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Lawmakers support economic growth policies for Kansas

Jun 09, 2023

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Economic development is creating new opportunities for Kansans and improving communities of all sizes and in every part of the state.

Kansas Department of Commerce partners in this wave of success with the Kansas Legislature, which has been a welcome ally in crafting laws that are strengthening Kansas’ reputation as the best place in the nation to do business.

State lawmakers and Commerce worked together in the recent legislative session to bolster existing strategies to address labor shortages, increase housing options and fuel business growth.

On the labor front, the Apprenticeship Tax Credit bill will help employers fill critical job openings, and especially in key industries such as healthcare and education.

The new law signed by Governor Laura Kelly will allow an employer to claim a tax credit up to $2,750 for as many as 20 registered apprentices who complete their probationary period. The law also creates two grant programs:

  • The Kansas Nonprofit Apprenticeship Grant Program will provide a grant to nonprofit employers or nonprofit healthcare employers who have a registered apprenticeship program (up to $2,750 per apprenticeship per taxable year).
  • The Kansas Educator Registered Apprenticeship Grant Program will provide grants to cover up to $2,750 per year for each apprentice’s tuition, books and materials.

The law also strengthens the existing Kansas Registered Apprenticeship Program, which creates paths to long-term employment with on-the-job learning, technical instruction and mentorship.

Of course, all workers need good places to live. Because housing shortages exist in communities beyond rural Kansas, the Rural Housing Incentive District was expanded to give urban cities access to the tax credits and other tools now available to rural communities, with the more comprehensive approach now named the Reinvestment Housing Incentive District (RHID).

Through RHID, local governments have access to a financing tool that gives developers new options to create housing Kansas needs to offset shortages in every part of the state.

During the recent session, Commerce also received legislative approval to update the Sales Tax and Revenue (STAR) Bonds statute to better accommodate vertical construction for historic theaters and amusement park ride structures.

STAR Bonds provide a way to develop major and impactful commercial, entertainment and tourism projects that draw visitors in Kansas and beyond, providing economic benefit to those communities. Bonds are paid off through sales tax revenue generated by the developments

Lawmakers also increased funding to further support the Office of Apprenticeship, Kansas Tourism and other Commerce programs that are producing results — including the International Division, with funding to cover two new, full-time staff positions dedicated to recruiting even more international businesses to Kansas. The enhanced focus on business recruitment is all the more timely considering the need to strengthen the supply chain related to growing semiconductor and electric vehicle production.

Thanks to bipartisan support in the Kansas Legislature and Commerce’s vision, these changes promise to produce still more long-lasting economic growth that’s good for Kansans and their communities.

To learn more about Kansas’ award-winning economic development programs and business successes, please visit the Kansas Department of Commerce website at kansascommerce.gov/news.


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