill passed on a vote of 114-7. It now moves to the Senate.