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Gov. Brownback open to border war negotiations with Missouri

Updated: 2013-08-07T03:18:32Z

By DIANE STAFFORD

The Kansas City Star

About 150 business and government leaders toured the new AMC Theatres Support Center in Leawood on Tuesday afternoon and heard Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback extol job growth in the metro area.

The four-story office building in the Park Place multi-purpose development houses more than 400 AMC employees who previously worked in a downtown Kansas City office tower.

“These jobs may be located in Kansas, but they will strengthen Kansas City as a whole,” Brownback said in a brief interview after the formal presentations.

“We didn’t lose these jobs to California or New York, which Wanda could have done,” he said in reference to the Chinese company that owns AMC.

Brownback acknowledged that the “border war” that has enticed several companies from Kansas to Missouri and from Missouri to Kansas through tax incentives could be a “zero sum game” in terms of employment.

But, he said, it was more important to focus on job retention for the metro area as a whole and the area’s growth potential.

Brownback said he was open to “negotiating something” with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon about the border war, but his primary goal was to lower tax rates in Kansas to make it a more favorable business environment.

“We want to be as competitive as Texas,” Brownback said. “We’ve been getting beat by Texas, and I’m tired of that.”

Meanwhile, AMC guests enjoyed refreshments in the gleaming new facility that leaves no doubt about the nature of the business. Movie and theater references abound throughout the black, white and red décor that was inspired by Star Wars and other movies.

The open-office design, with broad ash wood staircases leading between floors, includes a high-tech operations center that monitors AMC theaters around the country. The building also has two giant 330-inch television screens used for internal communication as well as screenings of trailers and other industry information..

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to stafford@kcstar.com.

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