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Minutes for HB2168 - Committee on Commerce, Labor and Economic Development

Short Title

Enacting the ad astra rural jobs act.

Minutes Content for Mon, Feb 6, 2017

The hearing was opened. Chuck Reimer, Kansas Revisor of Statutes, provided an overview.

Representative Troy Waymaster, gave proponent testimony. (Attachment 1)  The bill would alleviate the rural flight that many parts of the state have been experiencing.  It places within the Kansas Department of Commerce tools that can be utilized for businesses that desire to relocate, build, or expand in areas of the state that are defined as "rural."  In many rural communities, economies are driven by agriculture and oil production.  The agriculture community is struggling economically due to the current low commodity prices. The incentives being offered in this bill could help areas of the state not experience rural flight as it does now.

Jeff Craver, Advantage Capital, gave proponent testimony. (Attachment 2) The bill is designed to incent the formation of private capital to be invested in rural small businesses in high growth sectors. Small businesses with less than 500 employees and less than $15 million annual revenue qualify.  High growth industries would be targeted.  No more than 20% of the fund can be invested in any single business. 

Rob Fillion, Smoky Hill Development Corporation, gave proponent testimony. (Attachment 3)  This bill will continue to create investment opportunities in critical industries throughout the majority of Kansas.  The focus of economic development has shifted to local and private investments.

Janae Talbott, Russell County Economic Development & CVB, gave proponent testimony. (Attachment 4)  Incentives need to be designed specifically for rural areas. This program is unique to rural areas and creates an additional incentive for businesses to consider rural areas, or for existing businesses in rural areas to expand.

Written testimony in support of HB2168 was submitted by:

Larry Jones, Kansas Legislative Policy Group,  (Attachment 5)

Nick Poels, Western Kansas Rural Economic Development Alliance, (Attachment 6)

Ron Seeber, Kansas Grain and Feed Association, Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association, (Attachment 7)

The hearing was closed.