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States may want to poach Boeing, but Gov. Inslee plans to keep areospace here

Representatives from South Carolina, Utah, and Texas are in town for the 8th Annual Governor Aerospace Summit with interests of luring Boeing’s booming business away from Washington.

But Washington state Governor Jay Inslee isn’t ready to hand over one of the Puget Sound’s largest companies. While he’s not making any official proposals, he was at the summit making his pitch to Boeing to keep the 777-X program right here.

Inslee points out Washington has the best trained people both to design and make airplanes and he wants to promise better roads, friendlier regulations – but he’ll also be offering something KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross believed was off the table: tax incentives.

“We actually got a report back the other day showing that we’ve had a 100 percent return on our investment of some tax treatment with some Boeing investment, so that’s been productive for our state,” Inslee told Ross.

The state’s 2003 incentive plan that ensured Boeing would build the Dreamliner in Washington gave over a billion dollars in tax breaks and incentives to aerospace companies.

Boeing has given back an estimated $3 billion in state tax revenue since then.

A new study, funded by aerospace advocates, shows Boeing was responsible for pumping $70 billion into the state economy last year.

The report also underscored the necessity of winning the 777-X competition, finding more than 56,000 direct and indirect jobs are tied to the plane.

And while some Democrats might be pushing to try and remove tax loopholes as a way to get revenue back to the state, Inslee said that not all of these exemptions were out of the question.

“All men are created equal, but not all loopholes or exemptions are created equal. There are some that are being productive and we have found, through our investigation, that this is one that has been productive. It has returned thousands of jobs to the state and revenues to the state,” Inslee said.

Many of these exemptions are set to expire soon. It means the state Legislature will have to pass new incentives to ensure that Boeing will stay in the Puget Sound. Inslee said while they’re not making the proposals right now they’re waiting on a cue from Boeing once they’re ready to start making decisions for locating the 777-X.

At the Summit on Wednesday he did make mention to a tax incentive extension that would last until 2040, according to KING 5.

It could mean the Legislature will take on the tax incentives in January or February. Or, if Boeing wants to make a decision sooner, Inslee won’t shy away from calling a special session.

KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross and Chris Sullivan contributed to this report.

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