Gov. Nikki Haley signed legislation Tuesday to give Boeing Co. $120 million in bond money for its expansion plans in South Carolina, shortly before Charleston County began approvals of its own incentive package for the planemaker.
Boeing announced two weeks ago that it would invest another $1 billion and create 2,000 new jobs over eight years at its 787 campus in North Charleston.
The borrowing bill covers Boeing’s upfront costs of buying and improving land for its operations near Charleston International Airport, which already employ more than 6,000 workers.
Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said she signed the bill into law Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, on Bridgeview Drive in North Charleston, County Council’s Finance Committee added the expansion to Boeing’s “fee-in-lieu of taxes” arrangement from 2009.
That deal effectively allows the company to pay less than a fifth of what its tax burden would otherwise be on its buildings, land and machinery over the next 30 years. Instead of the 10.5 percent industrial assessment rate, Boeing will pay 4 percent, and get half of it back through what’s called a special source revenue credit.
Boeing’s expansion property also will be placed into the Charleston-Colleton Multi-County Industrial Park, a legal arrangement (rather than a contiguous tract) that will allow the company to claim $2,500 in state job tax credits per net new employee rather than the usual $1,500 per employee, according to Charleston County Economic Development Director Steve Dykes.
Boeing already had begun some of the major factory expansion projects included in the deal before negotiating its latest deal, Dykes confirmed, but the state and county had to consider the company’s prospective investments over the long term.
“Obviously they can always do that back in Puget Sound,” Dykes said, referring to Boeing’s historic headquarters around Seattle.
The committee also approved an $80 million bond issue that will pay to expand South Aviation Avenue up over Ashley Phosphate Road to Palmetto Commerce Parkway, committee Chairman Elliott Summey said. Paid for with the Boeing fees, the road extension will directly connect the planemaker’s interiors factory and the main complex and make the land between them even more attractive to suppliers, as well as relieve traffic congestion in that area.
The committee forwarded the proposals to County Council, which unanimously voted Tuesday night to approve them. Summey said the vote is a message to the local Boeing workforce.
“If our workforce wasn’t world-class, it wouldn’t matter what incentives we gave [Boeing],” he said. “All we did tonight was affirm our belief in them and thank Boeing for their belief in them.”
The council will have to approve the ordinances twice more before they become law.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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