Kansas May Offer Tax Credits to Those Who Move Back Into State

Gov. Sam Brownback argues the state has "the best atmosphere to grow small businesses".


Dorothy's not in Kansas anymore. And neither are a growing number of others, prompting Kansas to consider offering a tax credit to those who move back into the state.

A state Senate committee is considering a proposal that would create rural opportunity zones where people who have lived outside of Kansas for at least five years without drawing an income in the state could move to receive income tax credit for five years.

Kansas residents who studied at colleges or universities in other states could be eligible for help in paying off student loans if they moved to one of the zones.

The proposal comes from the economic growth strategy of newly minted Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican who has expressed worry that the state might lose a House seat, even though Kansas' population grew by 6.1 percent over the past decade, up nearly 165,000 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

But state officials note that the population growth that Kansas has seen is predominantly in urban areas. They say the bill is focused on the 39 of Kansas' 105 counties that have lost more than 10 percent of their population during the same time period.

"We get too close to the edge on this, and I don't want us to lose any representation in Washington," Brownback told The Associated Press in December. "You're on a likely trajectory to lose in 10 years, but that's why you've got to change trajectory."

Officials in the Department of Revenue, which proposed the bill, told the Kansas City Star that the bill would reduce state general fund revenues by about $1.1 million in 2012 – a rough estimate, they said, because they couldn't accurately estimate how many people would use the tax credits.