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Legislators seek to expand Kansas rural zones

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- A group Kansas House members has filed legislation for the 2014 session that would add three southeast counties to the state's rural opportunity zone program.

Gov. Sam Brownback established the program in 2011 to help draw new residents and businesses to counties where populations had dropped by 10 percent in the previous decade. People who move to the participating counties are eligible for income tax waivers, as well as tuition repayment for up to five years.

Seventy-three counties already participate. The 2014 legislation would add Cherokee, Labette and Montgomery counties, which are located on the Oklahoma border.

The bill is sponsored by Republican Reps. Jim Kelly of Independence, Michael Houser of Columbus, Virgil Peck of Tyro and Richard Proehl of Parsons.