Having been granted $62 million worth of Missouri state subsidies, Waddell & Reed is asking for an additional $40 million in local tax breaks. The surprise here is that the additional local incentives are supported by the mayor of Kansas City, who campaigned for office promising to reform economic development incentives.
What is less surprising is that the governor of Kansas, who embarked on a highly publicized economic development truce with the governor of Missouri, is critical of the additional Waddell and Reed incentives. The Kansas governor is quoted in The Kansas City Star as saying:
My executive order limiting the use of state incentives was premised in part on Missouri local units of government bringing their property tax incentives to a level playing field with Kansas. Without that action, a true ceasefire cannot occur.
There always was less to the border war truce than people wanted to admit. The agreement was vague and full of loopholes, and I wrote as much in the Kansas City Business Journal in August. No piece of legislation or executive order is as important as a leader’s resolve, and without the ability to say no to incentives, the truce is meaningless.