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Sen. Ericksen: Boeing move due in part to Gov. Inslee trying to ‘show them the door’

A worker motions as he stands on a platform next to a Boeing 787 fatigue test airframe inside a structural test rig at a massive Boeing airplane production plant Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Everett, Wash. Boeing said Thursday that it will consolidate production of its two-aisle 787 jetliner in South Carolina. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Whatcom County) believes one of the main reasons Boeing decided to move 787 production to South Carolina is because the company doesn’t feel welcome in Washington state.

Boeing officially announces plan to move 787 production out of Everett

“Obviously, there’s lots of business components go into it,” Ericksen told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson Show about the decision. “When I was working on the task force to try to keep Boeing here, one of the constant themes that we got from the Boeing Corporation was every other state they went to, people would roll out the red carpet. And in Washington State, they felt like the governor was just trying to show them the door.”

The governor’s response to the move, Ericksen says, explains why companies like Boeing are leaving.

“When Inslee saw this news, his response was, ‘I’m going to raise their taxes. I’m going to punish them for turning their back on Washington,'” Ericksen explained. “It’s just a crazy response that typifies how so many of these companies feel when they try to create jobs in Washington.”

“One thing, also, I just want to highlight this, and this is something I’m not sure if you had a chance to discuss yet,” he added. “But a couple of years ago, the World Trade Organization came in and said that the Boeing tax break that we had put in place a few years ago — it’s actually for all of aerospace, not just for Boeing in Washington — was an unfair subsidy and Airbus sued us on that.”

The Legislature got together and passed a piece of legislation that would have lowered the manufacturing rate for other companies statewide to the Boeing rate, which, Ericksen says, would have solved the problem.

“We all shook hands. The Legislature, in a bipartisan fashion, passed the legislation,” he said. “And then Jay Inslee vetoed that bill.”

“I think Boeing made the decision that day, you know, that they were not going to stay in Washington state,” he added.

Boeing decision to move 787 line out of Everett impacts state economy, local workers 

Ericksen says the plan also eliminated other tax incentives to make it fair for companies across the state.

“What’s also telling in Governor Inslee’s statement is that the Boeing Company didn’t even respond to his calls,” he said. “If that’s not just a slap saying, ‘we’re done with you,’ to not respond to calls … [because] they know that they’re not going be able to get a fair shake out of this deal.”

Ericksen notes that Washington has been riding on the coat-tails of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Amazon, Microsoft, but has also had cheap electricity in the state due to the dam system.

“That’s the other advantage we’ve had,” he said. “That’s what brought in aluminum and the Boeing Company and allowed them to stay here. That’s another thing Governor Inslee is trying to take away is that cheap electricity, which is also one of the things that is enticing for people to come to Washington state to create jobs. But now, with the regulatory climate, the tax system, and electricity prices going up, it’s just going to be tougher and tougher to keep manufacturing.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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