During an address today to members of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Gov. Jay Nixon announced his proposal for ending the so-called "border war" of economic incentives between Missouri and Kansas and promoting economic growth in the Kansas City region.
Currently, both Missouri and Kansas provide companies taxpayer-funded economic development incentives for simply relocating jobs across the state line, without actually creating any new jobs. The Governor said these relocations fail to generate a meaningful return for taxpayers and weaken the region's ability to compete globally for jobs and investment.
"Too often here in Kansas City, economic development tools that were designed to create jobs and generate real economic growth have the opposite effect - manipulating the market and hampering Kansas City's ability to compete as a region globally," Gov. Nixon said. "Every dollar we spend moving a job from one part of the region to another is a dollar we can't spend on to create new jobs, market Kansas City's advantages to the world, or invest in our schools and our students - the best economic development tools we have for competing - and winning - in the global economy. This 'border war' of incentives has gone on long enough. So today, I'm announcing what I've proposed to our friends in Kansas to end it."
Specifically, the Governor has proposed: an immediate moratorium on the use of discretionary incentives where jobs are merely being moved across the state line; that both Governors work with their respective legislatures to pass legislation to make a complete moratorium permanent; that local officials throughout the region be encouraged to end the use of local tax dollars in similarly inefficient and counterproductive ways; and 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.
"For more than a year, my administration has been working with business and community leaders and with Governor Brownback's administration in an attempt to forge an agreement to end the border war," the Governor said. "It is my hope that we can reach an agreement soon, because on an issue as important as the economic growth and vitality of the Kansas City region, there is simply no time to waste."
The full text of the Governor's remarks to business leaders is available here.