Close this search box.
Close this search box.

In Missouri-Kansas Border Wars Over Companies, Kansas Suggests a Truce

After years of skirmishes with his counterpart in Missouri, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing a truce in the increasingly expensive—and evidently pointless—business border war.

In Billion-Dollar Missouri-Kansas Economic Border War, Kansas Suggests A Truce

After years of skirmishes with his counterpart in Missouri, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing a truce in the increasingly expensive – and evidently pointless – border war over companies and jobs.

Brownback has directed Commerce Secretary Antonio Suave to slash the use of incentives to recruit employers from across the border in Missouri, provided Missouri amends its Missouri Works incentive program. The neighboring states have collectively spent as much as $1 billion to attract border jumpers, as companies relocating a few miles to claim tax breaks are called.

While incentives would still be available through the state’s Promoting Employment Across Kansas program, Gov. Brownback’s proposal raises the requirements in terms of capital investment and job creation. He says both states would have to agree to stop actively recruiting employers in the others’ jurisdiction. The proposal would go into effect if and when the Missouri General Assembly amends Missouri Works program to reflect his terms.

The agreement would go into effect for one year, the governor said.

“Our focus should be on creating new jobs that help our states and the region grow, not on providing opportunities for businesses that routinely cross the border to access economic incentives,” Gov. Brownback said. “Kansas is, and will remain, an attractive state for business growth with our stable regulatory environment and tax policy.”

In 2014 Missouri passed its own anti-poaching leislation, but Kansas did not agree to it. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said he would review what he called “the latest proposal” but made no commitment.

Business leaders in both states have critcized the use of incentives to lure border jumpers, claiming the subsidies merely relocate jobs at taxpayer expense. Bill Hall, assistant to the chairman of Hallmark Cards, told the Kansas City Star that “108 companies have moved cross-border” since 2009. He called the competition a “zero-sum game” that’s cost taxpayers $262 million in lost revenues. Each job involved cost the community about $60,000, he said.

Other estimates put the cost to taxpayers much higher. Missouri and Kansas committed more than $750 million of tax incentives and bonds between 2008 and 2012 to lure businesses to their respective sides of the Kansas City metro area, according to state records obtained by the Associated Press. Other cities and suburbs have allocated millions more, AP said.

Citing research done by a Kansas City civic organization he heads, Hall said that since 2009 nearly 10,000 jobs have been shuffled across the border the states share. About 5,700 of those jobs moved from Missouri to Kansas, approximately 4,000 from Kansas to Missouri.

“We want to lower incentives so that (employer) decisions aren’t based on ‘What can I get from the state?’ by making the move,” Hall told the Kansas City Star.

“Moving jobs across state lines isn’t economic development,” Kansas City Mayor Sly James said. “It’s score keeping and we can do better than that.”


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.