By JoAnne Powers - February 11, 2016:
On Friday, the Washington State House Finance Committee bowed to pressure from the Boeing Company and killed a bill that would have tied massive tax breaks for the company to keeping jobs in the state. Washington passed the tax incentives in 2013 to maintain and grow the state’s aerospace workforce. Since then, Boeing has shed over 4000 jobs by moving them to other states.
Connie Kelliher, spokesperson for International Association of Machinists District 751:
“I don’t know how you’d define ‘maintain and grow’, but the loss of 4000 jobs is certainly not that. They’re double-dipping by collecting our tax incentives and securing additional tax incentives from other states at the same time they’re creating capability there that will be used to compete against our Washington State Workforce in the future. South Carolina, Missouri, Alabama, Oklahoma…all of them had specific job numbers tied to their incentives, much less than the incentives that our state offered. Alabama passed 150 million in tax incentives, versus the 8.7 billion Washington State gave, the biggest tax breaks in U.S. history at a time when our state is struggling with budget needs for education and other vital programs. If the aerospace tax incentives aren’t bringing jobs, we believe they should diminish those incentives and use that money elsewhere.”
The bulk of the jobs that have moved out of Washington have been engineering jobs, and Kelliher fears that manufacturing jobs will follow. Bill Dugovich is Communications Director for SPEEA, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees In Aerospace, IFPTE Local 2001.
[Bill Dugovich]: “Our union specifically went to the legislature, and informed them that they needed to tie these breaks to job numbers, or the Boeing company was going to move some of the most valuable jobs out of state, and our union, which represents the engineers and technical workers, we’re down nearly 3000 jobs since these tax breaks were put in place.”
Following Friday’s committee vote, the accountability bill will not go before the full Washington state House of Representatives. The committee vote was largely along party lines, with one Democrat joining Republicans to kill the bill:
[Bill Dugovich]: “We’ve worked hand-in-hand with the Machinists for over two years to bring accountability to this legislation and it’s extremely disappointing that the committee did not at least send it to the house floor for a vote. When we thought we had bipartisan support, it evaporated when it came to the actual vote. What’s disheartening is the extent of corporate influence that the Boeing company can wield on a state and a state legislature.”