Bill boosts rural workforce tool

A bill before Kansas legislators Wednesday would extend and revamp a state program providing financial incentives to those moving to rural areas struggling with workforce retention.

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March 18, 2021 - 8:05 AM

TOPEKA — A bill before Kansas legislators Wednesday would extend and revamp a state program providing financial incentives to those moving to rural areas struggling with workforce retention.

The Rural Opportunity Zones program provides designated counties an opportunity to offer income tax credits and student loan repayments in an effort to reverse population decline. Previously, these zones were decided by population loss, but under House Bill 2341 any county with a population of less than 35,000 would qualify.

This would expand the program by 16 counties, bringing the total qualifying counties to 93. Estimates from the Kansas Department of Revenue indicate this would pull nearly $2 million from the State General Fund in 2022. It would also extend the program set to expire at the end of June until 2026. 

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