A bill in a state Senate committee would dismantle the Kansas Bioscience Authority, which is a state-funded investment program aimed at fostering startup companies in Kansas. As Stephen Koranda reports, the plan would move the remaining parts of the KBA into the Department of Commerce.
Republican Ty Masterson, chair of the Kansas Senate’s budget writing committee, questions if the state should be in the investing industry.
“When we’re talking about trimming budgets and looking at revenues, is this something we need to be looking at?” says Masterson.
The governor’s former budget director says tax policy is a better way for the state to boost business.
But the heads of several companies say the KBA helps attract and keep jobs in Kansas. Matt Condon, CEO of Bardavon Health Innovations, says the KBA is an anchor, and without it investors would push for new companies to leave the area.
“They’ll still fund the company, but their effort is to move it to the coast closer to where they are. What KBA represents to the community isn’t just funding or partial funding,” says Condon.
The KBA has attracted criticism from lawmakers in recent years over management and investments.