At high cost

There’s a lot of moaning around the Puget Sound about the Boeing decision to located its secondary 787 assembly plant at Charleston, South Carolina, rather than at Everett, which is near existing Boeing facilities and was of course badly wanted by the Seattle region.

It’s not good news for the Northwest, of course. But before you start in on the finger-pointing and recriminations, read about what South Carolina did (among other things) to get the plant:

“The Boeing incentive includes up to $170 million in low-interest loans for construction, plus sales tax exemptions for computers, material and fuel used in test flights. It allows Boeing to pay very little corporate income tax for 10 years, by tying those taxes to in-state aircraft sales.”

And, importantly, it gives Boeing a non-union work force (in a right to work state).

Would matching that have been a smart move for Washington? South Carolina’s package amounted to massive payoffs (for that, in essence, is what they were), huge breaks on normal support for community services (which is what taxes are), and low-end wages. What kind of option would that have been for Washington?

For that matter, what is it saying about Boeing – the company that not so many years ago said it was uprooting corporate headquarters to Chicago in part because key public services (such as tranportation) weren’t keeping up?

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