Kansas and Missouri end border war over state tax incentives

September 15, 2019

With her signing of an executive order in August, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly pronounced the end of a longstanding “economic border war” between her state and Missouri. Her action, combined with legislation passed in Missouri this year (SB 182), stops the two states from offering tax incentives to companies in the Kansas City region. For the war to truly end, The Wichita Eagle reports, local governments on both sides of the border need to follow the states’ lead. Because they are not bound by the Kansas executive order or new Missouri law, cities and counties could still offer property tax abatements to lure businesses.

The Hall Family Foundation, a Kansas City-based philanthropic group, analyzed the movement of jobs over the past decade between two Kansas counties (Johnson and Wyandotte) and one Missouri county (Jackson). Its findings: An estimated 10,000 jobs moved between the two states, at an incentive cost of about $330 million.

According to The Wichita Eagle, most of those incentives came from the states, rather than local governments.  Instead of competing through tax incentives, Gov. Kelly says, Kansas and Missouri will work together to boost economic development in the Kansas City region.