Parson says Missouri and Kansas have both spent more than $100 million on border war

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Legislation aimed at ending the economic “border war” between Missouri and Kansas has been signed into law this week by Governor Mike Parson (R) in Kansas City.

The Bolivar Republican notes the legislation, which is Senate bill 182, will only take effect if the Sunflower State passes a reciprocal agreement.

“I’m very positive, very optimistic right now that we’re going to come to some sort of an agreement between Missouri and Kansas on this,” Parson says.

Governor Parson signed the bill this week at Kansas City’s historic Union Station, telling reporters he has a good working relationship with Kansas Governor Laura Kelly (D) and that additional meetings will take place. He says he’s met with Kelly and has also spoken to her on the phone.

Parson tells reporters that incentivizing companies to move a few miles does not result in new jobs for Missouri or Kansas.

“We’re spending a lot of taxpayer money to do initiatives for businesses on the border of Kansas and Missouri and sometimes we’re not getting very much gain for that,” says Parson.

The legislation, which is sponsored by State Sen. Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit, impacts companies moving between Johnson, Miami and Wyandotte counties in eastern Kansas and Missouri’s Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties.

The Kansas City-based Hall Family Foundation says more than 10,000 jobs moved between Missouri and Kansas during the past decade, with an incentive cost of $330 million. The jobs all moved in the Kansas City region.

“I think Missouri has spent well over $100 million on this, Kansas has spent well over $100 million,” Parson says. “There’s no reason we can’t be using that money for a lot better purposes than just jumping from one side of the state (line) to the other.”

Governor Parson tells reporters he’s optimistic he’ll reach an agreement with Kansas Governor Laura Kelly on this.

As for Governor Kelly, she’s issued a statement echoing Governor Parson’s comments about the irresponsible spending by both states, “with little actual job growth for either state.”

Kelly also emphasizes that the two states must work together to attract business and jobs.

“We’re encouraged by the renewed spirit of cooperation and collaboration between the two states. The recent joint proposal to attract United States Department of Agriculture operations to the Kansas City metro area is a prime example of progress on that front,” Kelly’s statement reads, in part.

This issue has been debated for years in the Missouri Legislature, with former House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, and former State Rep. Kevin McManus, D-Kansas City, leading an unsuccessful effort in 2014.

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