Boeing to Oklahoma City: Give Us $6m and We’ll Send More Washington Jobs
OLYMPIA— As the Washington State Legislature considers legislation that would link Boeing’s record $8.7 billion in tax credits to job creation and retention, the company is quietly offering to ship more Washington jobs to Oklahoma City for a $6 million incentive from that city. In total, over 3100 jobs have been exported from Washington since the November 2013 passage of the unprecedented Boeing tax breaks. These jobs are typically moving to other states that have tied credits to job targets.
As reported on Tuesday, April 28 in the Oklahoman, Boeing is negotiating with Oklahoma City for $6 million in incentives “as part of a plan to shift jobs from Washington to Oklahoma…” The paper cites Boeing estimates of roughly 900 additional jobs added to their growing footprint in Oklahoma.
“This is another example of the Boeing Company having their cake… and wanting more cake,” said Representative June Robinson (D-Everett), sponsor of the tax break accountability legislation. “Washington taxpayers are paying billions to keep Boeing jobs here at home. Yet Boeing collects our checks while moving jobs out of state to collect money from other cities. We shouldn’t be subsidizing job losses in Washington.”
Robinson’s legislation mirrors bills passed in states such as Missouri and South Carolina that link the level of tax credit to the number of jobs created. As part of their pressure campaign on Washington leaders in 2013, Boeing refused to negotiate the same fair deal other states have received, resulting in a uniquely one-sided package that lacks basic taxpayer protections. Weeks after the legislation was passed, Boeing announced record profits and began moving jobs out of Washington.
“All taxpayers are asking for is a fair return on investment,” said Robinson. “We all want to see the next generation of aircraft designed, assembled, and finished in Washington State. We are willing to offer incentives to make that happen. But those incentives need accountability measures for the people paying the bills so they cannot be abused by sending jobs out of state while still collecting subsidies in Washington and other states.”
Robinson hopes the news from Oklahoma will re-ignite interest in the legislation, which received bi-partisan support in the House. Polling indicates that nearly 7 in 10 Washingtonians support placing some accountability on the tax credits—including linking the amount of the subsidy to job levels.
“We know we are on the side of the people,” said Robinson. “Oklahoma City has our basketball team, they don’t need our Boeing jobs as well, especially not on our dime.”