For more details about Boeing South Carolina’s land deal, see On Business in the Money & Jobs section on Sunday.
Add another suitor to the list of states lining up to land production of Boeing’s forthcoming 777X passenger jet.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday called the state legislature into special session, starting at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, to consider offering the aerospace giant $150 million annually in tax breaks to win production of the new airplane in the Show Me State.
“Building this next-generation commercial aircraft in Missouri would create thousands of jobs across our state and secure our position as a hub for advanced aerospace manufacturing, and that’s why I am committed to competing for and winning this project,” Nixon said in a statement.
Boeing already employs about 15,000 people in Missouri, including thousands of machinists in the St. Louis region.
“In order to put forward a competitive proposal on this very aggressive timeline, decisive legislative action is required to add capacity to four of Missouri’s existing economic development programs, which already include strict job creation and investment requirements, so that they can accommodate an aerospace project on this scale,” the governor added.
He is also tapping into community colleges to train workers for the sought-for aerospace jobs.
“Boeing has been very clear that the availability of a large, highly skilled workforce is one of the key factors the company will use to determine where to produce its next generation of commercial aircraft,” Nixon said. “Especially in technology-intensive industries like aerospace, we’re seeing once again that our human capital is the best economic development tool we have.”
At least one Boeing observer has cast doubt on Missouri’s offer, saying the company needs a deep seaport, among other requirements.
“St. Louis has roughly no chance at all,” Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst with The Teal Group, told the St. Louis Business Journal on Monday.
Several states, including South Carolina, are expected to be pulling together proposals to submit to the airplane builder by Dec. 10, when bids are due. Boeing will announce after the new year where the new long-haul jet and its composite wings will be produced. All of the new airplane might not be built in the same place, according to Boeing.
The bidding war for the thousands of jobs the new plant will bring started after the Machinists union in Washington state earlier this month rejected a new labor contract because of the concessions Boeing sought. Their approval of the labor agreement would have guaranteed production of the 777X in Washington state, where lawmakers have already OK’d $8.7 billion in tax breaks for Boeing through 2040 to win the work.
Alabama, California, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington are among the most-mentioned states considered as possible contenders. Boeing has facilities in each of those states. Boeing is asking more than a dozen sites to submit bids, but it won’t release their names.
Boeing makes parts and assembles the 787 Dreamliner at its factory in North Charleston at Charleston International Airport, where Boeing, through the S.C. Commerce Department, is buying 267 acres for undisclosed future use. The sale will close by mid-December.
The S.C. Commerce Department declined to comment about the state’s bid for the new jet.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.
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