The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Business

December 2, 2013

Missouri to start session focused on Boeing incentives

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Hopes of winning production of Boeing’s new 777X airplane have Missouri lawmakers heading to the state Capitol for Monday’s start of a special legislative session.

Gov. Jay Nixon called the special session Friday to approve an economic incentives package of up to $150 million annually for “large scale aerospace projects” offered through four existing state programs that help finance job training and infrastructure improvements and reward companies for expanding their payrolls. Nixon said Missouri is facing a Dec. 10 deadline to submit a proposal to the Boeing Co. The company said it sent requests for proposals to more than a dozen places and that it will look at all when they come back in mid-December.

The governor’s office said Monday that the Boeing request Missouri received is subject to a non-disclosure agreement.

Legislative leaders have generally supported the Boeing project, but at least one senator voiced objections last week. Nixon is meeting with the House and Senate Republican caucuses Monday.

Boeing started talks with several locations about the 777X after union machinists in Washington state rejected a proposed contract that sought concessions. Nixon met with Boeing executives in St. Louis, and officials in Alabama, California, South Carolina, Texas and Utah are among those who have discussed trying to entice the company. Washington state approved a package of tax breaks valued at $9 billion through 2040 during a November special session.

The company plans to make first delivery of the 777X by the end of the decade. The 777X would use 20 percent less fuel than the 777, and the plane would have new engines and a new all-composite wing.

Boeing employs about 15,000 people in Missouri, including thousands of machinists in the St. Louis region.

Missouri’s special session is starting about a month before the Legislature starts its regular session Jan. 8. In addition to meeting a deadline, calling a special session lets the governor limit what can be considered. In this case, Nixon’s agenda is the aerospace incentives and appointments to state boards, commissions and departments that require Senate confirmation.

Missouri in past years has approved large state incentives packages aimed at specific industries.

In 2008, lawmakers authorized $240 million of tax credits for Bombardier Aerospace to build passenger jets near Kansas City International Airport, but the company chose to manufacture them near its Montreal headquarters. In 2010, the state Legislature passed up to $150 million of incentives over a decade for the automotive industry during a special session. That has been used by Ford and General Motors to expand production in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas.

 

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