Kansas Governor Sam Brownback made a stop in Salina Thursday to ceremoniously sign two bills into law.
The governor signed a bill that modernizes, and keeps the STAR Bond program alive in Kansas. He signed a second law enforcement bill which will help the Kansas Highway Patrol retain, and hire new troopers.
House Bill 2632: Revising provisions of the Sales Tax and Revenue (STAR) Financing Act.
House Bill 2696: Providing additional funding for the Kansas Highway Patrol Staffing and Training Fund and Law Enforcement Training Center.
Afterwards, the governor told KSAL News that the STAR Bond law could be huge for Salina.
STAR Bonds are expected to be used to help finance some of the planned revitalization of Downtown Salina. Plans inlcude:
- A high-end, 120-room, five-story hotel on Mulberry between Santa Fe and Fifth streets built by Salina-based Blue Beacon International.
- Two museums, including the “Wings Over Salina Aviation Experience” and an automobile museum.
- A bowling alley and indoor fun center
Plans also include narrowing Santa Fe from a four-lane street to a three-lane street. Traffic would flow in one lane in each direction, with a center turning lane. The redesign would open up more sidewalk space, thus opening up outdoor seating for downtown businesses.
All of the projects would be funded through private and public sources. Along with the private funding, a key component would be STAR Bonds, and also TIF financing.
Tax increment financing, or TIF, subsidizes companies by refunding or diverting a portion of their taxes to help finance development in an area or on a project site. STAR Bonds would have to be approved by the Kansas Legislature.
To qualify for STAR Bonds a project must meet very specific criteria including things like generating tourism to the area that include 30 percent of new traffic from outside a 100 mile radius, and 20 percent from outside the state.