July 22, 2014

Cbiz and Mayer Hoffman McCann are crossing the state line to the Plaza Steppes building in Missouri

The affiliated Leawood-based firms will move their headquarters and 450 employees to Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza next summer. Missouri is providing tax incentives tied to the amount of payroll involved in the move and future hiring.

Missouri has claimed another victory in the border war.

Leawood-based Cbiz Inc. and Mayer Hoffman McCann PC will move their headquarters and 450 employees to the Country Club Plaza next summer.

Cbiz, a business services firm, said the move to the Plaza Steppes building comes after a yearlong search for a new location. The company had recently sold one of its businesses, which left it with excess space.

The move will trigger financial incentives from Missouri, said Richard Mills, Cbiz Financial Services’ chief operating officer. He declined to specify how much they could reach.

“A lot of these are good if we grow and we hire more people,” Mills said.

Some of the incentives are tied to the amount of gross wages the move brings to the state, he said. Mills also called the incentives “the same incentives anybody else moving to Missouri would get.”

In an email, Amy Susan of the Missouri Department of Economic Development said Cbiz could access as much as $25.4 million in incentives under the Missouri Works program by meeting “strict job creation and investment criteria.” Mayer Hoffman McCann could access up to $660,787 under the same criteria, she said.

The move comes as political forces on both sides of the state line are pushing for a truce in the border war, in which each state has used tax incentives to lure businesses and jobs away from the other.

Gov. Jay Nixon recently signed legislation to set a moratorium on using state tax incentives to recruit Kansas companies to come to Missouri. But it requires Kansas to reciprocate before Missouri’s actions change. Kansas has not acted.

Both states use programs that allow companies to keep their employee state income taxes as an incentive to locate there. In Missouri, it is the Missouri Works program. Kansas calls its program Promoting Employment Across Kansas.

Kansas officials could not be reached.

The biggest battle in the border war saw Freightquote decide in 2012 to move its headquarters and 1,225 jobs to Kansas City from Lenexa, picking up an incentive package valued at the time at $64.3 million over 23 years.

Earlier moves across the state line included JPMorgan Retirement Services moving 800 jobs and KeyBank Real Estate Capital moving 300 jobs to Overland Park from Kansas City.

Applebee’s International moved 390 jobs from Lenexa to Kansas City, and North American Savings Bank moved 200 jobs to Kansas City from Overland Park.

This year Grantham University decided to move its Kansas City operations at Zona Rosa, with 340 employees, to Lenexa.

Critics of the border war have estimated that, beginning in 2009, more than 4,400 jobs have moved from Jackson County to Johnson or Wyandotte counties in Kansas, with $136 million going to company coffers.

Similarly, estimates show that more than 2,900 jobs have moved from Kansas to Jackson County, with the companies keeping $76 million in employee state income taxes.

Mills said the firms had settled on the Plaza before applying to Missouri for incentives.

Cbiz had acquired Robert D. O’Byrne & Associates on the Plaza and affiliated with longtime Plaza tenant Mayer Hoffman in 1998. Cbiz helps client companies manage their finances and employees. Mayer Hoffman is an independent CPA firm.

The move into the 13-story Plaza Steppes building at 700 W. 47th St. comes after its major tenant, the Polsinelli law firm, moved to the Plaza Vista development.

Cbiz said Plaza Steppes is providing up to 120,000 square feet of space, the 500-space parking garage and the Plaza’s many amenities.

To reach Mark Davis, call 816-234-4372 or send email to Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at mdkcstar.

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