Manufacturing in State of the State Addresses: Kansas

In his first State of the State address since leaving the U.S. Senate for the Capitol in Topeka, Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas declared economic growth to be his administration’s priority.

Kansas will emerge stronger economically through hard work, practical ingenuity and removing government impediments to both rural and urban private-sector growth. In the coming days, I will be proposing an integrated, strategic plan to spur the Kansas economy. This plan will create the framework for more private sector – not government – jobs; put more earnings in the pockets of average Kansans; and help to raise out of poverty many of our families and children who now despair.

The Republican specified two taxation proposals:

  • Enhanced Expensing: Allowing Kansas business to immediately deduct a higher percentage of the cost of an investment.
  • Rural Opportunity Zones, or ROZes, will provide a state income tax waiver for any individual relocating from out-of-state into any participating county that has experienced double digit percentage population decline the last ten years.

Five counties last year reported population losses higher than 19 percent. And there’s new, cheerful report by Reuters, “Kansas county at U.S. geographical center is dying.” (Nothing that a ban on farm machinery and paved roads wouldn’t fix.)

Gov. Brownback did not use the word “manufacturing” in his address, but he did speak directly to specific industries.

  • We will build the expansion of the Holcomb power plant.  Affordable energy and electricity exports will help underpin Kansas’ 21st Century economy.
  • We will expand and start new wind energy projects in the state.  If we do this right, we will see the development of a renewable energy corridor between Wichita and Salina that will provide jobs for rural Kansas and clean energy for the world.  I want Kansas to be known as the not only as the Wheat state – but as the Renewable State.
  • We will update our telecommunications policy to facilitate greater investments in broadband and wireless deployment.

For more on the Holcomb Power Plant expansion, proposed in response to growing energy demands, see

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