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Bill would cut Boeing tax breaks over workforce reductions

Rep. June Robinson says she will introduce a bill that could reduce Boeing's multibillion dollar tax break if the company trims its overall Washington state workforce. (AP)

A lawmaker says she will introduce a bill that could reduce Boeing’s multibillion dollar tax break if the company trims its overall Washington state workforce.

Rep. June Robinson says her bill aims to ensure aerospace tax incentives are used to benefit taxpayers.

Related: Legislature goes after Boeing tax breaks

“Tax credits were offered to Boeing in exchange for jobs,” Robinson said in a news conference Monday. “If those jobs are lost, it makes sense that some of the credits should be reduced. If the jobs stay, Boeing maintains the tax breaks. It’s simple math and it’s fair.”

Robinson’s bill is the latest move in the union-led effort to compel the state to reconsider generous tax incentives if aerospace companies don’t create and retain good paying jobs.

Unions representing Machinists and engineers, among others, said the state was too generous when it extended tax breaks to the aerospace giant in 2013 to secure the 777X program in Everett. Those tax breaks could save as much as $8.7 billion in taxes through 2040, yet it has shipped some jobs out of state.

Boeing announced it was moving 3,000 jobs out of state within weeks of passing the package.

“(The bill) provides a ratchet on the subsidies so if Boeing or other companies expand employment, they get more subsidies. If they cut employment, they get less subsidies,” explained SPEEA Executive Director Ray Goforth.

He said South Carolina and Missouri both have these stipulations in place.

In a statement released last week, Boeing said it has added nearly 30,000 jobs in Washington since the incentives were created in 2003. The company called the bill harmful to Washington’s economy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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