Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday called out Missouri and Gov. Jay Nixon on the ongoing border war over state-line job poaching.
Speaking in Kansas City to a group of business leaders, Brownback said Missouri must alter a key aspect of its Quality Jobs program before serious negotiations can begin.
The Missouri Quality Jobs program is “an entitlement setup,” Brownback said, meaning that if a company aiming to move to Missouri qualifies for the program because it will bring new jobs to the state, it automatically receives the state incentive.
There’s no discretion like there is under the Kansas program, the governor said.
“I mean, if you qualify, you get it,” Brownback said of the Missouri program. “So how do you negotiate?”
Brownback said he has told Nixon of his concerns.
“I’m ready to negotiate,” Brownback told The Star. “You’ve got to be able to negotiate, and you’ve got to be able to negotiate on your key incentive programs to do that.”
The Missouri General Assembly would have to pass a law to change Quality Jobs, Kansas officials have said. Attempts to do that in Jefferson City have fallen short.
A Nixon spokeswoman said that “conversations have occurred” and that the governor “looks forward to continuing to pursue opportunities to promote economic development and create jobs in Missouri and the entire Kansas City region.”
Brownback described Kansas’ job incentive programs as “standard” — aggressive but typical of the negotiated incentives offered in other states.
“I’ve asked for the conversation (to begin),” the governor said.