Just ahead of my trip there to speak in Seattle Monday evening November 11 at Reclaiming Prosperity, Boeing has asked for a new round of tax breaks for itself and the state’s aerospace industry totaling $8.7 billion. It is also demanding an eight-year concessions package from its Machinists workforce.
If granted, this would be head and shoulders the biggest subsidy package in U.S. history. It is a variation of the recurring “job blackmail” gambit played by companies as feeble as Sears and as dynamic as Boeing.
Boeing et al won about $3 billion in tax breaks there 10 years ago for the 787 “Dreamliner” line. This new demand would locate the company’s 777x plane in an enormous new facility in Puget Sound.
Gov. Jay Inslee called the state legislature into a week-long special session on November 7, causing the cancellation of a House Finance Committee hearing at which I was scheduled to testify on how the state could improve transparency on the enormous number of tax breaks it already has.
The Machinists are slated to vote on the concessions demand this coming week as well. Remarkably, the Seattle Times reported that the Machinists’ summary of the concessions proposal states that if the union agrees to it, the company “agrees to locate the 777X wing fabrication and assembly, and final assembly of the 777X in Puget Sound.” Or, as the article’s headline puts it: “Machinists: 777X deal with Boeing doesn’t depend on Legislature.”
I expect to have an interesting week in Seattle…