Five new pieces of legislation called the “Make Kansas Work Plan” have been introduced by House Leadership in the Kansas Legislature.
Rep. Troy Waymaster (R-Bunker Hill) described them this way:
• The first bill would be the creation of an “Innovation Fund,” which would be used as grants to rural communities in order to innovate, preserve, and right-size health care in rural Kansas.
• The second bill, the “First-Time Home Buyer Act,” creates an income tax deductible savings account to individuals in Kansas for purchasing their first home. With these accounts, Kansans would be able to put money in savings so their children and grandchildren could afford to buy a home and live in Kansas.
• The third is the “Reducing Taxes on Seniors: Social Security Exemption.” This would raise the social security exemption for seniors from $75,000 to $100,000 for state income taxes.
• The “Target Employment Act,” would provide for integrated work areas to pay at least minimum wage and benefits for full-time employees regardless of a disability. This Act would provide a $4 an hour tax credit for employers and a $6 an hour credit for work brought back to Kansas from overseas.
• The “ Kansas Promise Act” provides a scholarship for any Kansas high school graduate to attend a Kansas trade school, technical college, or a community college with a focus on one of the 10 high-need areas of labor in the state of Kansas.
Rep. Joe Seiwert (R-Pretty Prairie) described The Kansas Promise Act in a recent newsletter. “This act is designed to address the rising cost of college and decades of pushing students into programs that don’t fit the needs of our state’s workforce. The Kansas Department of Commerce in conjunction with members of business and industry in our state will identify high-need areas for semi-skilled labor. Any Kansas high school or home school graduate who agrees to go into one of those fields will receive a Kansas Promise Scholarship to pay for attendance at a Kansas trade or tech school or community college. Students will have work requirements during school, and residency requirements after school.”
Here in Great Bend, Mike Johnson, chairman of the Barton Community College Board of Trustees, notes that some have called the Kansas Promise Act a bill offering “free college tuition.” That is not a term that he believes should be used; it is not accurate and determining who will pay for this program is definitely something that needs to be done.
In fact, all of the items will be pricey but if done right could be a worthwhile investment in the future of our state.