Border War Cease Fire?

(AP) – Missouri and Kansas officials are close to an agreement that would end a long-running “border war” that saw both states using economic incentives to persuade businesses to move, a Kansas Cabinet secretary said.

Kansas Secretary of Commerce Pat George said the main hurdle is how to remove incentives that do not create more jobs or investments without hindering efforts to attract companies or to persuade businesses not to move to another region.

“We’ve proceeded cautiously because we didn’t want to fix a problem and create a new problem,” he said. “We’re publicly funded entities and we want to spend the taxpayers’ money wisely. There certainly could be some that are not being spent as wisely as they could be.”

Kansas has a program called Promoting Employment Across Kansas, or PEAK, which allows a company creating jobs to keep 95 percent of the employees’ state income taxes for up to seven years. A state audit found most of the incentives went to counties surrounding Kansas City and that the majority of the jobs came from Missouri. It can be difficult to determine if the company created new jobs for Kansans, or if its Missouri employees are simply commuting across the border, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported Tuesday.

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