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Missouri House Passes 'Border War Cease-Fire' Bill

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio
The Mo. House

The Missouri House has passed legislation aimed at declaring a "cease-fire" in the so-called economic "border war" between Missouri and Kansas.

House Bill 1646 would ban Missouri from offering tax incentives to businesses in Douglas, Johnson, Miami and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, all within the greater Kansas City area.  The ban would only take effect if Kansas passes a similar law to stop offering incentives to businesses in Jackson, Cass, Clay and Platte counties in Missouri.  It was sponsored by House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka.

"I've seen firsthand what this economic small-ball has done to our western border," Jones said.  "It has simply resulted in shifting jobs back and forth across State Line Road, which has resulted in a deficit in many ways for the states in our region."

 State Rep. Kevin McManus, D-Kansas City, also supported the bill, saying that ending the economic border war would also benefit Kansas.

"We have to bring (Kansas) to the table, and we have to figure out a way that makes sense for both states, so that we're not competing against each other, but we're competing together," McManus said before the vote. "Our goal should be bringing jobs to our region and competing with other countries, frankly, in this global economy, not with our neighboring states."

The bill passed overwhelmingly Tuesday, 153-3.  The three "no" votes were cast by state Reps. Michael Frame, D-Eureka, Jeff Pogue, R-Salem, and Nick Marshall, R-Parkville.  Marshall is the only Kansas City-area House Member to vote against the bill.

House Bill 1646 is now in the hands of the Missouri Senate, which sent the House a similar measure last week.  Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, called for a moratorium back in November by both Kansas and Missouri on the use of tax credits to lure business across the state line.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

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