Sen. Mike Cierpiot’s Guest Column for the Week of Feb. 4, 2019

Ending the Kansas-Missouri Border War

The Senate’s Economic Development Committee, which I am chairman of, is responsible for considering legislation to keep Missouri competitive and attracting businesses to our state. It also is expected that our policies will be balanced and use our resources wisely.

A bill I’m sponsoring and that was heard in committee on Feb. 5 is part of that effort. Senate Bill 182, commonly referred to as the “border war bill,” which I presented to the committee on Feb. 5. This bill reauthorizes the ban on incentives to businesses relocating from certain areas of Kansas, including Douglas, Johnson, Miami or Wyandotte Counties, to the Kansas City Metropolitan area, and vice versa.

This is not about punishing businesses or making the Kansas City Metropolitan area less viable in the eyes of potential job creators. In fact, it’s the opposite. Our current policies allow businesses to relocate from Kansas border counties into Missouri, and vice versa, and claim incentives and tax benefits, without ever creating net new jobs in the area. By moving a matter of miles, or in some cases blocks, these businesses receive incentives that cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

This is a costly policy that must end, which is exactly what SB 182 intends to do. We cannot sustain an economic border war with Kansas. Already, Missourians and Kansans have spent over $335 million shuffling businesses back and forth over state lines. By gaming the system and wasting important incentives, we are robbing ourselves of real opportunities. These are lost opportunities that could have led to real job growth, instead of simply shuffling employees across state lines.

Once before, the Missouri General Assembly passed such a ban, but it was allowed to lapse in 2016. With a new governor in Kansas, I am hopeful this renewed effort will help end a costly border war that has yielded few results. I look forward to moving forward with SB 182 and passing it out of the Missouri Senate in the near future.

Please feel free to contact my office in Jefferson City at (573) 751-1464. For information about committees or sponsored legislation for the 2019 session, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at