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Hodgeman County added to list of Rural Opportunity Zones
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This morning the Kansas Senate approved an amendment co-written by 36th District Senator Allen Schmidt, of Hays, which will add Hodgeman County to a list of state Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZ’s).
“Many of the counties on the Rural Opportunity Zone list have seen population declines of less than 5 percent in the last decade. Meanwhile, Hodgeman County has suffered a nearly 9 percent population decline,” Schmidt said. “By supporting this amendment, my goal was to give Hodgeman County the same benefits as bordering Edwards, Lane, Ness, and Rush counties.”  
“Rural Opportunity Zones were created so that Kansas counties with declining populations can attract out-of-state businesses and families,” said Schmidt. “Those counties selected can provide income tax exemptions to out-of-state residents who choose to move into the county. A state-matching program has also been set up to help college students repay their loans if they move to a county on the list.”
Senate Bill 145 would give eligible taxpayers a full credit against their own state income tax liability through 2016. To qualify, taxpayers must have lived outside of the state for at least five years, not earned more than $10,000 in Kansas income annually, and establish residence in a ROZ for at least one year.
To participate in the Student Loan Repayment Program, students must establish residency in an ROZ county by Jan. 1, 2016.
“Our communities deserve every opportunity to grow and thrive.  This amendment puts Hodgeman on a level playing field,” Schmidt concluded.  
Senator Schmidt serves the 36th Senate District, covering Ellis, Hodgeman, Mitchell, Osborne, Pawnee, Phillips, Rush, Russell, Smith and western Jewell counties.