Kansas, Wisconsin dangling incentives to lure Boeing 777X

Add Kansas and Wisconsin to the list of states hoping to land the production of Boeing’s new 777X passenger jet.

Kansas is assembling an economic incentive package to present to the Chicago-based aerospace giant by the Dec. 10 deadline, Gov. Sam Brownback’s spokesman Eileen Hawley said Wednesday.

Wisconsin is, too, though it was not one of the states Boeing requested bid packages from last month after the machinists union in Washington and Oregon rejected a labor agreement that would have guaranteed 777X work in Washington state, according to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The Wisconsin agency said that more than 140 suppliers in the state already work with Boeing and the upper Midwest state is uniquely positioned to meet its needs.

Kansas officials aren’t divulging details of their package, citing a nondisclosure agreement signed with Boeing when talks began in recent weeks.

The governor said recently Kansas would make a run at landing the contract, which could result in between 7,000 and 10,000 new aviation jobs in the Wichita area.

Unlike Missouri, where legislators are meeting to approve a financial package of up to $1.7 billion, Kansas is relying on existing economic incentive programs related to job training, workforce development and provisions that could allow the expensing of new equipment purchases over several years.

“We are set up differently from Missouri,” Hawley said. “We don’t have to call lawmakers into special session because they gave that authority to the governor’s office.”

Missouri’s Senate passed the incentive bill Wednesday. The House is expected to approve it Friday.

Others states mentioned as possible suitors for the job-creating manufacturing plant include South Carolina, Alabama, California, Utah and Washington, where lawmakers last month approved $8.7 billion in tax breaks for Boeing through 2040.

Boeing requested bids from at least a dozen sites last month after the union vote. The airplane company is not disclosing the site locations.

Only Washington and Missouri have called lawmakers into special session to approve incentives to land the new plant. Others states, including South Carolina, have been close-lipped about what they are dangling to lure Boeing jobs away from the Pacific Northwest.

Boeing hopes to begin production on the new plane by 2017 with the first flight by 2020.

Whoever wins production of the 777X or its composite wings stands to gain thousands of new high-paying jobs.

Boeing said in November it expects to select a site or sites for production of the new twin-engine plane and its wings within three months.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.

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