Archive for Thursday, April 8, 2004

Legislature challenges governments with bioscience initiative

April 8, 2004

The Kansas Legislature is apparently going to challenge local governments to match its creative approach to economic development. The stimulus is the Kansas Economic Growth Act now before the Senate, which will provide $500 million to recruit and develop bioscience industries by diverting new state corporate, income, property and sales taxes owed by those engaged in biosciences to a new statewide authority. The goal -- stated in the act -- is nothing less than to make "Kansas a national leader in bioscience."
Local governments can link to this stimulus package with the re-creation of a bioscience development district that would offer similar tax incentives from city, county and school districts.
It is probably too early for Eudora to start discussions about forming such a district, although some early examination of a possible Eudora place in a larger joint district with the county or K-10 corridor group might be justified. But State Rep. Rob Boyer suggests forward-looking cities need not take that step to realize benefits from the unprecedented economic development initiative. He suggests cities identify a niche area at which they can compete and develop corresponding incentive packages.
Eudora has advantages in this effort that other communities should envy. First and foremost, it is within sight of a major research institution. There is also the possibility Sunflower Army Ammuniiton Plant will one day be home to a life-science research park. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is demanding that such a park be part of any proposed development before she signs a document necessary for the plant's transfer.
The Legislature's action would seem to challenge local governments to join what some are calling the most important economic development initiative in the state's history. Locally, the challenge is for leaders to educate themselves on the issues and consider what policies and incentives Eudora could develop to be a part of the action.

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