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Kansas Lawmakers Question Cargill Incentives Package

Stephen Koranda

Some Kansas lawmakers have expressed discomfort with the Commerce Department's operations and authority to reward companies without proving the value of taxpayer investments.

The department crafted an economic incentives package in 2016 to keep a food products supplier's headquarters in Wichita. Cargill is receiving funding from the package to retain and grow jobs while starting and ending with the same employee total.

Some lawmakers say they were unaware of those terms. Republican Sen. Molly Baumgardner says the Cargill agreement is the kind that would warrant a legislative audit.

The Commerce Department describes fluctuating job figures as part of the natural rhythm of business operations. The department also calls the deal necessary for a company that contemplated moving out of Kansas.