TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Lawmakers introduced a new plan that they say could address many of the top issues facing the state.
House Republicans said a new decade means lawmakers have to take on issues in a different way. So they proposed a five-point plan called Make Kansas Work.
It would address problems like funding for rural hospitals and the worker shortage in the state.
“We believe that if we help our economy and help our people, our economy is going to grow, and that’s what we want, we want to keep people here,” said House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins.
“So a lot of these are about the healthcare is really about helping rural Kansas, but the other pieces are really about helping out either businesses attract people or helping our first time home buyers or seniors,” Hawkins said.
One point of the plan would have the Department of Commerce and business leaders identify 10 areas of the economy that need more workers.
“Early on whether it’s through our Kansas Promise Act, where we give tuition assistance to young people willing to go into certain industries that we need here in the state, all the way to our seniors, who we know are leaving the state, for a multitude of reasons, some of which are tax-related,” said Ottawa Representative Blaine Finch.
The plan also aims to help rural hospitals by encouraging partnerships and matching private dollars raised.
“Whereas some plans look at putting money in all 105 counties, we focus specifically on the rural areas that face unique challenges that our urban areas don’t,” Finch said.
Republicans estimate the total plan could cost 40-50 million dollars.
“Spending is an issue we always have to pay attention to, and that’s not going to change, but we also have to spend in the appropriate areas, and that’s the one thing we’re charged with is prioritizing our limited resources,” Hawkins said.
Another point of the plan encourages businesses to hire people with disabilities by providing tax credits.
Supporters said they hope the plan can get bipartisan support in the legislature.