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'Border War Cease Fire' Legislation Pre-Filed In Mo. Senate

Mo. Senate
Mo. State Sen. Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City)

A Kansas City lawmaker is proposing legislation next year to address the so-called "Border War" between Missouri and Kansas over businesses weighing whether to relocate or stay put.

State Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, says his proposal would create a bilateral agreement between Kansas and Missouri, forbidding them from offering incentives to entice companies to move across the border to their opposite state.

"We think that people on both sides of the state line have realized that this is not financially beneficial to either state, so it's kind of a cease fire, in essence," Silvey said.

Senate Bill 635 would involve only the eight counties that make up the Kansas City metro area (Jackson, Clay, Platte, and Cass in Missouri; Wyandotte, Johnson, Douglas, and Miami in Kansas), and would only take effect if Kansas also agrees to pass a similar bill or an executive order.

"We have a history over here of the two states basically poaching companies from one side of the state line to the other, costing each state millions of dollars," Silvey said.  "In reality, the jobs haven't really moved. The families pretty well stay where they are (and) they just take a different path to work, and you spend a bunch of money for a lot of nothing."

Meanwhile, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, announced a similar proposal last month. It would include an immediate moratorium on using tax breaks to get Kansas City-area businesses to switch home states.

The 2014 Missouri legislative session begins Jan. 8.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.