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Special Session Convenes Today on Boeing Incentives

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UPI/Bill Greenblatt

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) - A special session of the Missouri Legislature will convene late Monday afternoon in hopes of passing legislation to help the state lure production of Boeing’s next-generation commercial jet, the 777X.

Governor Jay Nixon officially called for the special session last week. It will convene at 4 p.m. Monday.

At the special session, Nixon is expected to ask the General Assembly to pass legislation granting Boeing up to $150 million in annual incentives.

“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 Nov. 22 in an emailed statement.

Two weeks ago, Boeing Co. asked Missouri and at least 15 other cities and states to submit a formal bid to land the project. Those bids are due soon, with the company making its final decision early next year.

Calling a special session to consider the incentives allows the governor to limit the focus of what lawmakers can consider. Deferring it to the upcoming legislative session in January could create delays because the incentives would compete with other topics on the legislative agenda.

Boeing is already one of Missouri’s largest employers with about 15,000 employees, including thousands of machinists, in the St. Louis area.

Any incentives Missouri offers could face stiff competition. Officials in Alabama, California, South Carolina, Texas and Utah are among those who have discussed trying to entice the company.

Nixon met with Boeing executives last week in St. Louis and later issued a statement in which he said the meeting had been “extremely productive” and that his administration would work quickly and aggressively to submit a proposal.

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones applauded Nixon’s call for a special session, saying he was surprised by the decision in light of Nixon’s opposition to tax breaks in the past.

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