Gov. Kelly: Kansas-Missouri economic border war is over


TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Governor Laura Kelly announced on Friday that the economic “border war” with Missouri is over.

In the last decade, hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives have been given away from Missouri and Kansas to attract businesses.

The goal was to get a company to move across the state line and set up shop on the other side.

On Friday, Governor Laura Kelly signed an executive order that ends the practice.

“We’ve got to stop using costly incentives to lure business across the border without any real economic benefit,” Kelly said.

The Department of Commerce is in charge of giving out incentives.

“You had companies jumping from one side of the line to the other and not creating jobs, what we’re saying is going forward those companies have to create jobs if they want state incentives,” said Secretary of Commerce David Toland.

So the only way a moving Kansas City area company can get tax credits is if it is adding new jobs to its new state. Supporters say that benefits the entire region.

“I think economic development is at it’s best when there is collaboration, when folks are working together, it will be really good especially representing the third district when I’m right on the state line,” said Kansas City Congresswoman Sharice Davids.

Legislators are now saying it comes down to what cities have to offer.

“Now what we can do is focus on why a business should come to our community, which is a skilled workforce, good family life,” said Overland Park Representative Jane Kessinger.

“Overland park, number one in the country for raising a family, education, the things that people want from their communities, that’s what we’re going to be able to focus on instead of just dollars and cents,” he said.

Governor Kelly says with less dollars going to Kansas City area businesses, the whole state will benefit.

“It’ll free up millions of dollars for us to use in various parts of the state to attract business,” she said.

The executive order says local governments can still offer tax credits but they can’t last longer than ten years. Governor Kelly said that’s crucial to the order.

In June, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed a law addressing the issue.

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