Missouri governor calls for truce in border war for businesses - KCTV5

Missouri governor calls for truce in border war for businesses, jobs

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon told some metro-wide business executives Tuesday he's tired of spending state money to swap jobs with Kansas, not create them.

"The opportunities for this region are endless, but only if we stop this senseless incentive war and start working together," Nixon said.

Both states have offered millions of dollars in tax incentives to get businesses to move a few miles across the state line. The multi-million dollar job-trading practice that's been under way in recent years includes:

- Kansas wooing such companies as AMC Entertainment, Teva Neuroscience and other banking businesses away from Missouri.

- Missouri swayed Applebee's, shipping company Freightquote, among others, to leave Kansas

Nixon said the long-established practice of offering existing metro businesses top dollar by way of tax incentives to change their address is expensive.

"It's bad for taxpayers, it's bad for our budgets, it's not good for our economy," he said.

Part of Nixon's plan calls on both states to immediately stop using taxpayer money to incentivize businesses simply moving across state lines. He's also asking legislators to make new laws to make the change permanent.

"Collaboration is better than a lone gunman. Had he called me or some or the other legislators that have been working on it forever he probably could've learned we're not going to pass what he just asked us to pass," said Republican State Sen. Ryan Silvey.

Kansas City business leaders are more optimistic.

"I really was encouraged by his message and emphasis on collaboration between real partnership between Missouri and Kansas to help greater Kansas City compete more effectively in a national and international marketplace," said Jim Heeter, the president and CEO of the Great Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

Nixon is hopeful his proposal will redirect limited state dollars to other economic development areas more profitable.

"Every dollar we spend moving a job from one part of the region to another is a dollar we can't spend to create new jobs, to strengthen our research and infrastructure capacity or market Kansas City's advantages to the world," he said.

Beyond delaying using incentives to move jobs across the state line and working to make the idea permanent, Nixon is proposing that local officials end the use of local tax dollars in inefficient and counterproductive ways.

"(There are) a number of concrete ways in which Missouri and Kansas can work together to leverage their combined resources to promote the Kansas City region as a whole," he wrote.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said in a written statement that he is happy Nixon is joining him in resolving the issue.

"It's good to hear that Governor Nixon is joining this discussion. I have been open to resolving this issue for more than a year and in that time have engaged in active discussion with Governor Nixon. We also have talked with members of the Missouri legislature who are interested in putting an end to this ‘war.'

 

"In Kansas, we are actively working with our mayors and civic leaders to build consensus around a process that is fair and equitable and allows both Kansas and Missouri to attract and retain business. In the past year, all the net job growth in the KC metro area has occurred on the Kansas side.

 

"Economic policy in Kansas is designed to make our state competitive on a national and international basis through improved regulations, controlled spending and lower taxes."

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