April 18, 2014

Hallmark: Missouri, Kansas job poaching costing both states too much money for ‘new’ jobs

A Washington D.C.-based nonprofit group says states need to stop poaching businesses from their neighboring states by offerering incentives for them to shift existing jobs across state lines.

Good Jobs First says states then label the jobs as “new” and then hand over millions in subsidy packages.

Bill Hall with Hallmark Cards in Kansas City says his company shows that Kansas has recently provided $132 million to companies in Kansas City, Mo., to move across the state line into Kansas. Meanwhile, Missouri has provided about $60 million in tax breaks to entice businesses to move jobs from Kansas to the Missouri side of the city.

Hall says that means Kansas gained 595 jobs at cost of $323,000 per job. He says the economic border war in Missouri, Kansas and other states is a losing battle for both sides, and taxpayers are paying for it.

Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, says Missouri is not alone. Several states are guilty of perpetuating “interstate job fraud.”

“They actively try to lure existing jobs from other states, re-label them ‘new’ — or perhaps technically new to the state — and shower footloose companies with eight- and nine-figure subsidy packages,” he says.