Rob McKenna: Renton is good example Boeing is living up to tax subsidies

Jun 8, 2015, 12:21 PM | Updated: 12:49 pm


(File, Associated Press)

(File, Associated Press)

A state lawmaker is proposing a bill that would require Boeing to maintain a certain number of jobs in Washington state for tax subsidies.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a deal in Nov. 2013 that would award Boeing a $8.7 billion corporate tax break in an effort to compel the company to build the 777X in Washington state.

Related: Does Boeing owe more for Washington tax breaks?

Former state Attorney General Rob McKenna reminded KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross that the company did more or less assure there would be jobs here in the Puget Sound area if it received the tax breaks that it did.

“When KIRO Radio reports that jobs are being moved out of state &#8212 to California or elsewhere &#8212 it irritates policymakers who remember those promises from the debates over the tax cuts,” McKenna said.

He said ultimately, Boeing is owned by its shareholders, which means it makes its decisions based on what’s best for business. The company, however, would have to live with the consequences.

“Even if they’re not contractually enforceable, they run the risk of losing those tax breaks in the future if it becomes a perception if they haven’t kept their word,” McKenna said.

Everett Rep. June Robinson, who is co-sponsoring the bill, is upset Boeing is reportedly negotiating a $6 million incentive from Oklahoma City if it ships another 900 jobs east.

But hasn’t Boeing lived up to the agreement?

“Actually I think they have. If you look at the growth in jobs in our area. Look at Renton, just to pick one as an example. The huge ramp-up of 737 production in a plant that many thought would be closed down decades ago. Instead it will probably become the single most productive aircraft assembly line in the world, which of course means more jobs.

“If you’re cranking out 50 jets a month, you’re running two or three production lines and you’re running 24-7, it’s a lot of jobs. I think it would be hard to make the case that Boeing hasn’t lived up to its commitments. Nevertheless, legislators &#8212 Republicans and Democrats &#8212 remain nervous about that because of the amount of money.”

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Rob McKenna: Renton is good example Boeing is living up to tax subsidies