A 10-year-old economic development initiative will expire with the end of fiscal 2012 on June 30 unless the Kansas Legislature extends the sales tax revenue bond program.

STAR bonds can be issued by counties or cities to finance roads and other infrastructure projects at major tourist destinations.

The projects must be major regional or statewide destinations with unique features, and cost at least $50 million.

STAR bonds cannot provide more than 50% of total project financing.

To be eligible for the program, a project must attract up to 30% of visitors from outside a 100-mile radius, and 20% of total visitors must live outside Kansas.

The bonds are supported by the additional state and local sales tax revenues that are generated inside the designated districts.

Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George asked the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee last week to approve legislation that would extend the STAR bond program for another five years.

George said economic activity generated through the STAR bond effort has created more than 30,000 jobs and attracted more than $2 billion in private investments.

Wichita is now seeking state authorization for STAR bonds to build a multi-sport amateur athletic complex.

Incremental revenues from the state’s 6.3% sales tax on activity within the district, which is now undeveloped, would support the bonds.

Upon completion, the 400-acre district is expected to bring in 1 million out-of-state visitors a year, generating demand for 458,000 hotel rooms.

The athletic complex would be the centerpiece of a shopping district that would include hotels, restaurants and retail shops.

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