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Senate passes “border war truce” legislation

Legislation that seeks to end the so-called border war between Kansas and Missouri over businesses is on the move in the state legislature.

Thursday (2-27-14), the Missouri Senate gave final passage to SB 635, sponsored by Sen. Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City).  The bill seeks to codify the truce in Missouri law, contingent on passage of a similar law in Kansas.   The bill would deny tax incentives to employers that move jobs from four border counties in Kansas to any of four border counties in Missouri.  Employers moving the same types of jobs from another county in Kansas or anywhere else to Missouri would still be eligible for benefits, but those moving from the Kansas counties of Douglas, Johnson, Miami or Wyandotte would be barred from receiving incentives for those jobs.

The effect of the law will be to deny a tax benefit to employers moving from these counties to Missouri, while allowing similarly situated employers moving from other locations to enjoy the benefit.

Associated Industries of Missouri’s Tax Committee, made up of many of the state’s top tax professionals, attorneys and accountants, believes the bill may raise constitutional questions of discrimination and may place an inappropriate burden on interstate commerce.  Many represented on the committee question the basic premise of the bill.

“At Associated Industries of Missouri, we believe we should use all tools at our disposal to attract and retain quality Missouri employers and the jobs they create,” said McCarty. “We believe the best solution is a taxpayer-friendly tax structure that benefits all existing employers as well as the new ones we want to attract.”

The bill proved popular with almost no debate on the Senate floor before the body voted 30-2 to third read and pass the bill on to the House. A similar bill sponsored by Speaker of the House Tim Jones (R-Eureka) is also under consideration this year.

UPDATE: March 4 – The Missouri House passed the Speaker’s bill on the same subject, HB 1646, today by an overwhelming margin.

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