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September 20th, 2020
L&T Opinions Page

shannon francis mugGUEST COLUMN, Shannon Francis, 125th District Representative

 

Two weeks ago House Republicans unveiled a five-point plan to spur rural revitalization, increase workforce, and reduce dependence on public assistance. The plan is called Make Kansas Work and focuses on these five bills:

Real Protection for Rural Hospitals: Rural Healthcare Innovation Fund

• Creates the Innovation Fund with $10 million in state funds. 

• Requires a 1:2 match from private foundations or corporations to create a total fund of $30 million.

• Grants funds to rural counties (not the five largest) to help innovate, preserve and right size health care for their communities. 

• Grants can be used for market studies, studies of delivery methods, infrastructure for healthcare delivery methods like telemedicine, and acquisition of necessary services.

 

Encouraging Home Ownership and Rural Housing: First-Time Home Buyer 

• Allows for young people to save for their first home. 

• Allows parents and grandparents to save to help the younger generation stay in Kansas. 

• Allows communities to band together and save to recruit needed professionals or trades to their communities: doctors, dentists, teachers, etc. 

• $3,000/$6,000 annual limits, $24,000 per individual cumulative limits and $48,000 max account limit. All savings are tax deductible on Kansas income tax. 

Reducing Taxes on Seniors: Social Security Exemption

• Raises the social security exemption from $75,000 to $100,000 for state income taxation. 

• Affects about 80,000 Kansas seniors and reduces their state income tax burden. 

• Reduces the penalty on those seniors who choose to work and continue to provide value to Kansas businesses, their communities and their families. 

 

Giving Every Kansan the Right to Work: Targeted Employment Act

• Provides for integrated workshops where Kansans with disabilities can work alongside those without disabilities but who may be on public assistance and earn wages. 

• Integrated work areas must pay at least minimum wage and offer benefits for full time employees regardless of disability. 

• Private businesses who send work to these integrated workshops receive a $4.00 per labor hour tax credit and a $6.00 per hour credit if the work is brought back to Kansas from overseas. 

• This reduces dependence on public assistance and creates work opportunities for those who want to do so. 

• It gives every Kansan a right to work.

 

Building Tomorrow's Workforce Today: Kansas Promise Act

• Creates scholarships for any Kansas high school graduate who attends a Kansas trade or tech school or community college in one of 10 high need areas for labor in our state.

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