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Republicans in Kansas House outline plan at revitalizing rural areas

Republicans in the Kansas House on Thursday outlined a plan aimed at revitalizing rural areas, helping people to buy their first homes and lowering income taxes for seniors.

GOP leaders said they will pursue five bills.  They announced that they have launched a new website and discussed the details of their plan during a Statehouse news conference.

The package includes a proposal that would allow tax-deductible deposits to a savings account for buying or building a first home.  Parents and grandparents also would be able to contribute, as they can to a college-savings account.

Another proposal would create a $30 million fund to help rural hospitals hire consultants and plan for overhauling their operations to remain open in changing markets.  The state would set aside $10 million and provide tax breaks to encourage private foundations, businesses and individuals to contribute another $20 million.

The package also includes a proposal to exempt an additional 80,000 seniors from paying state income taxes on their Social Security benefits.  They’d be able to earn up to $100,000 annually and still avoid such taxes.

The package also includes proposals to help high school graduates seeking job training and to boost employment for the disabled and people on public assistance.

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