Would a tax break lure you to rural Kansas?
The state is hoping to lure new residents to less-populated areas with student-loan aid and income-tax forgiveness.
If you ever get tired of traffic, crowds and the other stresses of urban life, you may dream of moving somewhere for a smaller, simpler, quieter life.
Kansas has a deal for you.
In an attempt to draw new residents to rural counties with shrinking populations, Kansas has put together an incentive package for people who agree to move to designated "rural opportunity zones" from another state.
The deals include a five-year vacation from state income taxes and a chance to get up to $15,000 in student loans paid off, if you stay five years. The average Kansas pays $1,800 a year in state income tax.
"This is a risk-free opportunity for us to draw attention to parts of our state that are losing population and offer another incentive to get people to move to Kansas," said Sherriene Jones-Sontag, spokeswoman for Gov. Sam Brownback, in the Kansas City Star.
But is it enough to draw any new residents?
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A handful of other rural areas, including some in Kansas, offer incentives to attract new residents, including free land, utility-bill forgiveness and tax abatement.
Even some residents of the Kansas counties that want to lure new residents are skeptical that the financial incentives are enough to woo new people.
"It’s unproven," Republic County Commisioner Frank Rytych said in the Star. “It’s not that we’re against the program. We don’t know that it’s going to pan out OK. We don’t want to get caught holding the bag.”
One problem with the incentives is that income tax doesn't necessarily motivate many people to move.
"People simply do not make migration decisions based on income-tax issues," Laszlo Kulcsar, a demographer at Kansas State University, said in the Star.
The Census Bureau recently reported that the most common reason people had for moving in 2010 was to find a better, cheaper or different house, followed by family and employment reasons. Taxes were not anywhere on the list, and only 11% of those who moved went to another state.
Kansas officials have said that they want to compete against popular states that have no income tax, such as Florida, Tennessee and Texas. But that raises the question of why someone would choose a small town in Kansas over popular areas of Texas, Tennessee and Florida.
What, if anything, would motivate you to move to rural Kansas? Let us know below or on our Facebook page.
Kansas is really not that bad, granted the wind sucks, and western Kansas is a little sparsely populated, but I have never met such nice, honest people. I grew up in the central Kansas area, and have since moved to the Little Rock area, where everyday the traffic is ridiculous and not to mention the humidity is absolutely unbearable (especially this time of year). People are dishonest, there really are "hillbilly's", and quite honestly I would take the wind over the humidity any day of the week. There is bad and good about EVERY place, and I hate to hear people saying such horrible things about Kansas because a good majority of it has no basis and in my opinion a bunch of crap =).
Giving people tax incentives to try and draw them to a particular state is unrealistic and it will never work to really draw in more people. Focusing on creating more jobs for the rural areas might be a better way to go, although as we have seen in recent days not much the government does is smart or makes sense, that would be too easy =D.
More People does not equal a better State.
I have no idea why they would want to pay people to move there. Farmland values are on the rise. You don't need many people in modern agriculture.
More people would just tie up more possible productive land through roads and housing for them.
If anything, Kansas needs less people. They need to consolidate the smaller farms into larger, more efficient ones.
A successful state has low taxes and high pay for it's people. That results in the maximum discretionary spending. If you double the size of your economy, but the population also doubles - you have no improvement.
People forget that China curbed it's population growth and the people there are much better for it.
Kansas - why do you want more people?
JAD, no jobs if you aren't willing to work in certain industries. Low unemployment is documented and the nations lowest in the high plains regions with the Dakotas and Wyoming rated the lowest unemployment. If you want a job that provides a fair living it may not be in the industry you want. That is the theme of sparsely populated/rural states as they currently have 9 of the 12 lowest unemployment rates in the country with Alaska being the only real statistical outlier amongst the sparsely populated states (for obvious reasons). May I ask what business he had because I wonder if he lacked market research before venturing into something that did not have a market demand?
As far as education goes you will be hit and miss which is often dependent on the community you choose as some do better than others attracting and retaining but that can be said for much of the country. Universities are decent and know of a California girl looking at Kansas universities because the large state schools are limiting student numbers even with a good academic resume. Sport the same at a Kansas U. as an in state student and you would get accepted easy.
Kansas State and KU are not academic slouches. From a KSU facebook page:
K-State is the only research university in the United States to have three national CASE/Carnegie professors of the year. (and are currently serving)
Kansas State University since 1986 has won 124 Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater and Udall scholarships.
No other public university has won more.
K-State trails only 5 private insitutions in top scholarship awards: Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, and Duke. [Not a bad group to be in the ranks thereof]
Kansas State University is the only public university since 1986 to rank among the top 10 of all U.S. schools for all five major scholarship programs.
Difficult for me to write about positives of KU because they are tea sipping losers. Ranked #33 in public universities by U.S. News with many highly touted undergraduate programs. That was truly painful for me to write...
Even a mediocre high school program in Kansas should easily get your child into either state university that are both superb bangs for the almighty buck. Try to bag on that public education.
Kizz22 sums it up well including the employment industries. Likewise could be said of other states in the high plains areas (western half of KS) including Nebraska, the dakotas, eastern regions of Wyoming and Montana. Three hour drive to find a spot to put a ski boat on and you should be prepared to tolerate some very windy days/weeks. Chuckle at one story on an oil field fellow transferred to SW Kansas by his company. His second day on the job was a windy one with winds 25-40 mph and he immediately handed in a request to transfer out. The weather can be extremes of the seasons which many can't/won't tolerate but one small note is low humidity. If you move to a town of less than 5K then you will find most have remnants of a Mayberry appeal.
Wholesome towns with good people that may be leery of a strange face in town as these people like to get to know their neighbors as they want to make sure you aren't a sex offender moving to town before letting you into their circle. The commenter about 30 people stopping to help with a flat tire is on the money. Will note however, cliques do exist in any town but degrees vary.
Would highly recommend it for someone in a large coastal metro that is looking to scale back into retirement and reduce how much money you have wrapped up in your residence. Sell your mediocre size urban home on the coast and have a quarter to half the cost in building one brand new while the spare equity can be invested in a revenue producing vehicle. HVAC bills for a well built 2-3k sq.ft. home will run you $80-$300 or less given the season with the high end for just few months in the summer.
Mayberry didn't have a strip mall or an Olive Garden but a good cafe or two can be a centerpiece of many of these towns while many general stores have been choked out by Wal-marts in trade center towns of 20k-30k populations while many small town grocers still surviving.
You know, I'm thinking, what about those of us that already live here? What's our incentive to stay? I know that I would love help paying on student loans and I would also love a "vacation" from paying state taxes. Who wouldn't? Why is it the people who already live here don't get any breaks and the ones coming in get a free ride, just like illegal's? It is so unfair. Kansas residents deserve a tax break too.
School taxes are just as bad in Ohio. The county auditors keep raising our values to feed the schools, even though houses here are worth a minimum of 30% less than they were a few years ago. Something has to be done about the money sucking schools.
After reading some of the comments here it sounds lovely. That sounds like some place I would love to move to. They can promise you all of this but I did not see any promise of a job in the article. It sounds like that there are not too many jobs out there at all. :(
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.