The following remarks are from Governor Laura Kelly, delivered today at the Governors’ Summit announcing the end of the economic development border war:
It’s good to be here today with all of you as Governor Parson and I sign a truce to end the long-standing economic border war between Kansas and Missouri.
The Kansas City region is magnificent. On that we all can agree. There’s much to like on both sides of the border, and in the region as a whole.
And even though our states have been engaged in an economic tug-of-war on this very turf, we share the same goals.
We all want companies to set up shop and flourish in our states. We know that to attract and retain good businesses and their economic benefits, it’s often necessary to offer incentives, but because there will be a return on investment, and not just for bragging rights and an illusion of success at a high cost to both states – and certainly not by luring companies a few miles across the border.
The Executive Order I recently signed, and the bill that Governor Parson signed, ends this senseless battle.
Representatives of businesses and chambers of commerce, economic development leaders and legislators, including some in this room today, have long called for this ceasefire.
Unfortunately, Kansas didn’t help the process in recent years due to shortsighted thinking by the previous administration.
Kansans elected me in part because they were tired of far-reaching fiscal irresponsibility in the past several years, which included inaction on the border war, one that saw hundreds of millions of dollars spent in incentives by both states in the past decade to move businesses a matter of blocks, with no economic gain to the region as a whole.
We all agree the goal of this bi-state agreement must be net new jobs in the Kansas City region when businesses come calling. And that’s why we’re here today celebrating the agreement to do just that.
Today’s governors’ summit is truly historic. I want to sincerely thank Governor Parson and his team in Missouri for working with us on this achievement.
When we work together, we can achieve so much. Our cooperative effort to bring many high-paying USDA jobs to the Kansas City region is proof.
My Secretary of Commerce, David Toland, and his team have moved forward with a smart approach to economic development here and throughout the nation and the world. It was encouraging to see our folks work with Rob Dixon and his team on the Missouri side to put together the USDA deal, and work toward the border war truce.
There will be many more opportunities to cooperate and promote the Kansas City region. The National Security Crossroads project and Animal Health Corridor are two good examples.
Another exciting possibility has the Kansas City region in contention to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, with both states involved. Kansas pledges to work closely with Missouri to land that bid which will burnish the coffers and the reputation of the entire metro area.
To be clear: our states will continue to compete for those businesses wishing to start up or relocate, but we will now use strategies that are sensible, cost effective, and productive for people in both states.
That’s how healthy rivalries should work.
The best outcome will be substantial growth in this region. Growth where all businesses can prosper and where both states benefit from their presence. Boundaries will no longer define the potential for progress.
I look forward to continued collaboration with Governor Parson, his team and his great state of Missouri.
Thanks again to all of you for making this day possible.