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Statewide Virtual Job Fair to Showcase New Opportunities for Jobseekers Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland is encouraging jobseekers and employers searching for new talent to participate in the June Virtual Statewide Job Fair. Hosted by KANSASWORKS, the job fair will be from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 26. Commerce Announces $390,000 in Emergency HEAL Grant Funding Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland today announced more than $390,000 in Emergency Historic Economic Asset Lifeline (E-HEAL) grants has been awarded to five recipients. More than $770,000 private local matching funds will be added to that total, to help bring rural downtown buildings back from likely demolition or collapse – and rehabilitate them back into productive use. Kansas Main Street Selects Eight Rural Communities for New Housing Grant Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland today announced eight inaugural grant recipients of the Residential Opportunities on Main Street (ROOMS) program. A total of eight projects in Designated Kansas Main Street communities are receiving $50,000 each to create a total of 35 new residential units in the upper floors of downtown buildings. Kansas Nonprofits Receive More than $4M in Community Service Program Tax Credits Governor Laura Kelly announced today that $4.1 million in Community Service Program (CSP) Tax Credits have been awarded to support the fundraising efforts of 26 nonprofit organizations across Kansas. These funds will enhance local access to quality childcare, healthcare, education, arts, and housing services. View All


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Kansas Senate advances Rural Opportunity Zone bills

Mar 19, 2019

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The Kansas Senate gave initial approval Tuesday to a pair of bills relating to expansion of the state’s Rural Opportunity Zone program.

The program provides student loan forgiveness and income tax waivers to those who relocate to rural areas.

About 80 counties already fall under the program. Proposed legislation would add eight counties to the list and extend the program by five years to 2026. Both bills advanced on voice votes.

The goal is to attract young workers to areas that have struggled with population growth.

Sen. Larry Alley, R-Winfield, said the ROZ program differs from the state’s other economic incentive tools, which offer tax dollars to corporations.

“This program, the benefits go to employees,” Alley said.

If passed into law, Senate Bill 135 would add Atchison, Cowley, Crawford, Dickinson, Ford, Franklin, Miami and Pottawatomie counties to the list of 77 counties already designated as Rural Opportunity Zones.

Several Democrats expressed concern with the expansion of the program beyond its original intent. Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, questioned whether it was acceptable to just add counties with political muscle in the Legislature.

“Rural is the magic word,” Haley said, “but what is the magic word? Where is that defined?”

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