Chicago jetmaker will soon seek more handouts in bidding for 797 work
The following story appears in the Washington State Labor Council’s 2017 Legislative Report published in August.
Since 2013, when the Legislature and The Boeing Co. extended an estimated $8.7 billion in tax incentives, instead of increasing employment in the state as our Legislature intended and the public expected, the Chicago-based company has cut nearly 13,000 jobs here—more than 7,000 in the past year alone—with more cuts planned.
Meanwhile, other states with Boeing manufacturing sites are being spared job cuts on this scale. Could this be because those states, unlike Washington, require the company to create/maintain a certain number of jobs to get their tax breaks?
This year, the House Finance Committee held hearings on HB 2145, sponsored by Rep. Noel Frame (D-Seattle), and HB 2146 by Rep. Richard DeBolt (R-Chehalis). Both bills proposed amending the aerospace tax incentives—which have already been amended several times since they were enacted in 2003—to add job conditions for Boeing to receive the full tax incentives.
“My colleagues and I don’t understand why the company is offloading significant work from the Puget Sound area,” Boeing engineer Mark Friesen testified. “I’m in favor of tax incentives, but I’m also in favor of good jobs.”
At the hearing, current and recently displaced Boeing employees were joined by parents and schoolchildren concerned about school funding, and advocates for good government and equitable tax policies. But for the unions that represent Boeing workers—Machinists District Lodge 751 and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace/IFPTE 2001—testimony focused on the thousands of jobs cut by Boeing while the company continues to receive its full tax breaks. The bills were sponsored by dozens of Democrats and Republicans, but they failed to advance in 2017.
HB 2145 — Sponsor: Rep. Noel Frame — Co-sponsors: Reps. Robinson, Farrell, Jinkins, Santos, Doglio, Macri, Dolan, Bergquist, Sells, Pollet, Sawyer, Wylie, Ryu, Appleton, Chapman, Gregerson, Cody, Kirby, Stonier, Riccelli, Fitzgibbon, Kloba, Peterson, Fey, Slatter, Tharinger, Stanford, Ortiz-Self, Orwall
HB 2146 — Sponsor: Rep. Richard DeBolt — Co-sponsor: Rep. Condotta
By the time the Legislature reconvenes in 2018, Boeing lobbyists will likely have returned with their hands out. In June, the company announced its next jet, the 797, will be made from carbon fiber composite. All of it, not just the wings like those made for the 777X in Everett. Building a composite fuselage facility would require another big investment from the company.
Will the third time finally be a charm in requiring some accountability?