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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Commission renews county as rural opportunity zone

MOUND CITY – On Monday, Dec. 19, the Linn County Commissioners renewed the county’s participation in the Rural Opportunity Zone (ROZ) program by approving a resolution.

ROZ programs were created to bring new people to counties who are experiencing depopulation problems. The program provides monetary incentives for people moving into these counties.

ROZ programs provide 100% Kansas Income Tax credit for up to five years as well as up to $15,000 in student loan debt forgiveness.

The income tax waiver is administered by the Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR). The applicant files it with their state taxes on the KDOR website. To be eligible for the state income tax credits, a person must meet the following requirements:

  • Must have lived outside of Kansas for five or more years immediately prior to establishing residency in a ROZ

  • Must have no more than $10,000 in Kansas source income in each of those five years prior to establishing residency

  • Must establish residency in one of the ROZ counties on or after the date the county was qualified for the program

  • Must have lived in the ROZ county the entire taxable year to be able to claim the tax credit Jan. 1 to Dec. 31

  • Must File State income taxes online at

Student Loan Repayment assistance is administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce (KDC) which partners with counties and employers. The incentive amount is distribution up to 20% of the qualified loans with a maximum benefit of $3,000 once a year for five years totaling $15,000.

The funding for the student loan repayment assistance is covered by the state for 50% of the yearly payment. This is funded through lottery funds. Local sponsors fund the other 50% of the yearly payment. The sponsors annual financial contribution per participant maximum is $1,500. To be eligible for the student loand repayment assistance, a person must:

  • Establish residency in a ROZ County on or after the date on which the County opts-in to the student loan program

  • Hold at least an associate’s degree prior to moving to the ROZ County

  • Have an outstanding student loan balance related to a qualifying degree, in applicant’s name

  • Ability to provide proof of residency at current and previous addresses, proof of degree, and proof of student loan balance with distribution dates

  • Must have a local sponsor to be funded

Local sponsors can be counties which have funds budgeted by a resolution to the KDC by Jan. 31; cities which have funds budgeted by a resolution to KDC by Jan. 31; employers who have funds by sponsor confirmation agreement; and foundations who have funds by sponsor confirmation agreement. For any of the above to be a sponsor, the county they are located in must have a resolution to participate in the program.

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