Governors sign bipartisan agreement ending economic border war between Kansas, Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The governors of Kansas and Missouri today signed a historic agreement, putting an end to the economic border war that squandered millions of taxpayer dollars in recent years.

Both states' officials credit bipartisan cooperation for putting an end to meaningless corporate welfare incentives.

A study by the Hall Family Foundation shows that, during the last decade, Kansas and Missouri have wasted $330 million in taxpayer dollars to move more than 10,000 jobs only a few miles across the state line.

The war ended as Governors Mike Parson and Laura Kelly signed an agreement to prohibit tax abatements and other incentives from being offered to companies moving within the metro. This includes Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties on the Missouri side, and Wyandotte, Johnson and Miami counties in Kansas.

A bi-state group of mayors and other community leaders applauded loudest and longest for the collaboration it took to reach an agreement between two states with a long history of being opponents.

"I hope that other states, I hope Washington, D.C., takes a good look at what happened here today when a Republican and Democrat governor can sit down together and do what is right for the people of our states," Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican from Missouri, said. "I hope they pay attention."

This agreement does not prevent some last minute moves that got in under the wire, include Waddell and Reed's move from Kansas to Missouri, and Hostess' planned move from Kansas City, Mo., to Lenexa, Kan.

A keynote speaker from the Brookings Institution says tax abatements for business recruitment are a distraction. Real growth within states comes from existing businesses and working to improve the workforce that's already there.

Neither governor is willing to end economic development incentives entirely. They said it would be nice to not have to use the incentives, but they have to keep their states competitive as other states continue to use them.

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