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Governor Laura Kelly Signs Bipartisan Legislation to Aid Kansas’s Economic Recovery

Apr 15, 2021

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TOPEKA – Today, Governor Laura Kelly signed four bipartisan bills into law to drive economic growth and strengthen Kansas’ economy. Senate Bills 65, 66, 90, and 124 are part of Governor Kelly’s Growth Agenda, a multifaceted legislative approach to improving Kansas’ ability to attract major businesses and strengthen our economy in accordance with the Framework for Growth strategic plan.

“As our state recovers from COVID-19, we have the opportunity to rebuild a stronger, healthier, more resilient workforce and economy in Kansas,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “These bipartisan bills will help us achieve this goal by improving our ability to recruit cutting-edge businesses, revitalize our rural communities, and address housing shortages statewide. I thank the Legislature and Department of Commerce for their work on this important legislation.”

Each bill strengthens a specific area of Kansas economic development:

SB 65 – New improvements and updates to the High Performance Incentive Program (HPIP). Companies will no longer need to go through the Kansas Industrial Training/Retraining (KIT/KIR) programs to qualify for HPIP, leaving vital training funds to be used in more strategic ways. In addition, the bill allows for up to 50% of tax credits earned through HPIP to be transferred, helping to ensure that companies can fully utilize earned credits.

SB 66 – An extension of the Angel Investor Tax Credit program in Kansas for the next five years. Important updates have been made to the program, including changes to credit investment amounts, increasing budget appropriations and more. Strengthening the Angels program will allow our state to more effectively attract start-ups that will help create the technology of the future. In addition, an amendment to the bill provides for an increase in tax credits to be used to make homes accessible for people with disabilities.        

SB 90 – This bill significantly expands the types of projects allowed in Kansas Rural Housing Incentive Districts (RHID) and enables the renovation into residential use (including vertical construction) of buildings and structures more than 25 years old on Kansas main streets and downtown districts. Any city with a population of less than 60,000 will be eligible for this program, regardless of county population. This program is essential in addressing housing shortages in rural Kansas in particular.

SB 124 – The STAR Bonds program in Kansas has been continued with major updates. This legislation establishes third-party feasibility studies to be engaged by Commerce, community engagement summary requirements, and other transparency measures. Updates also include measures to increase use of the program in rural areas. Finally, the program can now be used as a tool to recruit headquarters and major business facilities with the potential to attract sizable out-of-state visitation.

“Governor Kelly is known for her unwavering support of education, but measures like these prove she is also the Economic Development Governor,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “The Governor and our partners in the Legislature are responding to the needs of businesses and communities throughout our state, making rapid growth attainable in communities of all sizes. The pillars of our Framework for Growth, including forward-thinking policy, emphasis on talent and innovation and effective leveraging of community assets all are represented in this legislation. These new laws will be truly instrumental drivers of Kansas’ economic growth.”

This announcement comes during Governor Kelly’s “Back to School, Back to Work” tour through Kansas. April 12 through April 16 is “Economic Development Week,” with Governor Kelly and Lt. Governor/Secretary Toland visiting businesses and workforce centers across the state.

To learn more about the Kansas Framework for Growth, Kansas’ economic development North Star, click here.

Additional bills Governor Kelly signed:

HB 2178: Vacating certain blocks in the original town plat set aside for a college and a park in the city of Americus and vesting fee simple title in the city.

HB 2238: Eliminating the dollar limitation for acceptance of gifts by donors to school districts or cities, or both, for library purposes.

HB 2295: Exempting municipal motor grader vehicle operators from Kansas uniform commercial drivers’ license act requirements.