Brownback releases Kansas Strategic Economic Development Plan

TOPEKA | Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback released his long-term plan to bolster the state’s economy Thursday, a vision that includes a simpler tax and regulatory system and a more coordinated effort to promote growth.

“We need to create a better business environment,” Brownback told reporters when he unveiled the plan. “We need to have a competitive business environment I am convinced and confident that we can win these battles if we put together a tax and regulatory system that’s competitive.”

The key aspects of the plan – tax and regulatory reform – currently lack specific proposals. Brownback, a Republican, said comprehensive changes will have to wait until next year.

“I’d like to look at the overall tax policy of Kansas and get us in a more growth oriented position. I don’t think we can do that now,” he said.

But he said he wants to quickly move on a few specific proposals:

• The creation of a Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors made up of state and business leaders. The board, which Brownback would lead, would seek to better coordinate the state’s economic growth activities.

• Give new Kansans who move to rural counties with declining population a five year income tax rebate. He’d also like to see the state help pay off student loans of out-of-state residents who move to these areas. • Allow businesses to deduct a greater amount of their capital expenses from their state taxes.

“There are a lot of others I’d like to see,” he said. “Those are the ones that I think we can do now and pay for.”

Brownback said he hopes a tax task force can begin working on comprehensive tax reforms this year and recommend its conclusions to lawmakers next session.

His economic growth plan also calls for a robust higher education system, a strong transportation system and a lean, efficient state government that protects its core functions while keeping taxes low.