We should welcome the news that Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and her Missouri counterpart, Gov. Mike Parson, have decided to officially end the “border war.” That piquant phrase refers to the competing incentives paid to companies to persuade them to hop over the border to either Kansas or Missouri.

While these incentives seem to make sense in the short term, they tend to cost a great deal and accomplish little over the long term. Put yourself in the place of a corporation: Wouldn’t you be willing to relocate a handful of miles every few years if states kept throwing money at you? What’s a month or three lost to relocation with sweet tax breaks on the line?

So kudos to lawmakers in both Kansas and Missouri for realizing the time has come to stop the practice.

The practice was “wasteful and bad for both states,” Kelly said.

Kelli Jones, spokeswoman for Parson, said they were “encouraged by the news of its signing, which will help both states better serve the citizens of Missouri and Kansas through fiscally responsible practices.”

Now comes the hard part. Each state has to actually put down the economic incentives and step away from the table. That might be difficult when it comes to prominent moves to the area, such as the relocation of U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies. A final decision on where those workers might actually land hasn’t been made, and it’s difficult to imagine that Kansas and Missouri economic development officials won’t jockey for the privilege.

And what happens when a longtime Kansas company takes a meeting with a state official and complains about conditions here and suggests, ever-so-subtly, that Missouri might be a better location. Executive orders from Kelly notwithstanding, does any state official really want to lose that business and those jobs for the state?

Make no mistake: Money spent on the border war is a waste. Millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars have essentially been set on fire to court businesses that would stay in the area no matter what. But perhaps it’s worth taking a broader look at tax incentives in general. How many jobs do they actually create? What businesses do they actually help?

Ultimately, businesses move to states that offer great services and an educated workforce. That’s why high-tax states such as California and New York still flourish. Kansas officials might focus instead on enhancing the overall quality of life here, rather than seeing hard-to-track incentives as their main tool.