Update: Kansas governor signs massive economic incentives package

Kansas capitol building in Topeka
Kansas capitol building in Topeka(KWCH)
Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 5:12 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Kansas Governor Laura Kelly on Thursday, Feb. 10, signed a massive economic incentives package into law. The bipartisan bill, known as Attracting Powerful Economic Expansion Act (APEX), is designed to bring in new companies to the state that make $1 billion or greater through offering tax credits, reimbursement on payroll and employee training and exemptions for sales and property taxes.

Kansas is one of two states competing for the multi-billion-dollar project, creating a 3-million-square-foot manufacturing facility, the location for which hasn’t been formally announced. Lawmakers are working on the assumption the incentives package will create at least 4,000 jobs with average pay of about $50,000 per year. A news release from Kelly’s office said the current project will inject $4 billion in business investment into the Kansas economy.

Kelly said the bill “creates a new tool in Kansas’ toolbox that allows the state to compete on a national and global scale for large economic development projects.”

“This positions Kansas to potentially land a once-in-a-generation opportunity that could transform our economy,” Kelly said. “This tool is about more than just one project. It makes us an economic powerhouse ready to compete on a national and global scale. That means thousands of new jobs, billions more business dollars injected into the economy, and more opportunities for Kansas families. I need to thank Senate President Ty Masterson and House Speaker Ron Ryckman for their leadership and hard work to fast-track this bill. An opportunity like this was an all-hands-on-deck effort, and they worked with us to get this done.”

In an opinion piece for the Kansas City StarLt. Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland explained the scope of the project and said the state is legally bound from identifying the company its trying to attract.

Should Kansas be the winner, Toland said it would be the largest private sector investment in state history.

While Kelly and Toland are among those touting the bipartisan support and effort to get the APEX bill passed some in the State House from both sides of the aisle raised concerns about the secretive nature of the process and the price tag.

A legislative analysis found that for the company the state is trying to attract, it could cost about $1.2 billion in Kansas taxpayer dollars in the long run.

“I’m not betting my own money, I’m betting my own money and their children’s futures,” Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita, said in opposition to the proposed incentives package.

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