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Posted on: December 3, 2021

Kansas Legislation Supports Companies and Fosters Growth

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With more than $7 billion of new business investment coming into the state since January 2019, Kansas isn’t only poised for growth, it’s actively growing — a rare feat when many economies are still finding their way after the fallout from the global pandemic. More and more companies are seeing the value of doing business here. Recent legislation has further advanced several essential initiatives, making the economic climate in Kansas and the Greater Manhattan region even more business friendly. 

In addition to numerous business incentives at the state and local levels, Kansas officials have committed to fostering a growth environment in four key areas:

  • Policy
  • Innovation
  • Community assets
  • Talent

These four pillars make up the Kansas Framework for Growth, a comprehensive economic strategy designed to leverage the state’s expertise in target industries, including food and agriculture; advanced manufacturing; aerospace; distribution, logistics and transportation; and professional and technical services.

Below, we break down recently passed legislation in these areas that will benefit companies looking to expand to the Midwest and drive growth.

POLICY: High Performance Incentive Program (SB 65)

With labor shortages across the country, cultivating a highly motivated workforce is critical to maintaining a successful operation. The High Performance Incentive Program (HPIP) rewards companies that reward their employees with above-average wages and professional training. HPIP creates opportunities for these companies to do even more while benefiting their bottom lines with qualifying tax credits and exemptions. 

New legislation passed in 2021 updates HPIP to help companies take greater advantage of the program. Adding to the income tax credit on eligible capital investment, sales tax exemption on qualified facilities and training tax credits specified in the existing policy, this new legislation introduced the transferability of these credits. The bill also makes it easier for more companies to qualify by removing previous training eligibility requirements and eliminating payroll certification requirements.

Senate Bill 65 allows for companies to transfer up to 50% of these credits to another company or individual. Companies may transfer these credits to more than one entity, provided the entire sum does not exceed 50%.

“With robust and diverse industry sectors and a world-class workforce, the Greater Manhattan region is an ideal place for businesses to expand. The advancement of business-friendly state policies is further paving the way for companies to capitalize on opportunities for sustainable growth and development,” said Daryn Soldan, director of economic development for the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, a founding GMEP partner.

To qualify for HPIP, companies must:

  • Be for-profit
  • Be subject to state taxes
  • Pay employees above average wages (This is determined by comparing wage data against companies with matching NAICS codes. The requirement applies to local companies as well as domestic and global companies with a local headquarters or back-office operation in Kansas.)
  • Be a manufacturer or be able to document sales to qualifying manufacturers and businesses in or out of state 

The benefits for eligible companies include:

  • 10% income tax credit on eligible capital investment
  • Sales tax exemption on eligible capital investment for qualifying facilities
  • Training tax credit up to $50,000
  • Access to business assistance programs 

HPIP will help accelerate growth for participating businesses and create jobs — a win-win for businesses and Kansas.

INNOVATION: Angel Investor Tax Credit Program (SB 66)

Creating an ecosystem where start-ups can thrive is paramount to growth. The Angel Investor Tax Credit program benefits venture capital firms and entrepreneurs investing in and advancing the field of biotechnology and bioscience. 

This legislation extends the existing Angel Investor Tax Credit program for the next five years and includes important updates. Senate Bill 66 increases tax credits as follows:

  • Tax credits for a single Kansas business increase from $50,000 to $100,000.
  • Tax credits for a single qualifying investor increase from $250,000 to $350,000.

Unused credits can be carried over to future tax years until the new sunset date of 2026.

The legislation also makes the program accessible to more companies by removing certain restrictions like tax liability requirements and qualifying securities.

COMMUNITY ASSETS: Sales Tax and Revenue Bonds (SB 124)

Kansas continues to invest in its communities with updates to the Sales Tax and Revenue Bonds (STAR Bonds) program. With Senate Bill 124, this popular program expands the types of eligible projects, which now include major business facilities and rural development projects. Companies looking to headquarter or establish sizeable operating facilities may qualify to take advantage of the program. Eligibility requirements vary by location depending on whether the project will be in a metropolitan or rural area. 

This bill prompted Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland to dub Governor Laura Kelly the “Economic Development Governor.”

“Governor Kelly is known for her unwavering support of education, but measures like these prove she is also the Economic Development Governor,” he said. “The Governor and our partners in the Legislature are responding to the needs of businesses and communities throughout our state, making rapid growth attainable in communities of all sizes.” 

TALENT: Occupational License Reciprocity (HB 2066) and Kansas Promise Scholarship Act (HB 2064)

House Bills 2066 and 2064 focus on different workforce populations to enhance the overall talent pool in the state.

The Occupational License Reciprocity bill will make it easier for military spouses to transfer licenses from other states to Kansas, enabling more organizations to tap into this sector of the workforce and opening doors for these individuals to find meaningful work and contribute to their communities. With a large military presence, the Greater Manhattan region stands to benefit greatly from this legislation by leveraging the expertise of this transient population. 

The Kansas Promise Scholarship Act focuses on the home-grown talent pool by encouraging the education and professional development of Kansas residents in specific, high-demand fields, including health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing and construction, and early childhood. This bill provides scholarships for post-secondary students who commit to working in Kansas for at least two consecutive years after completing their program. 

To learn more about how these programs can benefit your business and explore opportunities in the Greater Manhattan, Kansas, region, please contact the Greater Manhattan Economic Partnership.

*Photo courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society, kshs.org.


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