Dickinson County was added as a Rural Opportunity Zone in 2021, but to date the county has yet to have an applicant, according to Kansas Department of Commerce records.
New residents who moved into the county after June 17, 2021 could be eligible if they meet the requirements. The program was devised to entice people to move to rural counties by offering them assistance with up to $15,000 on their college loans and a 100% state income tax credit for up to five years.
According to the Kansas Department of Commerce, since the program started in 2012, 553 individuals have completed five years in the program. Another 595 started the program and either did not stay in it for five years or are still enrolled. For the tax years of 2021-2023, 94 of the state’s 105 counties qualified for inclusion in the program, which is based on county population.
To be eligible new residents have to:
1. Established domicile in a rural opportunity zone prior to January 1, 2023, and was domiciled outside Kansas for five or more years immediately prior to establishing their domicile in a rural opportunity zone in Kansas
2. Had Kansas source income (as defined by K.S.A. 79-32,109(h)) of less than $10,000 in any one year for five or more years immediately prior to establishing their domicile in a rural opportunity zone in Kansas; and
3. Was domiciled in a rural opportunity zone during the entire taxable year for which such credit is claimed.
“The program was put together … by Governor (Sam) Brownback as a way for rural areas to retain those people that left to go to college to bring them back to the community,” said Kent Campbell, director of the Dickinson County Economic Development Corporation. “A lot of the professional and specialized positions.”
Campbell said he doesn’t think employers in Dickinson County are aware of the benefits of the program in their recruitment efforts.
“It’s great for the employers because they’re getting quality people to come back to the community,” he said. “I think that we have a lot of our current high school students, that when they go off to college, they'd love to come back here. They already know about our community and what it has to offer and I think that these incentives make that decision a little bit easier.”
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