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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Brownback suggests plan for Greensburg

Sen. Sam Brownback suggested Thursday that a pilot program based on the Homestead Act could bring revitalization and relief to Greensburg.

Through a series of tax incentives, Brownback told media in a conference call that he hopes the program would stimulate the town's economy and encourage it to grow.

The program would have four main components:

• a $5,000 tax credit for all first-time homebuyers;

• help paying down student loans for people to move in and stay in Greensburg;

• tax credits for investing in the rural community;

• a venture capital fund.

Similar programs have successfully worked in cities, Brownback said, but this would be the first in a rural area.

"We're going to see if we can get this in place as a pilot project, and I think it could be a good project in Greensburg," Brownback said.

He said he is working with Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to waive the local disaster assistance program match. Normally, the federal government would give 75 percent of a city's requested funds, with the city ponying up 25 percent.

"We're pushing that that local match be rescinded because there is no local match to be had," Brownback said. "The community needs its money for local purposes."

Kiowa County Commissioner Gene West, who hadn't heard the specifics about Brownback's plan, said it was something to consider.

"Anything that can help is going to be great," West said.

Barbara J. Isenberg

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