Kansas House seeks to expand rural economic zones

kansas capital

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas House members are preparing to approve a bill that would add four southern counties to a program that seeks to boost population and economic development in rural areas.

The House will vote Thursday on a bill that would add Cherokee, Labette, Montgomery and Sumner counties to the existing list of 73 counties currently eligible for designation as rural opportunity zones.

Legislators created the program to boost rural growth in 2011, primarily in counties that had seen double-digit population declines during the last federal census period.

The program offers income tax exemptions for new residents moving to those counties, as well as the repayment of a portion of outstanding college loans with participation by county governments.

Program supporters say the incentives have been helpful in attracting residents and business activity.

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