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Governor Kelly Signs Executive Order Ending Kansas-Missouri "Border War"
Topeka, KS
08/05/2019 10:15 AM

Good morning. Thanks for being here.

After years of tensions and negotiations between Kansas and our neighboring state Missouri, we’re finally able to announce the end of the so-called border war.

I’m signing Executive Order 19-09, which directs the Kansas Department of Commerce to no longer provide incentives to any company in the Kansas City region for simply moving employees from one side of the state line to the other.

All governors have a responsibility to grow their economies and bring new, good-paying jobs into their states. Naturally, competition between states can arise in that process.

Unfortunately, Kansas and Missouri allowed that healthy competition for new jobs and business development to spiral into something else that did not support the goal of new job creation.

For years, both Kansas and Missouri have implemented incentive programs to persuade companies to jump back and forth between the Kansas and Missouri border – all while remaining in the KC metro area. It’s been wasteful and bad for both states.

A sincere effort to end the border war that’s cost both states many millions of dollars eluded the previous administration in Kansas. But as I promised, I went to work on Day 1.

During my campaign I heard how badly the Kansas-Missouri border war affected our businesses in the KC metro area. We must stop using costly incentives to lure a business across the border without any real economic benefit. The goal always should be creation of new jobs.

Since taking office, my team and I have done the work and put in the time with our Missouri counterparts to end this senseless back-and-forth. This Executive Order represents the results of that hard work and the hard work yet to come in my administration.

My Executive Order addresses the statewide laws regarding incentives. In addition, however, there is disparity between Kansas and Missouri regarding local property tax abatements.

The Kansas Constitution limits cities and counties to a maximum of 10 years. In Missouri, local cities and counties can grant a tax abatement up to a maximum of 25 years and 35 years for the KC Port Authority.

That puts Kansas at a disadvantage.

Therefore, this Executive Order asks the local governments to comply with the bistate agreement. We are confident our two states can agree this Executive Order benefits Kansas and Missouri in a fair and equal way.

We have recently seen a renewed spirit of cooperation and collaboration between Kansas and Missouri.

As you know, we worked closely with Missouri to bring the USDA facilities to the KC metro area. The USDA deal will bring hundreds of new, good paying jobs to the Kansas City region – benefiting both states.

I also want to commend Missouri Governor Parson for both signing the border war bill and for his leadership throughout negotiations around the USDA project. We can achieve a lot when we work together.

My Executive Order ends the border war. But we have more to do. My administration looks forward to a governors’ summit in the near future where we will celebrate this monumental achievement for both states.

With that, I’ll sign Executive Order 19-09.

 
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