Gov. Jay Nixon joined business and civic leaders at Union Station in Kansas City today to sign Senate Bill 635, which contains provisions addressing the economic "border war" in the Kansas City metropolitan area and helping to ensure the fiscally responsible use of economic development incentives in the region.
"Here in Missouri, we have a strong tradition of working together to make sure our economic development tools are consistent with our values of fiscal discipline and accountability," Gov. Nixon said. "That's why last year, I laid out a comprehensive proposal to end the fiscally irresponsible use of taxpayer incentives in the Kansas City area and work together on concrete ways to strengthen the region as a whole. The legislation I'm signing today codifies several elements of this proposal, and while there is much more work to do, takes an important step toward ending the border war for good."
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. These relocations, in which existing jobs are treated as new jobs for the purposes of economic development incentives, fail to generate a meaningful return for taxpayers and weaken the region's ability to compete globally for jobs and investment.
"The fact that Gov. Nixon is signing the bill in our Board Room in Union Station is, I think, symbolic," said Jim Heeter, President & Chief Executive Officer, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. "Union Station is thriving today thanks to bi-state cooperation. The legislation to be signed by the Governor holds the same promise, this time for our region's overall economy. Passage of legislation to end the Border War has been one of the KC Chamber's highest legislative priorities. We thank the General Assembly for passing this very important legislation, and we thank Gov. Nixon for signing it, and doing so in the Chamber Board Room at Union Station in Kansas City."
The problem of taking jobs that already exist and treating them as if they're brand new occurs in both states -- and so it will take action by both states in order to fix it," Gov. Nixon said. "That's why Senate Bill 635 is not a unilateral disarmament, but rather a commitment to taxpayers on both sides of the state line that Missouri is ready to stop using their hard-earned money subsidizing a war that neither side can win. Working together, we're demonstrating Missouri's commitment to taxpayer accountability, to fiscal discipline, and to economic growth and I sincerely hope that Kansas will soon follow our lead."
Senate Bill 635 codifies several elements of a proposal Gov. Nixon announced last year, in which both states would commit to a moratorium on the use of incentives where jobs are merely being moved across the state line. Under Senate Bill 635, Missouri would no longer provide certain economic development incentives for jobs relocated from counties in Kansas that are within the Kansas City metropolitan area (Douglas, Johnson, Miami, and Wyandotte) but only once it has been certified that Kansas has put a similar prohibition in place.