The Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZ) program will expand over this fiscal year to include 23 more counties.
According to the Kansas Department of Commerce, that brings the total to 73 Kansas counties that have been approved as Rural Opportunity Zones --where qualified new residents are rewarded with a five-year waiver on state income taxes and partial student loan repayments.
Gov. Brownback and the state legislature started the program in 2011 to counter the rural flight from smaller Kansas counties.
Since then, the department has received 864 applications for participation in the student loan repayment program from residents of 39 states. Applicants represent a wide variety of industries, with education and healthcare as the two largest professions.
The following counties have been certified by the Legislature as ROZ counties: