UPDATE: Nixon Considers Special Session to Land Boeing Jet Deal
CHESTERFIELD, MO–(KMOX)–Governor Nixon says he’ll be cutting his own Thanksgiving weekend short to get back to work on a tax break package that might lure Boeing to build its 777X commercial jetliner in St. Louis.
Unveiling his goals at a business luncheon, the governor declared St. Louis is “high on the list” of possible sites nationwide for Boeing to build the plane, and possibly create thousands of jobs.
“Boeing is here,” Nixon said, “Boeing has fifteen-thousand workers here. Boeing has a significant investment in this region and our workers have performed in a very competitive way for them. So, you have in essence a home-town company.”
When asked what size of a tax break it might take to attract Boeing here — over rival cities also in the hunt — Nixon declined to give any specifics.
He was planning to meet with some Missouri lawmakers Wednesday afternoon to discuss the possibility of calling a special session to hammer out a tax-break package.
“This is moving very quickly. It’s a very big project. The time lines and requests for proposals are very quick,” Nixon said.
Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, on hand for the governor’s announcement, had not yet heard any specifics himself, but voiced reservations about giving a tax break to one company — instead of tax breaks to all Missourians.
“During the special session the governor said that if we give any tax breaks out, we would harm education,” Jones said, “So, I’m going to be paying special attention to how the governor believes a tax break now is good for Missouri, verses a tax break two months ago during special session was bad for Missouri.
Our earlier story:
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) - This could be the deal of the decade.
Boeing is considering where to build its new Triple777X commercial jetliner and St. Louis leaders are trying to place the region front and center.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is reportedly considering a special session to pass an incentive package. He is expected to discuss the issue with St. Louis business and civic leaders at a luncheon today hosted by Progress 64 West, a group that promotes development along the Interstate 64 corridor.
Last week, Nixon met privately with Boeing executives.
Seattle had been the company’s longtime base for jetliners, but earlier this month the local International Association of Machinists (IAM) union rejected Boeing’s contract offer. Now the company is looking around.
Washington State has offered almost $9 billion in incentives to entice Boeing to stay in its state.
St. Louis is one of at least 15 locations asked by Boeing to submit a formal bid. Those bids are due by mid-December.
Mayor Francis Slay told KMOX St. Louis has advantages other cities don’t have. “We have the capability, we have a strong union labor force.”
Adding, “we’re centrally located, we have good access to a lot of already existing Boeing suppliers, and we don’t have the congestion some of the other big places have.”
Slay also noted that the contract issues Boeing had in Seattle won’t be seen here. “I do believe that the labor community is coming together here in St. Louis.”
A new plant would likely mean thousands of new jobs. Boeing has said it expects to choose a location by early 2014.
Other cities on the short list are: Long Beach, Calif., Salt Lake City, Utah; Huntsville, Ala., San Antonio, Texas; and North Charleston, S.C.