Project plan

Kansas Senate approves billion-dollar megaproject plan

TOPEKA (KSNT) — An economic development bill that could bring a $4 billion business and more than 4,000 jobs to Kansas was approved by the Senate on Thursday.

SB 347 would enact the Powerful Economic Expansion Act, or APEX, which could deliver a significant boost to Kansas’ economy if passed by the House and approved by Gov. Laura Kelly. Senators approved the bill 32 to 7 on January 27 after it was amended.

If APEX is signed into law, it could mean a $4 billion company, which remains secret for legal reasons, could come to Kansas. Many Kansas legislators believe it is important to act quickly before the mysterious company moves to another state.

Kansas Department of Commerce Lt. Governor and Secretary David Toland said in a recent press release that SB 347 will prevent young Kansans from leaving the state to seek other employment elsewhere and help make the state economically more competitive with its neighbours.

“As we look to the future, Kansas doesn’t have to say no to a huge opportunity for economic development, especially in a time of tough and evolving global competition for new businesses and new jobs,” said Toland. “APEX would give us an added advantage over other states and deserves the full support of the Legislative Assembly as contemplated this week.”

Senator Renee Erickson, R-Wichitawho chairs the Trade Committeesaid the bill would help Kansas businesses grow and prosper.

“There’s been a lot of discussion, a lot of disagreement, what we here in Kansas call swearing and talking about this bill,” Erickson said. “But I think there is one thing we can all agree on and that is that as things stand Kansas has not been competitive in attracting business as evidenced by the fact that there have been 11 opportunities in the past five years and we haven’t competed for any of those. We have to do something different.

Senator Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, who sits on the commerce committee, remained opposed to the bill. She raised concerns during a final Senate session over SB 347 saying it would essentially write a check to a company and leave Kansas in a position where it would have to pay back income tax money.

To watch the full debate leading up to Senate approval of SB 347, click here.