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Boeing Takes Heat From Lawmakers For Taking Tax Break And Running

Lawmakers in Washington state are furious after Boeing accepted an $8.7 billion tax break over 27 years, and then promptly announced plans to move jobs outside of the state, reports The Washington Post.

When Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed the largest tax break the state has ever given, the last thing he expected was for the aerospace company to turn around export jobs to rival states. Boeing made an announcement last week that it would export 2,000 high-paying jobs in its engineering facility to Oklahoma City and St. Louis by 2017.

On Monday, the company added fuel to the fire by saying that portions of the 777X jet will be built in St. Louis. This most recent announcement means that an additional 700 jobs will exit Washington and head to Missouri.

“There is an undercurrent of disappointment that rises in some folks (including me) to the point of anger at Boeing,” state Sen. Adam Kline, whose district lies just north of one of the company’s major production facilities, said in an email to The Washington Post. “This is the way Boeing thanked us, by placing the 777X in the Midwest. We’ve been had.”

But regardless of the move, Boeing spokesman Wilson Chow pointed out that Boeing has increased employment of Washington residents by 54 percent over the last decade, even up 11 percent from 2009. Boeing has a long history in the state of Washington. Founded in Seattle in 1916, the company currently employs 81,000 people.

“Boeing is committed to the Puget Sound region and its ties to the larger community. We are investing millions of dollars in our Puget Sound facilities,” said Wilson Chow in defense of the company. “Boeing is leveraging all its resources across the enterprise to stay competitive in a global marketplace, allowing us to remain successful in all of our locations, including Puget Sound.”

The tax breaks came at a time when lawmakers were concerned about Boeing’s prospective plans to export jobs to other states, and even to other countries. Tax breaks specifically and exclusively designed by Washington state legislators for Boeing were an attempt to out-compete other states like Missouri, South Carolina and Utah. These states were attempting to draw Boeing to their regions with tempting, state-provided benefits.

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