Missouri lawmaker wants end to Kansas/Missouri business border war

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas and Missouri lawmakers have a number of bills already on the table even before the 2014 legislative session starts in January.  One of the proposals, though, will require cooperation from legislators on both sides of the state line.    

Missouri GOP Senator Ryan Silvey will push a bill that would put an end to the divisive economic border war.  Sen. Silvey is hoping lawmakers in both states will work together in 2014 to come up with a compromise. His  bill would stop Missouri from issuing tax breaks or financial incentives to lure corporations across the state line, if and only if Kansas agrees to stop offering financial incentives too.      

It would apply to eight counties along the border. The state of Kansas would have to agree to stop subsidizing moves in Jackson, Clay, Cass and Platte counties, while Missouri would have to agree to stop subsidies from moving jobs from Wyandotte, Johnson, Miami and Douglas counties.      

Silvey said financial incentives benefit nobody, saying the practice just shuffles jobs back and forth,"This isn't about who's winning, I'm winning, you're winning, you can't win. That's not what we're talking about. We're talking about recognizing that this is not wise economic policy. That it's not good for taxpayers and saying we're willing to stop if you are."       

But Kansas Senator Jim Denning said lawmakers are willing to compromise, but it will not likely will not happen among lawmakers anytime soon, "We have better schools, better roads, better public safety... That's probably made them feel like they are in a corner, but that's not to say Kansas isn't willing to sit down."       

Both states have used incentives for jobs. Applebee's moved from Kansas to Missouri after breaks, movie giant AMC moved from Missouri to Kansas and Cerner Corp. moved jobs to both Missouri and Kansas after tax incentives.       

Silvey said incentives should only be used to add jobs, not just move them.  He plans to introduce his "border war" bill in January.

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